Rookie

Rookie

4.9 10
Director: John Lee Hancock

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez

     
 

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The true story of a middle-aged baseball rookie comes to the screen from Finding Forrester (2000) screenwriter Mike Rich and the studio behind the previous year's equally inspirational sports drama Remember the Titans (2001). Twelve years ago, the pro baseball aspirations of Texas pitcher Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) were derailed by a severe shoulderSee more details below

Overview

The true story of a middle-aged baseball rookie comes to the screen from Finding Forrester (2000) screenwriter Mike Rich and the studio behind the previous year's equally inspirational sports drama Remember the Titans (2001). Twelve years ago, the pro baseball aspirations of Texas pitcher Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) were derailed by a severe shoulder injury. Jim became a high school science teacher and baseball coach, married his sweetheart, Lorri (Rachel Griffiths), and settled down to raise a family. After corrective surgery repairs, despite the longstanding damage to his shoulder, Jim discovers that he can pitch a ball even faster than he could before. When his team delivers a lackluster on-field performance in a losing game, coach and players agree to a wager: If they'll make it to the district championships, he'll try out for a major league ball club. When his team makes it to the championship and wins for the first time in the school's history, Jim is forced to live up to his end of the bargain. Nearly laughed off the field, he confounds the pro scouts by tossing successive fastballs that clock at nearly 100 miles per hour. It seems that Jim is about to live his dream of joining a major league team in middle age, when most players are planning their retirement. The Rookie (2002) co-stars Brian Cox, Beth Grant, and Jay Hernandez.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
While based on a true story, The Rookie treads well-worn cinematic paths and will doubtless induce feelings of déjà vu in many viewers. Luckily, this family-friendly drama is so skillfully made, its lack of originality is easy to forgive. The story takes place in the West Texas town of Big Lake, where high school coach Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid), having long since forgotten his dream of pitching in the majors, struggles to keep his lackluster baseball team motivated. After startling the players during batting practice with the speed of his fastball, Jim makes the boys a promise: He’ll try out for the majors if they qualify for the district finals. As directed by John Lee Hancock (Falcone), The Rookie progresses along fairly predictable lines; the big game is won, and Morris trudges off to the tryouts (with his eight-year-old son in tow), although you’ll have to see for yourself if he makes the grade. Hancock bolsters a rather predictable narrative with solid, believable characterizations. Quaid, Rachel Griffiths (as his patient, understanding wife), Jay Hernandez (as the team captain), and Brian Cox (as Jim’s father) all turn in excellent portrayals. Their fine work reinforces the movie’s credibility, which in turn strengthens its message: Never give up on your dreams. The DVD edition includes a full-length commentary by Hancock and Quaid, along with deleted scenes, a featurette on the real Jim Morris, and spring-training tips from real-life baseball pros.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Stylish and well-crafted, this sports melodrama doesn't offer up much that is new in its oft-clichéd milieu, but the well-traveled paths down which it trods are reliable ones. If not for the film's badly distended running time it might have ended up, despite its lack of originality, in a genuinely affecting place. It's too bad that director John Lee Hancock and screenwriter Mike Rich don't get that their project is fundamentally G-rated schmaltz that's been road-tested and sanitized for Middle American bourgeois viewing. There's nothing wrong with candy corn cinema when it's self-aware, but the filmmakers seem to be laboring under the delusion that they're crafting a 21st century Field of Dreams (1989) instead of the latest family-friendly Disney concoction. The bloated two-hours-plus length betrays their pretensions, with nearly every scene slogging on long past the point where it should have been cut. The Rookie is definitely not a bad film; it benefits from its factual origins enough that the third-act payoff is genuinely affecting, and the performance by Dennis Quaid is thankfully free of irony or self-pity. It's just that the art of editing at either the script or at the final cut stage could have helped tremendously to disguise the artificiality that's being employed to manipulate viewers.
Entertainment Weekly
Something particularly clean shines in this American fairy tale, a quality of simplicity that's almost as hard to achieve in such movies as a middle-aged man's boyhood dreams. Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times - Stephen Holden
As averse as I usually am to feel-good, follow-your-dream Hollywood fantasies, this one got to me.
Washington Post
A rarity to be cheered: a smart, engaging family film that stands firmly in the best of the Disney tradition. Ann Hornaday

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2008
UPC:
0786936749786
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
G
Source:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
ABC
Time:
2:08:00

Special Features

Audio commentary with director John Lee Hancock and actor Dennis Quaid; Spring Training: Baseball tips from the pros; "The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris"; Deleted scenes with director introductions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dennis Quaid Jim Morris
Rachel Griffiths Lorri Morris
Jay Hernandez Joaquin "Wack" Campos
Beth Grant Olline Morris
Angus T. Jones Hunter
Brian Cox Jim Morris, Sr.
Rick Gonzalez Rudy Bonilla
Chad Lindberg Joe David West
Angelo Spizzirri Joel De La Garza
Royce D. Applegate Henry
Russell Richardson Brooks
Raynor Scheine Frank
David Blackwell Cal
Blue Deckert Dave Patterson
Dan Kamin Mac
Trevor Morgan Young Jim

Technical Credits
John Lee Hancock Director
John Bissell Musical Direction/Supervision
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Mark Ciardi Producer
Bruce Finlayson Costumes/Costume Designer
Gordon Gray Producer
Mark Johnson Producer
Mike Rich Screenwriter
Barry Robison Production Designer
John Schwartzman Cinematographer
Philip Steuer Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Rookie
0. Opening Credits/The Investment
0. "Welcome to Big Lake"
0. Coach's Arm
0. The Deal
0. Speed Limit 35
0. A Winning Season
0. "It's Your Turn, Coach!"
0. On the Mound
0. Family Concerns
0. Southern League
0. Brooks's Confession
0. Jimmy's Dream
0. The Major Leagues
0. "Morris, You're In!"
0. "Thanks for Coming"
0. The Investment Paid Off/End Credits

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