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Movie Reviews

The Rookie  
Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid)
Lorri Morris (Rachel Griffiths)
Wack Campos (Jay Hernandez)
Hunter (Angus T. Jones)
Jim Morris, Sr. (Brian Cox)
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Written by Mike Rich

Running Time: 129 minutes
Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid
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Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures

Over the past years, Walt Disney Pictures has released many family films about the human spirit. Films like Iron Will, Cool Runnings, and Remember the Titans are to name a few. All of these films are very predictable, but just so likeable. Disney continues this trend with their new family film The Rookie.

The Rookie is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who got a second chance to live his childhood dream.

The film starts from Jim’s roots, showing him as youngster with a love for baseball. The story then flashes forward thirty years to where Jim has settled in the place he last moved to as a child, Big Lake, Texas. We learn that he tried out for the majors as a pitcher, but quit due to a shoulder injury. He is now a family man with a lovely wife (Griffiths) and a cute son (Jones). Jim still loves baseball and is the coach of the high school team, where he also teaches science to the students.

The Big Lake Owls baseball team is not that good, in the last two seasons they have only won a couple of games. They are a likeable group of young men that also love their coach.

The team is stunned one day at practice when they learn that Jim can still throw over ninety miles an hour. The young ball players make a deal with their coach that if they win district, than Jim has to try out again for the majors. Jim finally agrees after the players continuously argue the deal with him.

The film then turns into an inspiring journey not only for Jim, but the team, his son and his wife. Though predictable, the story is told structurally and patiently.

Screenwriter Mike Rich and director John Lee Hancock present a pretty good family drama with The Rookie. Yes, the film is a baseball story, but also a story of inspiration, which I believe is good for children. I learned of Jim Morris’ story a few years ago on Primetime. It is obvious that Rich and Hancock for the most part stuck to the facts and did their research. There were a couple of things to me that I believe were fictionalized, but the parts that were altered helped the story. The bothersome problem I had with The Rookie was the symbolic opening narration of the film how the field in Big Lake came about. I thought the symbolic take was confusing and unimportant to the film, but after a while, you will forget about it.

Dennis Quaid is the type of actor that can hold a film like The Rookie together, and he is the glue to this film. He delivers a solid performance as the aging pitcher with motivation. I like Quaid’s film selection lately, along with The Rookie; he has recently delivered good work in Traffic and Frequency. HBO’s Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths also delivers steady work as Jim’s wife Lorri. Angus Jones, who plays eight-year old son, is so adorable that one can’t help but like him. Finally, there is the great Brian Cox, who always delivers admirable work, serves up the goods as Jim’s military father.

The Rookie is not a great film by any means, but it is one of those good likeable films that Disney occasionally releases. Even though it is a baseball movie, I believe that most audiences will enjoy it.

Report Card Grade: B

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