Posts Tagged ‘Trouble with the Curve’


JUDY-trouble-with-the-curve-600x320This weekend in “Trouble with the Curve” Clint Eastwood is playing a character he’s never tried before—sort of.  He’s a baseball scout who brings his daughter along as he recruits new players. It’s his first baseball movie, but it isn’t the first time he’s played this kind of role—a man on the proverbial one last job.

The icon plays Gus, a legendary (read: old) Atlanta Braves scout. He’s regarded as a dinosaur by his colleagues, who mock him for his old school, anti-“Moneyball” approach—travelling to games, reading stats in the newspaper—as they sit behind their computer screens gathering information. His job and legacy rest on recruiting batting hotshot Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill) but old age and failing eyesight are slowing him down. His boss and oldest (and maybe only) friend Pete (John Goodman) guilts Gus’s estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), named after Mickey Mantle, to accompany him on the road. It may be Gus’s last scouting trip and his last chance to patch things up with the daughter he left in the metaphorical bleachers when she was a young girl.

“The Trouble with the Curve” is the kind of harmless, predictable movie that succeeds despite the story. Pretty much everything that happens is telegraphed long in advance, the characters are the kind of people who exist only in the movies and like its lead actor, it feels like a relic from another time.

And that, in some ways, is a good thing. There isn’t a cynical bone in its body. It is a straightforward story that instead of relying on finely writ characters or unusual situations, uses star power to elevate it from “Grumpy Old Men” territory.

The Clintiness of it earns it a recommend. The iconic actor has never been shy about embracing his… er… veteran status on screen. Since “Unforgiven” he’s been acting his age, and now at age 82 he’s acting like the grandfather he is in real life, terrible jokes and all. “Get out of here before I have a heart attack trying to kill,” is a line that would have stuck in Dirty Harry’s throat, but here it’s funny with just a hint of menace.

Clint is funny, gruff and even lip-quiveringly emotional. Continuing his newfound habit of speaking to inanimate objects he does a monologue with a gravestone that is as cliché as anything thing we’ve seen in that wheelhouse, but somehow he makes it work.

As for the supporting cast, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake have good chemistry, Matthew Lillard is an easy-to-dislike smarm-bucket and John Goodman is as comfortable as a well-worn in baseball mitt, but make no mistake, none of this would matter without the Big C at the helm.

The trouble with “Trouble with the Curve” isn’t the curves—there aren’t any, story wise, anyway—it’s that it is too by-the-book. Luckily a combo of Clint and some good old-fashioned sentimentality save it in the final innings.

‘One last job’ (again) for Clint Eastwood By Richard Crouse Metro Canada September 19, 2012

trouble-with-the-curve-image07Over the course of dozens of movies, Clint Eastwood has played everything from cops and criminals to journalists and radio announcers to cowboys and even an astronaut.

This weekend in Trouble with the Curve he’s playing a character he’s never tried before — sort of.

He’s a baseball scout who brings his daughter (Amy Adams) along as he recruits new players. It’s his first baseball movie, but it isn’t the first time he’s played this kind of role — a man on the proverbial one last job.

The person who comes out of retirement, or takes on one last gig before hanging up his or her spurs, is a common movie character.

Blade Runner, Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Usual Suspects and The Wild Bunch all feature people going in for one last kick at the can.

In Eastwood’s case it’s a case of real life paralleling art to an extent. After Gran Torino, Eastwood announced his retirement from acting, but was coaxed back for one last acting job by his long time collaborator Robert Lorenz, who makes his directing debut with this movie.

Eastwood’s most famous “one last job” film is Unforgiven. He plays William Munny, an aging gunman who tried unsuccessfully to go straight and lead a normal life. “I’m just a fella now,” he says. “I ain’t no different than anyone else no more.”

But when he finds himself broke he saddles up one more time, reluctantly bringing along his old partner Ned (Morgan Freeman) to gun down some bad guys for money.  “Just ‘cause we’re goin’ on this killing, that don’t mean I’m gonna go back to bein’ the way I was. I just need the money, to get a new start for them youngsters.”

At the time Eastwood said this would be the last movie that he would both perform in and direct, but has gone on to act in and direct many more, including the “one last time” movie Space Cowboys.

In front of the camera Clint is Frank Corvin, a retired rocket pilot called back into service when NASA finds they have a problem that only he can solve.

He recruits his old compatriots — Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner — for one last journey into space.

NASA offered use of their “vomit comet” plane for the weightless scenes, but Eastwood said no, thinking the older actors couldn’t handle the physical stress of zero gravity.