Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Moving, powerful, and enjoyable story
Cons: Plot predictable, but you won’t care
The Bottom Line:
A baseball movie
Hits familiar notes but is
Root for the Double Underdog
I firmly believe there is only one true sport (ultimate Frisbee), but that doesn’t stop me from watching sports movies upon occasion. I always intended to watch The Rookie at some point, but I finally got around to watching it recently, and I wish I’d seen it sooner.
The movie is inspired by the true story of Jimmy Morris (Dennis Quaid). As a kid, he lived for baseball, playing every chance he got. His father (Brian Cox) was in the military, so they moved around quite a bit. Furthermore, his father never understood Jimmy’s obsession with the game.
But the story really picks up with Jimmy as an adult in the small Texas town where the Morris family had settled. He’s married with kids of his own, and he teaches chemistry and coaches baseball at the local high school. This being Texas, baseball doesn’t get much respect, and his team doesn’t seem to care much. While trying to give a motivation speech about taking risks and trying your hardest, the team turns it back on Jimmy. Finally a deal is struck. If the last place team wins enough games to go to division, Jimmy will follow his lifelong dream and try out for the majors. What will happen next?
Actually, no one tries to hide what happens next. I knew the basic outline of the story when the movie hit theaters over a decade ago. And if you don’t, well, it’s a PG sports movie from Disney. I’m sure you can figure out what happens.
Yet knowing what happens going into this movie isn’t a disadvantage at all. It is a wonderful story from start to finish. I was pulled into the film much more than I expected to be, tearing up more than once as the events unfolded. Even the expected character development from some of the cast moved me. But I really liked the relationship between Jimmy and his wife Lorri, played by Rachel Griffiths. They felt like a real couple to me, with real struggles. But what I loved is, even when they disagreed, they worked through things as a couple.
Naturally, this means I found the acting great. Even the kids in the cast were enjoyable. There’s nothing here that won’t pull you into this film and keep you watching until the end.
This film is a perfect example of a film where the journey to the end is worth taking even if you know where it is going. If you’ve missed The Rookie, you should fix that today.