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  Film Reviews: So That’s What The Nuns Were About: The Rookie  

Friday, July 19
So That’s What The Nuns Were About: The Rookie
The Rookie
The dollar theater. The pageantry of the crowds. Four feet of security glass just to buy a discount movie ticket. The same stretch pants the concessionaire has worn since the beginning of time. Ah, yes, these are time-honored traditions. Just like baseball. So, like so many others before us, we heard that “The Rookie” was good, but didn’t want to be seen at our regular theaters buying tickets to a G-Rated film without the cover of a four-year-old child. It was crowded at the dollar-theater and perhaps, just perhaps, or misconception that the movie started half and hour later than it did may have forced me to find creative ways to the secrets of the first 12 minutes of the film. But I digress…

“The Rookie” stars the sexiest smile of all time – Dennis Quaid. I am partial to baseball movies, as they tend to put into two hours what would be the equivalent excitement of 321 actual baseball games. They’re almost always good (Major League 3: Back to The Minors being the biggest exception of ALL TIME). The Rookie has all that you need to make a baseball movie – big dreams, long odds and the ability to strive for greatness against all odds. This is the true story of Jim Morris, relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1999-2000) that tried out for the majors at the ripe old age of 35. Why at 35? 12 years earlier, his minor league career had been cut short by a shoulder injury (something implied in the film rather than told – all in favor of nuns). We meet an older Jim with a wife and child who is coaching a small baseball team in a small Texas town that would rather hear about football than baseball. Through a series of improbable events these kids that make the Bad News Bears look like, well, the Detroit Tigers, the coach finds himself at an open tryout for the Tampa Bay minor league team.

Now, being that Dennis Quaid is unbelievably attractive, his child is overly precocious and his wife is played by Brenda from six feet under (doing a horrid Texan accent), one would expect that every line delivered in this movie would be straight from those mini inspirational posters the really bad manager gives out at Christmas. Slam the Disney factor on top of it and you expect that Dennis Quaid should have been encouraged to try out by a multi-colored CGI mongoose named “Scooter.”   I’m not sure how it happened, but this was a simply fantastic story about a man trying to follow a dream against conventional wisdom and odds. Not even the mongoose could have made this better. Instead of a hero with a goal and only external forces holding him back, we find a real man with genuine doubt and failure of conviction impeding his progress. We see that Jim Morris is much like the rest of us – we all are ultimately the very thing that prevents us from reaching beyond ourselves.

Jim Morris went on to a two-year career in the majors. He went from a simple teaching salary to a $200,000 year contract. By no means is this A Rod money, but it is something for an over-the-hill thirty-something who thought his best baseball days were behind him (for fun, statistics are located at Come to think of it, this would make a pretty good inspirational poster…

The nuns? Well, you’ll just need to see the first 12 minutes of the movie to see what the heck they were doing at the end. Not that I would know how to view those before the video release without paying to see it at the theater again. No way!

The Usual:

Recommendation: I shoulda seen this in the theaters – rent this at Blockbuster.

Annoying Theater Goer: That would have been us. How much more annoying does it get than people walking into a movie twelve minutes late? Seriously, someone really should have said something to us.

Main Reason To See This Film: For all the hokeyness that this could have been, we have a story of a man that took a chance despite some very real fears. We see someone that could have easily passed on his natural talents for the calm and simple knowledge of everyday life without having been less of a person.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: Brenda as a happy wife and mother? With a Texas accent? Seriously, she belongs back with that couple from Orange County.

MPAA Rating: G

Nudity: No

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