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Overall Rating

Awesome: 45.45%
Worth A Look50.91%
Average: 3.64%
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Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Rookie, The (2002)
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by Scott Weinberg

"The baseball movie is the guy's chick flick."
4 stars

I love baseball movies. I'm willing to forgive a laundry list of minor flubs if a film portrays my beloved game of baseball in a romantic or heroic light. The latest Disney family sports flick, The Rookie, does both and does it stunningly well. Toss in a superlative performance by underrated movie star Dennis Quaid, and you've got the guy's equivalent to Steel Magnolias.

Based on the true story of major-league pitcher Jimmy Morris, The Rookie is about nothing more than the importance of teamwork and the pursuit of one's fondest dreams. What makes The Rookie a considerably better film than (for example) Disney's earlier Remember the Titans is a noted lack of overtly manipulative sap. Sure, this one has its share of inspirational scenes of emotion, but director John Lee Hancock manages to reign things in whenever they manage to get too sugar-coated. Plus nobody suddenly bursts out into a Motown song, and that's a very good thing.

Jimmy Morris is a respected science teacher in rural Texas who lives out his childhood dreams of baseball glory by coaching the high school team. A devoted husband and father of three small children, Jimmy keeps himself in good shape and still loves the game of baseball. After challenging his team to improve their teamwork, they offer a challenge back: if the team manages to win their division, Jimmy will have to go try out for the Major Leagues.

Since we're watching a family film from Disney, it's no spoiler to divulge that Morris' team excels and he's soon off to audition for the pros. The baseball stuff was what entertained me most, but The Rookie also acquits itself nicely in the dramatics department. Obviously it's not easy for a middle-class father to just up and follow his dreams, and this is where The Rookie elevates itself beyond simply a 'baseball flick'.

As is almost always the case, Dennis Quaid (The Big Easy) commands the screen. Quaid's always been one of those "tier 2" leading men, but here's proof positive that second best often tries harder. Not only in The Rookie has Dennis Quaid proven more interesting than your average Tom Cruise. Rachel Griffiths (Muriel's Wedding) offers a strong performance as Jimmy's dedicated wife, even if her role is a little more than a caricature. Worthy of special mention is young actor Angus T. Jones (See Spot Run), an adorable 5-year-old who punctuates the movie's finest moments with his beaming smile.

If The Rookie has one shining weakness (and it's a minor complaint at that), it's the extended running time. The film slogs through three or four slow spots, the absence of which could have made The Rookie a bit more streamlined - as well as bring its 2+ hour length to a quicker finale.

The Rookie may not measure up to such baseball classics as The Natural or Eight Men Out, but heck - few movies do. This one does however rank pretty darn high in the annals of baseball moviedom, partially for its good-natured, sweet attitude and respect for baseball - but mainly because Dennis Quaid delivers one of the finest performances of his eclectic career.

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originally posted: 04/12/02 15:42:11
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User Comments

4/14/10 Billl Flowers I love baseball and this movie affirms that love. 5 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner Great Kids Film! 5 stars
3/25/08 Carol I Love Dennis Quaid in anything, wonderful in The Rookie 5 stars
7/29/07 David A great movie. It reminds us never to give up on our dreams! 5 stars
12/29/06 Jennifer Raven funny and interesting. love it! except for Dennis quaid and his weird way of talking 4 stars
10/19/06 Rachel It was a fantastic movie 5 stars
10/17/06 AJ Muller Quaid nails another winner - a sweet,moving and thrilling flick 4 stars
11/22/04 R.W. Welch It ain't over til it's over. Nicely done fact-based bb pic tho a tad long for the material. 4 stars
11/22/04 Julia Lorbeer this is a movie you can watch with your kids and enjoy it just as much as they do. 5 stars
11/12/04 Wes A great movie for the entire family to see together 4 stars
10/30/04 HL Sweet! Quaid makes this wonderful...must see! 5 stars
5/30/04 Frazier A true story and account of dreams that do come true 5 stars
9/23/03 Buck Wonderful, true sports drama. Inspiring. 5 stars
6/03/03 Jack Sommersby Familiar yet brimming with much heart and conviction and spirit. Quaid is perfection. 4 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Watched it with considerable interest, but can't get into seeing it again. 4 stars
10/02/02 snowconehead I guess there's something wrong with me, I couldn't find a plot at all here 3 stars
7/11/02 Sheila Evans Is human hair really a deer-repellent? 4 stars
6/08/02 ownerofdajoint all baseball junkies should see this throws curves/ sometimes things go our way 5 stars
6/02/02 Chris I was excepting sugar sweet what I got was a family film for the smart family. A home run. 5 stars
5/16/02 Jacqui M. Is teaching high school science less important than playing baseball????? 3 stars
4/30/02 Janx Excellent baseball movie. I want to ram Dennis Quiad with my love tool 5 stars
4/14/02 Daniela Great movie, good acting, good message. 5 stars
4/13/02 Suzz great baseball story 4 stars
4/11/02 Rockitman007 Second only to "Field of Dreams" 5 stars
4/03/02 Linda I loved this movie! It's a very moving and powerful story, and Dennis Quaid is great in it 5 stars
4/03/02 David Asa Brown the best baseball movie since the sandlot or field of dreams 5 stars
4/02/02 Paul Taylor Simply put, a great film! 5 stars
4/02/02 Melissa in NYC A sweet film that everyone will enjoy (a little too long for small kiddies though). 5 stars
3/31/02 Teresa A nice family film. You can take Grandma. 4 stars
3/29/02 J in Austin DQ can't play baseball worth a lick - the good news is, he doesn't really play at all... 5 stars
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