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Overall Rating

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

4 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Rookie, The (2002)
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by DrChumley

"Family films as they should be"
4 stars

Anyone who bemoans the fact that filmic offerings for the family are severely lacking or woefully inadequate should stop thier complaining immediately, and head to the theater to see the latest offering from Disney Studios. After several misfires, Disney finally got it right and put together a film that is very enjoyable and entirely appropriate for family entertainment.

Jim Morris is a high school science teacher who had played professional baseball until an injury forced an early retirement. Living in a tiny town in the oil fields of western Texas, Morris coaches the less-than-stellar high school baseball team and, in his free time, drives out into the desert to practice his old fastballs. After a particularly pathetic showing by his team, Morris strikes a bargain with his team: they win the district championship, and he’ll try out for the major leagues again. A movie like this can only go one place: exactly where you expect it. Morris tries out, secures a place on a minor league team, and eventually makes it to the majors.

What makes this movie so enjoyable is not its destination, because we all know where it’s going. What makes this movie great is the journey. Director John Lee Hancock, a relative newcomer to feature films, understands that as an audience, we’ve seen the sports underdog film a million times. What's more, The Rookie is based on a true-life. The temptation would be to create or exaggerate conflicts in the real story, making the film more cinematic and melodramatic. Instead, Hancock exercises restraint usually exhibited only by more seasoned directors. The resulting film deftly delves into the personal and emotional lives of the characters without resorting to silly cliches or contrived situations.

Hancock’s job is made infinitely easier by a group of actors who show they understand the material nearly as well as their director. While none of the acting in this film is flashy, Oscar-caliber material, the actors deliver every line with an even honesty: a supreme example of "being" and not "acting".

Dennis Quaid, who seems to have received all the good genes in the Quaid family (sorry, Randy) is endearing as Morris, especially as Morris struggles with the emotional consequences of being on the road and away from his family. Helen Hunt clone Rachel Griffiths is a delight as Jim’s tough, Texas-bred wife. The precocious-yet-impossibly-cute Angus T. Jones brings Morris’ son, Hunter, to life. Even Jim’s baseball team and the is filled out with actors who are natural and enjoyable to watch.

This film manages, with one very minor exception, to stray from the sappy sentimentality that has a tendency to run rampant in this genre. There’s no overwrought walking-into-the-stadium-full-of-people theme, no contrived edge-of-defeat miraculous comeback. Hancock and screenwriter Mike Rich, even manage to do an entire film without one of those horribly cliché scenes where one person starts clapping and before long, the entire crowd is giving the player a standing ovation. What emerges is a simple, honest film with steady pacing and a good story.

It is worth going? Absolutely. The Rookie is what a family film should be: Good acting, great pacing, a story interesting enough for kids but still grounded and mature enough for adults.

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originally posted: 06/04/02 06:15:19
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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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