Movie Stats & Links
||Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John
Hawkes, D.B. Sweeney
||Not too young, and it might be a
little emotional for them.
||She'll be blubbering on your
||Keanu gets roughed up some.
||The kids are great.
||When Little G plays the part of
||Tina Nides, Mike Tollin, Brian
"Hardball" could have been dubbed "the
feel-good movie of the year" all until a scene late in the
movie that snaps you back into reality. Reality sucks sometimes.
A Movie Review
Anyway, "Hardball" tells the sort of real but
doctored-by-Hollywood story of Conor (Keanu Reeves), a gambler who
finds happiness by coaching a group of kids living in the projects
of Chicago. Here we goÖ
Conor likes gambling on sporting events, the only problem is that
he isnít really any good at it. In debt to a bunch of bookies, as
a last resort he turns to a stock broker buddy who, rather than keep
on bailing him out, hires Conor to coach the team they sponsor (and
donít sponsor well) in the projects. Conor is in it solely for his
weekly check so he doesnít get his legs broken, and we see this at
the beginning. Does he really coach the kids? No. What does he do
when he finds out he might lose his coaching gig because they donít
have enough players? Convince the parents that heíll help their
kids with their schoolwork. Does he have any idea of the lives the
kids are leaving? Not until he keeps them after dark for practice
and one of the kids gets beat up going home, and when he takes
another home, the boy asks Conor if he would like to see where he
lived, and as Conor is walking through the halls he asks why
everyone sits on their floor to which is replied so they donít get
shot by stray bullets through the windows.
Eventually Conor begins to snap into reality and sees himself as
having a bigger purpose other than just a degenerate gambler.
Finally, when he wins big enough to pay off his debts, rather than
roll the money over, well, he takes the kids to a baseball game
(complete with a really dorky scene with Sammy Sosa).
"Hardball" does its best to manipulate your
heartstrings and does it well, and a lot of people are criticizing
it for that. But isnít that what Hollywood does? Sure, the movie
is based on a true story and gets manipulated, but it does what you
would expect Ė has you immediately liking the kids even with their
foul mouths; has you at first despising Conor but then growing to
love him; and hits you with an emotional scene.
Life isnít always great and "Hardball" shows this.
But life does have its moments of greatness and happiness and
"Hardball" shows this as well. Expect some stereotypes,
expect a "where does this really fit" love story, and
expect a movie that will manipulate you into getting a little
emotional Ė itís what Hollywood usually does best.
I liked "Hardball" even though I knew it was
manipulating me. It showed that kids will be kids, that sometimes
degenerates change, and, well, I just liked the movie. It wasnít
great, but Iíll give it 3 Ĺ stars out of 5. There isnít too
much out there right now so go ahead and pay full price.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!