Ron Shelton wrote and directed this movie about a minor league baseball team and its owner, a very liberated lady of means.
Leading off is everybody’s favorite liberated lady, Susan Sarandon, playing the club owner. Every spring, she selects one player on her team to go the distance with for the season. Opinionated, sexy, articulate and more sure of herself than Mike Scioscia with a line-up card in his hand, Sarandon as club owner Annie Savoy has the perfect name and the perfect part to show off her considerable comedic talents.
Batting second is Robert Wuhl playing an infielder who is bound to be a life-long minor leaguer. Wuhl is just fun to watch as the guy who is always a hit short of a star. When there is a too-long meeting at the mound between the pitcher and catcher, Wuhl runs out to put in his two cents – and hits a homer with his straight-faced advice.
Tim Robbins is batting third in this line-up while playing Evie Caleb ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh, a fire-balling pitcher whose incredible number of strikeouts is only excelled by his walks. He can lose a no-hitter. Robbins is at the start of his excellent career just as ‘Nuke” is.
Annie savoy picks Nuke as her season partner and it certainly helps their chemistry that they fell in love during the filming of this movie (Shelton became their first child’s godfather).
Kevin Costner bats clean-up and does most of the heavy lifting as Crash Davis, an aging catcher who has spent so many years in the minors that he is approaching the record for most home runs hit in the minor leagues. It’s not the title he wants. As he says, “I’m the player to be named later.”
You don’t have to like baseball to like this movie but it helps. It’s most famous sequence is when Annie invite Nuke and Crash to her place for a ‘tryout’ and Crash answers Annie’s question about what he believes in with a famous speech –
Well, I believe in the soul... the cock...the pussy... the small of a woman's back... the hangin' curveball... high fiber... good scotch... that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap... I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Goodnight.
As Crash says Goodnight to Annie and Nuke, she runs after him and Crash rejects her offer to become her drone of the season with a great line, “I’m not interested in a woman who’s interested in that boy [Nuke].”
Bull Durham is a lot of fun. It is one of the three best baseball movies ever made – along with Major League and A League of Their Own.
Ron Shelton will be at the screening, probably to pitch the new musical based on this movie that opened in Atlanta in 2014. The NYT went all the way down there to give it a solid 2 out of 4 stars. Now, it may be headed to Broadway.
The last time baseball was the subject of a Broadway musical was Damn Yankees – but back then musicals were made into movies and not the other way around.
Writer/Director: Ron Shelton
Cast: Kevin Costner; Susan Sarandon; Tim Robbins; Trey Wilson; Robert Wuhl
TCM FESTIVAL: SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 4-6PM AT EGYPTIAN THEATRE
TEN COMMANDMENTS (1:30-6:00 PM) CHINESE IMAX THEATRE
SILK STOCKINGS (3:30-5:45 PM) CHINESE MULTIPLEX HOUSE 1
HAMLET (1948) (3:45 – 6:15 PM) CHINESE MULTIPLEX HOUSE 6