Director: Billy Crystal
This is my favorite Barry Pepper movie. That may sound like faint praise, and it is, but it really was some fine work that he did here. Pepper plays Roger Maris, the plain spoken, uncharismatic everyman that for one magical summer had a home run race with fellow team mate and Yankee and MLB legend Mickey Mantle. Mantle is played in this movie by Thomas Jane in what comes off as a mix of Hugh Hefner and Robert Redford in The Natural. Billy Crystal, who directed this movie did a great job of finding great actors who all look, or were made to look a hell of a lot like the actual people they portray here. This is mainly a buddy movie between Maris and Mantle, as the two of them go through the media hellstorm as they approach the near sacred home run record of Babe Ruth. This movie was made shortly after the 1998 homerun race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, which captivated me as a young teenager. All in all, this isn’t a great movie, but it is at the least a very good one. There was a lot of great attention to detail. The old Detroit Tiger Stadium (before it too met its infamous demise) made a terrific stand in for the old Yankee Stadium. This is a movie for baseball nerds and history nerds, of which I am both. If you are neither, your mileage may vary.