A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Bull Durham

April 5, 2011

Bull Durham

Well we’ve reached the end of our short baseball movie marathon. We don’t own any more after these four. I suppose we could have bought Major League but do we really need a Charlie Sheen movie at this point? So with this we’re done with Baseball and can move on to something else.

I’ve loved this movie since I first saw it. I think it was probably the first movie I saw Tim Robbins in, and he’s always fun to watch. Of course it’s another Kevin Costner movie as well, and that’s fun too. But the real star of this movie is Susan Sarandon and she makes the movie great.

In the opening monologue Susan introduces her character, Annie Savoy, who is a new age mystic who worships at the church of baseball. She’s a fan of the minor league Durham Bulls and each season chooses a young man from the line up to spend the season with. This particular year she has narrowed the choices down to two: a wild young pitcher named Ebby Calvin LaLoosh and a wise-in-the-ways-of-baseball catcher named Crash Davis who has been brought in by the management to foster LaLoosh and vet him for the major leagues.

What this movie is is a romantic comedy that takes place in and around a baseball season. We follow the Bulls as they struggle through the year. They loose a lot, they win a few. Truth be told we, as an audience, don’t really care too much if they win or loose because that’s not what the movie is about. It’s about Annie and Crash, who are clearly meant for each other, and the forces keeping them apart. Primary among these forces is their own foolishness in not being able to admit to one another just how much they deserve to be together. Each of them, in their own way, ends up mentoring Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh. Annie through her new age mysticism and Crash through his pragmatic experiences after years of living and breathing baseball.

Annie is a strong, if eccentric, character. I like a woman who’s not afraid to take charge. The problem is that Crash feels he is too mature to play her games and she has her own rules she feels she needs to play by. So they spend the movie dancing around the issue and refusing to acknowledge just how clearly perfect they are for each other. Crash spends a lot of time indulging in a sort of self pity that he can’t have what he wants, and Annie is frustrated that she can’t really have what she wants either. And Nuke? He’s just glad to be there.

As I said before this is Susan Sarandon’s movie. We get brief moments inside Crash’s head and we get to see a lot of him and Annie interacting with the gifted but somewhat thick headed Nuke, but it is Annie’s narration that really sets the mood for the film and keeps it on track. It’s a wistful, slightly desperate mood. This is not a movie about innocent first love – it is a movie about experienced world-weary people who realize that, yes, they deserve some happiness.

I also have to complement writer/director Ron Shelton for his deft use of soundtrack to manage the emotion of the film as well. This movie has a sultry, eclectic, nostalgic and sometimes humorous soundtrack. It works well with the whole sense of who Annie is as a person with her candles and silk cords and mountains of brick-a-brack. Indeed the whole movie feels like an extension of her eccentric personality. Annie is an engaging and beautiful character wonderfully portrayed by a fascinating actress and it was a treat just to be able to spend a little time tonight in her strange but amusing world.

April 5, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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