Heartwarming flicks from a star-studded cast
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A selection of images provided courtesy of the Everett Collection include those by D. Stevens/Warner Bros. Pictures; Columbia Pictures; and Juergen Vollmer/Popperfoto/Getty Images.
Actors Geena Davis in “A League of Their Own” and Robert Redford in “The Natural.” (From left to right) Chadwick Boseman, Geena Davis and Robert Redford.
Translated from the Spanish | Right now, we’re all on the lookout for any indication that things could be getting back to normal. And what better way to kick off the spring season than with one of our favorite annual rites of passage – Opening Day for the Major League Baseball season? When the first pitch is hit on April 1, we’ll hear the crack of the bat, the patter of the hot dog vendor, and the roar of the crowd as they cheer for their home club. Because, on the first day, everyone’s team wins! Here are 12 terrific baseball movies to watch while you’re waiting for the ump to say: Play ball! to signal the start of the new season in 2021. Enjoy!
1. Bull Durham (1988)
Ron Shelton was a minor-league infielder for the Baltimore Orioles before he became a director of classic sports comedy like Tin Cup and White Men Can’t Jump. So he is the best person to ask about what it’s like to work in the background while waiting to be called up to “The Show.” Every scene of this witty and lyrical love letter to the American pastime is infused with the wisdom and attention to detail that comes from years of experience. By having an affair with a different player each season, Susan Sarandon’s sensuous, sage-like Annie Savoy supports her beloved team, the Durham Bulls. She’s a teacher and a lover in equal measure. Nevertheless, who will she be smitten with this season? Does Kevin Costner’s character Crash Davis, a disillusioned former major league baseball player now playing out his days in the minor leagues, stand a chance? Is Tim Robbins’ Nuke Laloosh, the gifted, loose-cannon rookie fireballer, going to be the next big thing? Why can’t we have it both ways?’
2. Sugar (2008)
As a result, it’s a great find for baseball enthusiasts who’ve previously checked out some of the more well-known titles on this list. Despite living in a poor country with plenty of sugar cane aspirations, Algenis Perez Soto, a 19-year-old Dominican Republic pitching sensation, jumps off the screen. “Sugar” gets a call-up to an Iowa Class A team because of the sweetness of his fastballs, but his aspirations of playing professional baseball are dashed when he learns that dreams rarely come true. Sugar, a sports drama and an immigrant story, tells us that the only thing that really matters is a player’s passion for the sport.
If you’re interested in seeing it, you may catch up on the latest episodes of Sugar on any of these platforms:
3. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
They are joined by James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor in this Bicentennial-year classic about a Negro Leagues baseball team in the final days of its existence. With his team, Williams’s Bingo Long sets out to take on minor league white teams with a mix of Harlem Globetrotters-esque sparkle and style, tired of being considered second-class citizens. Bingo Long isn’t afraid to speak her mind about taboo subjects like racism and racial segregation. In addition, it doesn’t hold back when it comes to injecting its message with humor, warmth, and good times.
4. Moneyball (2011)
Since it is based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, David Fincher’s underdog story tells the story of the small-market, low-payroll baseball team, the Oakland A’s, in the early 2000s, as they experimented with new ways of assembling an effective team on the cheap, based on statistics and instinct. Brave and understated as the team’s unconventional general manager, Philip Seymour Hoffman impresses as the team’s manager, and Jonah Hill is a bright young front-office brainiac who values numbers above all. When it comes to the Aaron Sorkin script, it’s all poetry.
5. A League of Their Own (1992)
As the manager of the Rockford Peaches, an all-female baseball team whose roster includes Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Geena Davis, Tom Hanks is like a human whoopie cushion. It’s easy to dismiss director Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own, which is loosely based on the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was formed while male players were away fighting in World War II. It’s all about female empowerment and solidarity via sport. You may tell Hanks’ crusty Jimmy about that, but not to him. “In baseball, there’s no sobbing!” Dugan.
6. The Natural (1984)
Is this your first time seeing this one, or have you seen one like this before? There is no way anyone would want to miss Robert Redford in his role as Roy Hobbs, a devout country-bumpkin slugger who has his promising career cut short by an unreliable femme fatale (Barbara Hershey). The story doesn’t end there, based on Bernard Malamud’s classic novel from 1952. It’s just getting started, in fact. It’s been a long time since Hobbs was last in the spotlight, but now he’s back for one last go-round with the help of an angelic woman (Glenn Close), a sour boss (Wilford Brimley), and a magical bat named “Wonderboy.” The Naturalis is a work of art worthy of Cooperstown’s prestigious Baseball Hall of Fame.
7. 42 (2013)
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman established himself as one of the most talented performers of his generation in a succession of lesser films that emphasized emotion rather than fancy effects before he became a household name. Take a look at this Jackie Robinson biopic, which tells the story of a real-life superhero. Since it was his uniform number 42, the inspirational and ground-breaking life story is told, highlighting not only the hardships Robinson faced but also his ability to summon the quiet strength necessary to triumph over adversity. Those who saw Boseman’s Jackie in 42 back in 2013 knew he was going to be a big name in the industry. A career that would have been a delight to follow would have been cut short by his death from cancer last year.
8. Field of Dreams (1989)
Field of Dreams is a must-see on any list of outstanding baseball movies. The message of fathers and sons in a magical-realist setting may seem corny to some, given the film’s setting in an Iowa cornfield. Even adult men can’t help but reach for their hankies when they hear this song. It’s one of those “man weepies.” A mystical voice tells Midwest farmer Ray Kinsella, “If you build it, he will come,” and so Costner’s Ray Kinsella builds a baseball diamond in his field. Shoeless Joe Jackson’s ghost is revealed to be the mysterious ‘He’ (Ray Liotta). Field of Dreams not only recognizes that die-hard baseball fans are sentimental, but also that sentimentality is not anything to be ashamed of.
9. Eight Men Out (1988)
To tell the narrative of baseball’s first sin, John Sayles rewinds the clock to 1919 when a group of on-the-take Chicago White Sox players plot to toss the World Series. Even though Sayles has put together an impressive ensemble of actors and non-actors (Studs Terkel as a hardened sportswriter), the plot is the real star here. After all, this was the first (and, sadly, not the last) time that America’s pastime lost its innocence. This is not a cynical film, but it does demonstrate the sacred beauty of the game while also illustrating how much can be lost when human people succumb in to temptation, even if it is an extremely cynical movie.
10. The Rookie (2002)
Dennis Quaid is perfectly placed as a high school science teacher in this heartwarming rendition of a true tale about a man who has the fortitude to chase his major league goals long after most people would have given up. He falls and struggles at first, but Jimmy Morris from Quaid will not be vanquished. Due to Quaid’s age, the film’s uplifting message isn’t as as heavy-handed as it seems. You root for the underdog hero as if he were starting the eighth game of the World Series because of the actor’s years of wear and tear on his face. “The Rookie” hits a home run that goes almost unnoticed.
11. Damn Yankees (1958)
Despite the abundance of baseball-themed films, there aren’t many musicals with a similar focus. Gwen Verdon as Lola, a temptress who seduces an aging baseball fan (Tab Hunter) into selling his soul to the devil (Ray Walston) so he may help guide his favorite Washington Senators over the New York Yankees to win the pennant, infuses the game with an infectious dose of Broadway razzle dazzle. “What Lola Wants” by Verdon will have you tapping your feet during even the longest seventh-inning stretch, even if you’re not a baseball fan.
12. The Bad News Bears (1976)
The originalBad News Bears, which was redone in 2005, appears to be as politically wrong as you can get today. It’s a hoot, too! With Walter Matthau as the team manager, Morris Buttermaker, the poorest Little League team in Southern California crackles with fun-loving, foul-mouthed outcasts and pint-sized losers. A tomboy pitcher and a rebel-without-a-cause slugger, Tatum O’Neal and Jackie Earl Haley, give hall of fame child actor performances that turn the dismal team’s fortunes around. It’s a shame that a film like this one would never be made today, because it’s a vulgar hilarious gem that deserves to be seen.