Copyright 1999-2002 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

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Bams' review of
The Rookie
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The Rookie (2002)
Rated G; running time 129 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Sports/Drama
Seen at: Celebration Cinema (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site: http://www.disney.com/therookie/
IMDB site: http://us.imdb.com/Details?0265662
Written by: Mike Rich
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Brian Cox, Angus T. Jones, Beth Grant, Jay Hernandez, Chad Lindberg, Rick Gonzalez, Angelo Spizzirri, Royce D. Applegate, David Blackwell, Rebecca Spicher

[Bams' note: Many thanks to W. Scott Lewis for filling in the cast credits holes for me.]


Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002


(click here to skip to this movie's rating)


A "G" rating. Cute kids. A sports movie. Released early in the year - typically the armpit days of movie releases.

There was every reason in the world for me to not like The Rookie. Knock me down and call me crazy, but The Rookie scores a homer as a genuinely entertaining movie the whole family can enjoy.


THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Young Jimmy Morris, a baseball aficionado, had the misfortune of being the son of a travellin' Navy man; as a kid, his father Jim Morris, Sr. (Brian Cox) moved he and his mother Olline (Beth Grant) from place to place, never settling down for long. This played havoc on Jim's abilities to stick with one baseball team...and affected even the adult Jim (Dennis Quaid). Even after getting out from under his stern father's wing, Jim's dreams of making the majors was dashed early on, when he blew out his pitching arm in the minors.

Fast-forward a decade: Jim Morris, now a high school chemistry teacher, also coaches the school's baseball team in a Texas town where football, not baseball, is king. Morris - fighting apathy in kids like team captain Joaquin Campos (Jay Hernandez), catcher Joel Delagarza (Angelo Spizzirri), fielder Joe David Werst (Chad Lindberg), and pitcher Rudy Bonilla (Rick Gonzalez) - accepts a motivational challenge from his boys: they'd go from "worst to first" and make it to the District Championship, if Morris promises to let his fastball fly once again, by trying out for a major league team. They make the championships, keeping their promise. Will Jim?


THE UPSHOT
It's funny; all the things that gave me pause about The Rookie, seemed to work in its favor. Its "G" rating apparently made the cast and crew work harder to recreate a true story that was neither overly melodramatic nor simplistic. The kids were beyond cute - they were adorable, especially Hunter (Angus T. Jones) - but not annoyingly so. As a sports movie, it had more in common with The Natural than Field Of Dreams, but felt more genuine than either of them. And while the first few months of the year are generally the time when the bottom of the movie barrel is scraped, films like The Rookie are akin to the first signs of Spring. How apropos that this movie is being released just before the opening of a new baseball season.

The Rookie is pleasing on many levels: writer Mike Rich scribes just enough down-home folksiness to make its inhabitants interesting, but not so much as to make them look silly. Director John Lee Hancock exhibits an eye for the epic, without making it look as if he's trying too hard. Cast members Rachel Griffiths and Brian Cox (as Morris' wife and father), provide solid support, as do Jay Hernandez, Chad Lindberg, Rick Gonzalez, and Angelo Spizzirri as Morris' high school students. Along with young Mr. Jones, his cuddly co-star Rebecca Spicher as Jessica, and Royce D. Applegate and David Blackwell as townsfolk Henry and Cal, the supporting cast give the stalwart Dennis Quaid a firm foundation upon which to build his leading character. The older Quaid gets, the more interesting he becomes; and though he looks older than even the Oldest Rookie he portrayed, his skills as an actor make him seem ageless.

Here's hoping The Rookie becomes the hit it deserves to be; it's a rarity to see a G movie done so well, without the smarminess one comes to expect in a family film. Disney, it seems, has done it again; mad props to ya, "Walt".


BAMMER'S BOTTOM LINE
I hate to sound like a quote-grubbing cliche, but it's true: The Rookie is the feel-good movie of the year.


THE ROOKIE:   green

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL: bams@3blackchicks.com    ICQ: 7760005
http://www.3blackchicks.com/

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed week of 3/29/02):
Bams' reviews:
The Rookie | Death To Smoochy

The Diva's reviews:
Panic Room


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