Directed by Robert Lorenz
Written by Randy Brown
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Gus (Eastwood) has spent his entire career scouting baseball players for the majors. His career is one of the reasons he has a strained relationship with his attorney daughter, Mickey (Adams). After Gus’s longtime friend Pete begins to question Gus’s health, Mickey decides to join her father on the road. While they try to exist with one another, they run into Johnny Flanagan (Timberlake), a young scout from the Red Sox. The three soon form a strange friendship that is tested through the business side of the game.
I love baseball, and I love baseball movies almost as much. From Field of Dreams to For the Love of the Game I’ve always enjoyed films that use this great sport as the backdrop. This time the story comes from Randy Brown, a relatively unknown writer. Robert Lorenz (Million Dollar Baby) took on the project as his directorial debut, having previously worked in many films in different capacities. Many of his previous films paired Lorenz with Clint Eastwood, and this was another chance for them to work together. Eastwood stars in this one, alongside Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake. The film also features John Goodman, who kept busy during 2012 when he was featured in six new films.
The story behind this film isn’t that different from many sports related movies. Still, the idea of connections being made through a shared love of baseball is always fun to see. This time the story has some fun twists and turns, and it attempts to keep the business of baseball involved throughout. This involvement doesn’t overwhelm the other aspects of the story that take a step away from the field. The flaws in the story mainly come from the predictability of the characters. None of the characters in the film seem to have enough depth to surprise. This isn’t awful, but it does make much of the story easy to predict. In the end, this is a nicely balanced story with some great dialogue.
The acting is pretty great from the stars I’ve mentioned. Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven) does a great job playing the stubborn and frustrated Gus. As his opposite in many ways, Amy Adams (American Hustle) does a great job, creating nice chemistry between herself and Eastwood. Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis) continues to evolve as an actor, and this is a good example of his increasing ability to become his character. While it’s not perfect, this is a nice performance from him. Finally, John Goodman is great in his role as Gus’s friend Pete. Like Eastwood, he’s playing an old member of a dying fraternity of baseball men. These stars, along with the rest of the cast came together and made this a really enjoyable movie.
This is a good movie and one that baseball fans should take the time to see. I would also recommend this to fans of lighter dramas and romance. This isn’t all about the business of the game like Moneyball, or focused on the historical events like 42, but it’s a great look at the emotional ties people have with the game of baseball. I would also suggest this to people who like the stars of this one. I give this one 4.4 out of 5 stars.