The Rookie (2002)
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Written by Mike Rich
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Angus T. Jones, Brian Cox
Jim Morris (Quaid) the son of a career Navy man (Cox), living small Texas town, once dreamed of making it in the major leagues. After being drafted by the Brewers his career was derailed by a shoulder injury. Now he’s teaching chemistry and coaching the school’s under-performing baseball team. When the players discover his natural ability he makes a bet with them and soon finds himself trying out for a spot on a minor league team. With three children and a worried wife (Griffiths), Jim soon makes the decision to accept a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. This contract gives him his shot to make it to the majors and fulfill a lifelong dream.
This film is based on the incredible true story of Jim Morris, former Major League Baseball relief pitcher. The screenplay was written by Mike Rich (Radio) and the film was directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks). The film stars Dennis Quaid (Horsemen) as Morris. The movie also features Rachel Griffiths (Saving Mr. Banks), Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down the House), and Brian Cox (The Boxer). Although not a major critical success, the reviews on the release of this movie were mainly favorable.
The story stays relatively close to the real events surrounding Jim Morris and his return to baseball. Mike Rich did a good job working out the details of the story and weaving in great dialogue. Thankfully, the changes in the events were minimal, and often made to accommodate the restrictions of filming. Overall, this one is a nicely written story that only suffers from an intense feeling of enhanced drama. This is mainly in the way that Morris is portrayed in his relationship with the people around him. While this definitely adds to the emotion of the story, it does feel a little bit forced in its depiction.
This movie features good acting from all of the members of the cast. Quaid is an actor I always enjoy, and this is another nice performance from him. Rachel Griffiths and Brian Cox are also nicely cast in this one. The young Angus T. Jones is a definite Disney touch, who does a good job as the young son of Morris. With the focus of the film mainly on Morris and his family, the rest of the cast add nicely to the world around them.
This is another movie in the same vein as Rudy or Radio. The emotional content seems to play right alongside the actual events of this true story. Thankfully, the movie does a good job staying true to the real events. I would suggest this to fans of baseball movies or good family movies. I would also suggest this to fans of Dennis Quaid, who does a nice job in this one. I give this one 3.7 out of 5 stars.