Trouble with the Curve (2012) Review

Trouble with the Curve

Release Date: September 21, 2012

Director: Robert Lorenz

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman

Runtime: 111 min

Tagline: Whatever Life Throws at You

Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a good old fashioned baseball scout who doesn’t rely on computers to give him all the needed statistics. In a technology dominated society, this could cause problems. Gus isn’t in his glory years, and he is now having difficulty seeing properly. He goes on one last recruiting trip, and much to his dislike, his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), tags along.

Trouble with the Curve is filled with clichés and it has a great amount of predictable moments and outcomes, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. Clint Eastwood is type-cast and plays that dynamic-seemingly-unpleasant-stubborn-old-fart. Amy Adams is that all-work-and-no-play(makes Mickey a dull gal) character. The characters are pretty solid, and there are great actors coming out the ying yang – Eastwood (who came out of acting retirement to do this), Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, and Matthew Lillard.

Some may be turned off by the baseball vibe of it all, but anti-baseball lovers, don’t threat, because it’s not all about baseball – there’s enough humour, relationship building and self-sacrifice to make it enjoyable for those who don’t like the game. Though, it does help if you enjoy it at least a little bit.

It really does offer a great story and narrative, and most of the characters have quite a few layers. The film is enjoyable, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s like a roller coaster of feel-good moments and emotional moments. There aren’t any bad scenes, but some just aren’t extremely memorable. Trouble is an experience that is very memorable and extremely enjoyable for baseball fans, but it might just offer entertainment and not make a lasting impression to non-baseball fans.

The only bad characters, really, are the baseball player that Gus is scouting, and Matthew Lillard’s. Lillard has gone from the sort-of annoying stoner Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo films to an adulterous prick in The Descendants to a young baseball scout who thinks he knows everything there is to know about the sport, in this.

Eastwood’s character seems unpleasant, stubborn and reserved; but that’s probably because of his vision going, an upcoming threat of possible retirement, and that utter need for independence that a lot of elders possess.

The father-daughter relationship seems pretty timid, but it makes for some nice scenes throughout the feature.

There are some cool visuals, like when Gus is looking at something and his vision goes awry. At first, in all honesty, I thought I only percepted the screen as blurry!

Trouble stars Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Robert Patrick and Matthew Lillard, to name a few.

There’s a lot of nice humour here and there, some great scenery and visuals, and there’s great chemistry created between the actors (even though Lillard is that one odd guy out). There are some draining moments and predictable moments, but it still is quite enjoyable, and really doesn’t overstay its welcome. Baseball lovers run out and see it, and non-lovers of the game, I give you permission to wait until it comes out on home media.

80/100

Chasing Mavericks (2012)

Chasing Mavericks 

Release Date: October 26, 2012

Directors: Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson

Stars: Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue

Runtime: 120 min

Tagline: Legends Start Somewhere

Chasing Mavericks brings the audience knowledge of the life story of Jay Moriarity. The year is 1994, and the location is Santa Cruz, California. 15-year old Jay Moriarity has always loved surfing, and has idolized local legend Frosty Hesson since childhood. When Jay hitches a ride on the roof of Frosty’s van, he finds out that the myth of the Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, is very real. He gets it in his aspiring stubborn head that he must ride this wave, and Frosty offers to teach him to survive it.

A lot of the content in C.M., is material that you’ve probably seen about ten times before, and the story feels simply between average and a bit above average. It’s just that unfortunately average true underdog story, who just wants to beat the odds and come out a winner, with just a little determination and heart. Despite its average story , it still does offer an enjoyable experience and a story that someone could easily like a lot, or even love.

The true story is pretty nice, and it’s all about following one’s dreams and just aspire to become something, or some such bogus bullsh*t. If you do know Jay’s story and everything before you see it, it isn’t necesssary to check this one out. Unless you’re really curious, but if you know beforehand, it may not be as enjoyable. It also might be a rewarding experience for you if you went in knowing as little about his story as possible, and go in without many expectations at all. It’s just some really nice scenery and a fairly average tale.

Jay knows what it is like to be independent, as he has grown up (for the most part) without his father, and his mother works a lot. He finds a fatherly figure within Frosty, and it really is nice to watch their relationship grow over the course of the feature. Jay also learns great lessons of how to observe, and lessons of fear from Frosty. The chemistry created between the two is great. Also, the chemistry created between Jay and Kim is too, great. At times, the relationship between Jay and his best friend Blond, feels, oddly enough, awkward.

The beginning with Jay younger and Kim younger and Frosty younger, almost makes it feel like a whole different plot. That goes on for about fifteen minutes, but then it jumps ahead seven years to 1994, where the majority of the film is set. I didn’t like how that was done.

The acting is good, and the main performers bring good chops to the table. I haven’t seen a lot of Jonny Weston or Leven Rambin. Well, I’ve seen Rambin in her small role in The Hunger Games, but that’s about it. There is also some incredible scenery and fine cinematography offered.

As far as surfing films go, this one was great. I’ve never been a huge fan of surfing, but I did enjoy this more than Soul Surfer. In that one, they really just chewed (really feasted) the scenery. Speaking of S.S., the success of that probably inspired Fox to make a surfing flick, for young Moriarity, for the 2012 Fall season.

The great thing about Jay and Frosty’s relationship is that it doesn’t feel like a teacher-student relationship, but a true friendship.
The climactic surf sequence is fairly quickly paced, but others just drag on; and at times the relationships that build on the land are greater than those draining surf sequences.

SMALL SPOILER ALERT.

This isn’t a large spoiler because it doesn’t spoil a key element of the film, so read with much risk.

Somehow, the fact that the Mavericks is real is leaked, and citizens around the area come, right during the final surf sequence when Jay wants to ride the huge wave that’s coming. Some watch, and some amateur surfers want to try out the waves. Even some boats go out. For me, I hate how the filmmakers execute this. It really takes a number on my attention, because Jay is supposed to be the focal point, but at times I’m really distracted by all those boats in the water. It’s mostly bothersome to me because the filmmakers really don’t have to follow the story to the letter. They should have just left out the boats, then I’d be content.

END OF SMALL SPOILER ALERT.

This is the real Jay Moriarity.

There isn’t a lot of humour offered, but the few jokes are pretty funny. There’s some poignancy here and there, but most of it can be pretty inspiring.

Gerard Butler (he also is Executive Producer), Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer, Leven Rambin, Devin Crittenden and Taylor Handley star.

Sometimes, Chasing Mavericks feels just a bit too average. There’s some nice humour, cinematography, and great scenery. Sometimes some scenes drag on, but the better scenes certainly outweigh those poor ones. It’s worth checking out if you want to check out a nice inspirational story, but that’s about the only big thing that makes C.M. stand out so vibrantly.

70/100