baseball scout Gus (Clint Eastwood) doesn't believe in computers or
He enjoys researching the old fashion way by going to games and
talent firsthand. However, Gus is struggling to take care of himself.
doesn't eat well and his eyesight is growing weaker, making it harder
observe the matches. With draft selections approaching, Gus's friend
Goodman) is worried about an important scouting trip coming up. He
for Gus to make any mistakes with selections so he employs some extra
help. He tries
to persuade Mickey (Amy Adams), Gus's daughter, to go on the trip with
father. Mickey lives a very separate life to Gus. She works in a law
surrounded by men and has to work hard for any recognition. However,
as much about baseball as Gus does and eventually concedes when she
her father's instability. Her relationship with Gus shares a bitter
she finds relief by coming to know Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a young
who would have been a great player had he not succumbed to injury.
Trouble with the
driven by a fantastic creative team, two experienced lead actors and a
star - it's also nothing short of a misfire. The film is courtesy of
Eastwood's studio Malpaso Productions, but is directed by his assistant
Lorenz, the second unit director of films like Million
Dollar Baby (2004) and Mystic
River (2003). Positioning itself as a clear alternative to the
science methods of Moneyball (2011), Malpaso
is a fitting word. The name is derived from Malpaso Creek, which means
"bad step" in Spanish. The script by first time screenwriter Randy
Brown would have you believe that modern statistics in sports fall
short of old
school methods, like pure instincts and hands-on research. Did the old
Billy Beane had to contend with come up with this?
don't know a lot about baseball, but after watching Rugby League for
years I've learnt something: stats do not lie. A recent article in The
Morning Herald described the fallout between the NRL (National Rugby
and Sports Data, a company outsourced to organise all of the games
player statistics. Sports Data is said to hold a very close
the games most successful coaches, many of whom use this information to
for matches as well as recruitment. The article also predicted that
these vital statistics, the 2013 season would start in chaos. Why would
other sport today, including baseball, be different? What's shown here,
listening to the sound of the bat, is an outdated and impractical
charisma of the film's leads adds a little more belief to the
side of the story. Amy Adams' form is first class, blistering with the
toughness and grit that Eastwood is best known for himself. They share
chemistry together and exchange some wonderfully comic verbal stoushes.
says at one point in the film: "It must be so rewarding being one of
close friends". Although Eastwood is starting to look weary, he can
throw down the odd good line or two, like when he comments that his
shrinking after scratching his car. There are also a couple of scenes
own sense of invulnerability, coupled with his ailing eyesight,
briefly tense moments.
it's the script that lets the actors down again because it doesn't know
develop the central relationship. Gus and Mickey fight, watch baseball
together, and fight some more, right until an unmoving revelation is
at the end. The lack of drama is compounded by Timberlake's character.
very charming and funny, but if Gus is unconcerned about Johnny
daughter, where's the tension? Mickey's relationship with Johnny itself
very old fashioned and overly safe. He's laid-back, she's not, and they
discover they both love baseball and go swimming in a lake together.
that ice-cold water is about as radical as this film ever becomes. With
overdose of pleasantness and few dramatic high points, the film becomes
viewing. Nonetheless, it won't tarnish Clint's legacy too much: it'll
forgotten before then.