Bull Durham (1988)
This will be the final entry for our baseball movie week here at TVE. Kevin Costner has made more quality baseball movies than anyone I can think of. He has at least two of the top ten baseball movies of all time in Field of Dreams, and this movie, and a fairly decent one later on with “The Perfect Game”. Bull Durham tells the story of Crash Davis (Costner) who in this movie is perhaps the greatest player in the history of the minor leagues to never have a meaningful run in the majors. While he struggles away the waning years of his career, he is asked to mentor a new young upstart nicknamed “Nuke” played by Tim Robbins. Nuke is as clueless and tactless as he is talented. Together they ride the circuit together, and also both fall in love (or lust) with Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon. This movie shows what it is like to be a journeyman ballplayer better than any movie I can think of. The bus rides, the hotels, the bars, the fights etc… Everything is done with, as far as I have read, complete authenticity, and said authenticity comes across on the screen to the viewer to lend grit and character to a story that otherwise could be seen as a glossy romantic comedy. The joy of this movie is that it definitely knows its baseball, and also the relationship between Costner and Sarandon is one of the great cinematic romances. While ‘Field of Dreams’ is more culturally remembered, I think for a pure baseball movie this one is probably superior, not to say it is a better movie. I’d hate to have to pick between the two.