AT THE MOVIES- THE BULL DURHAM COMMENTARY

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC – Called out on Friday April 24th by Sam’s-a-Fan, Tall Matt was implored to screen, for the first time, the legendary baseball romantic comedy Bull Durham. Indeed, the title “WE NEED AN INTERVENTION” was a seminal call to arms, asking followers of Meet the Matts to show Tall Matt the error of his ways; to implore him to watch the film with all haste and become one with the Church of Baseball. A time was specifically carved out of a busy day and herein is the review. No punches were held in Rocky so I’ll hold none here.

Why are you all enamored with this self-serving, predictable drivel? I’ll have to assume that it’s your love of all things baseball. Maybe, like foggy memories of cigarettes burns from a drunken dad glossed over, you’ve convinced yourselves that it “was a great movie”; otherwise I’m going to ask that you all be committed. Raging Bull is a great sports film. Hoosiers is a great sports film. Hell, even The Bad News Bears is a great sports movie but Bull Durham is a “Joe Schmo” movie. Perhaps you find it a great American love story? Casablanca is a great romantic film. Annie Hall is a great romantic comedy. Hell, even King Kong is a great love story compared to this. This is the Church of Bull(Durham)sh*t. Walt Whitman said, “Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.” Consider it dismissed, I was insulted.

The film ranks #94 on the American Film Institutes’ “100 Years…100 Laughs” list, ostensibly placing it in the top 100 American comedies of all time. One of those other 99 films must absconded with Bull Durham’s laugh because I couldn’t find it. Not a chuckle did I detect let alone a guffaw. When Tootsie blasts it’s way into 2nd place on this list you can wipe your hine with it and flush. What is so damn funny about this movie? Nothing. The fact that the genre is comedy and there’s nary a laugh automatically makes it lame. “Strikeouts are fascist.” If that is funny please explain it to me. I’m rather simple. Kudos, I suppose, goes to Sam for linking a clip from what is perhaps the only mildly amusing line the movie has to offer. Sadly, Robert Wuhl built a career from said line and that in turn gave us the piffle known as Arli$$.

I did go into the viewing with an open mind not only for Bull Durham but even for its’ leading man. Holding out hope for an earnest Kevin Costner performance proved ill advised and any expectation diminished quickly as he reincarnated Warren “Potsie” Weber in his first scene. Can a costume stylist be retroactively fired 21 years later? That first awful glimpse was quickly overshadowed by a soliloquy with now mythic cinematic proportion; the things he believes in. Ha! Maybe Susan Sontag’s writing was self-indulgent and over-rated crap but wasn’t this screenplay too?

Annie Savoy (NO NOT YOU ANNIE SAVOY) is a two-bit harlot prone to philosophical claptrap; whore with a heart of gold and a penchant for poetry. How can anyone be gullible enough to buy either of the two female characters in this movie? We’ve seen Major League groupies at Spring Training and we’ll be the first to tell you, they don’t look like Susan Sarandon or Jenny Robertson. They’re typically more worn out than Houston after the 500. Mr. Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, was passable as a goofy lanky pitcher with things to learn not only on the mound but also in the sack. In typical clichéd fashion the two themes are intertwined and mutually supportive. It’s also hard to swallow Nuke’s call up to “The Show” after a two week run of good Single-A ball outings. Does that mean we can send Oliver Perez to St. Lucie Single-A after his two weeks of wretched pitching? If that’s the case then I can buy Nuke’s promotion.

I can’t use the familiar line “gimme my money back” since this film is 21 years old and I relied on a well worn VHS copy courtesy of our own Annie Savoy. Denied that grievance- can I get my hour and 48 minutes back? Forgive me friends; this is how I feel about the movie, though I wish it wasn’t the case. When nearly everyone you know and whose opinions you value and principals you trust believes in something with such zeal, you’re ready to buy in. I just couldn’t. “All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.” Walt Whitman said that too.

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www.MeetTheMatts.com started out as a NY Mets website and organically grew into an entity covering all professional sports. Our daily contributors, as diverse as they may be, share one important asset... a sense of humor. This is, after all, sports entertainment.