It is atypical that I get excited, let alone downright giddy about the opening of a new movie, but I have no trouble admitting that I am anxious to see the new film "42" that opens this weekend.
It is atypical, again, that I take in a film on the day it premiers — I did it for October Baby last March and before that it was Miracle — but I am considering doing so this Friday when the aforementioned life story of Jackie Robinson makes it debut.
October Baby dealt with an issue I care deeply about and, as true stories — I am a news man after all — films like Miracle and this weekend’s release are really in my wheelhouse, so to speak.
Armed with an anniversary code for a freebie rental and since my team was gone from the NCAA tournament, rather than watch a certain team up north, I dropped by the red box — blue, ironically — and selected Trouble With The Curve, before which was a preview of "42," which only made me want to clear Friday’s schedule all the more.
As for the Clint Eastwood flick, which came highly recommended by Jonothan Gipson, a writer friend of mine and the sports information director at UAFS, I really liked it.
I could have used a little more baseball and, any Jessica Biel envy aside, could have done without Justin Timberlake in one of the lead roles. There were also a couple of holes like calling that kid a five-tool player.
Still, the life story was remarkably well told and was as poignant and sometimes distressing as the game of baseball itself under a title that has been a metaphor for any number of incidents in anybody’s life, my own included — sometimes even when you know it’s coming,
Given the story line of a father-daughter relationship on which the story hinges, I could not help but be intrigued by Eastwood’s son being in the film in a role of a ball player who needed most to see his mother to get back on track. Classic.
If you haven’t seen TWTC I recommend it with the warning not to expect the overdone bases loaded two outs in the bottom of the ninth, 3-2 count scene.
There will probably be more than one line I will repeat from the film but my favorite will always be the question Eastwood asked the other grizzled old scouts as to why they were staring. Hilarious.
The attraction to drop in on 42 this weekend is its obviously historic in nature and a sheer love of baseball. In the case of the former, having the blessings of Robinson’s widow speaks volumes about the work because the world was far from politically correct in 1947.
I hope I’m not setting myself up for disappointment, but I suspect the number 42 will become synonymous with great sports movies beginning Friday. On that note, if ever a number deserved to be retired it is Robinson’s 42 and, for the casual baseball fan, the last remaining 42, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, will formally close out the number in October.