Guide to Baseball Films: The 1990s

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A fine performance by Danny Glover as the manager doesn't quite rescue this banal picture, a remake of the 1951 film.

Criticism: DiPiero, Sudan

Good period style and strong performances. The life of Ruth is presented here realistically and therefore somewhat undramatically, but this is an enjoyable picture.

Aimless and intermittently funny send-up of sport films in general.

Way over the top from the first reel, this film sacrifices any possible dramatic interest for violent and clumsily-written slapstick. With Tommy Lee Jones as Cobb.

This film has appeared on the IMDb's Bottom 100, and garnered Razzie nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple (Matt LeBlanc and an animatronic chimpanzee).

By Taxi Driver out of The Natural . . . Robert De Niro's quieter moments as "the fan" are good ones, but as the film goes on it becomes noisier and more violent.

This may be the worst serious baseball film ever made; it is certainly the slowest-moving and most humorless.

Good performances by an ensemble cast help to enliven a film that stretches out too long for its own good; but on the other hand, when is Hollywood going to make another movie about women ballplayers that alludes to Virginia Woolf in its title? It's welcome to as many minutes as it wants.

Potentially cute idea, pleasantly made, and slower than Mo Vaughn running out a grounder.

Ill-advised sequel to the agreeable Major League brings back most of the cast but few of the laughs.

Funereally-paced entry in the Major League series, with only Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, and Bob Uecker remaining from the first film. Farce is replaced by light melodrama with very little attempt at laughs. The presence of Ted McGinley should be a heads-up.

More thoughtful and complicated than its slapstick-loaded trailers promised, this picture was not as successful as it deserved. Tom Selleck is charming, leading a mostly Japanese cast in a picture that takes a foreign culture seriously--rare enough for Hollywood, but especially for comedy.

Attractive 1957 period detail and believable bush-league atmosphere; probably best described as an exceedingly low-key imitation of Bull Durham. An intriguing feature of the film is a set of fleeting cameo appearances by major-league stars including Don Newcombe and Ernie Banks. (Netflix says that Banks stars in the film, and the IMDb says that it's jazz singer Ernie Lee Banks, but both are incorrect; Mr. Cub appears very briefly as a spectator in the stands.)

Routine kids' magic-baseball-action formula picture, enlivened by some pretty good direction from Stern and dragged back to earth by an overdone, mugging performance by Stern as the boy's flaky pitching coach.

Familiar story of a team of misfits bonding (the Bad News Bears formula), but above-average in script and execution; notable for its realistic portrayal of kids' language and concerns.

A comedy vehicle for Albert Brooks, who is dependably funny; also good are Brendan Fraser as the player and Dianne Wiest as a perplexed psychiatrist. Despite credit to a story idea by Roger Angell, the baseball in this picture doesn't bear any resemblance to reality; it's pure fantasy. May parody Talent for the Game (below).

This film compresses history mightily to foreground a (largely imaginary) personal conflict between elders Paige and Gibson and the brash youngster Jackie Robinson. In doing so, it does catch some of the intergenerational tension that certainly existed between some veterans and the younger stars. Well-acted by Delroy Lindo as Paige and Mykelti Williamson as Gibson.

Prefigures The Scout (above) in its plot and its preposterousness, except that this film is straightforward light melodrama.

That's actually a major subplot of this HBO-produced family fantasy; it's as much a baseball movie as it is anything else, since it can't quite make up its mind what story it wants to tell.

Better-than-average baseball film, marred only by the usual opacity of the series when it comes to the aliens' motives and actions. M. Emmet Walsh is notable as the geezer.