Skip to main content

The Natural (1984)

The Natural. Feature film. (1984, 134 mins) IMDB

...a little too Hollywood and sweet for my liking...

A

young boy growing up on a farm shows he has a strong throwing arm and can hit the ball. He's a natural baseball talent. As a young man he gets a tryout with Chicago Cubs and begins the journey to the big leagues. Before he leaves, he makes love to his sweetheart. On the train trip he meets a newspaper sports reporter and Babe Ruth. During a pit stop, a challenge is set. Strike out Ruth with three pitches. He does. The legend has begun except there's a major bump in the road. He meets a sexy woman on the train. At a hotel later, he goes to her room where she shots him with a handgun. What the!?!

Flashforward sixteen years. Our hero gets a tryout with a struggling NY major league team. He's 36 years old and has virtually no baseball experience. That's an odd story. It just doesn't happen. The manager and team don't want him, but he sticks around long enough to get a chance to prove he belongs and he does. He becomes a regular player in the three spot--their best hitter. The team starts winning games because of his hitting. They climb in the standings. The attendance goes up.

That's the first half of the story. Enter the dark part.

The manager is part owner of the team. The judge is the other owner. There's a deal in place: if the team finishes first in the NL, the judge has to sell his interest to the manager. If they don't, the manager is out.

With the help of our hero, the possibility of the finishing first is good. Enter a bookmaker and femme fatale to destroy that outcome. When she seduces him, he becomes so screwed up from sex, he can't hit. If he's not hitting, the team isn't winning.

Enter bribes from the judge and pressure from the bookmaker to take a dive and let the team lose. He won't do that.

He's saved when his childhood sweetheart enters the picture. They haven't seen each other since the day he left his father's farm. She's living in Chicago. Single mother. Working. The child is his. When she's in the stands, his hitting is back.

The climax builds to a playoff game to decide who finishes first. His late inning home run clinches the deal. They win. It's his last game in the majors.

Why? The bullet was still in him and damaged his stomach. Playing might result in a rupture and death. It doesn't matter because he goes back to the farm with the golden fields of wheat and blue sky to play catch with his son and his girl. He gets something he didn't ask for. He wanted to break all the records and be famous. He didn't get that.

I watched this film a number of years ago knowing it was a "classic." When it was over, I wondered why and asked, is that all? I ask the same questions this time. Is that all there is?

Maybe if you're a baseball fan, you'll love this movie. I suppose, but I loved BULL DURHAM and this film isn't the same.

This film never draws me in emotionally. Not once am I routing for this or that. I'm just watching and wondering when it will end.

Posted 2009/06/04 at 21h01ET in Movie Commentary.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Day 109: Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Hold

Sunday, March 6, 2017 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 18:47 Office ... I barely remembered anything about this story... H as it really been three months? I guess it has. I put it out of my mind [so much so] that I barely remembered anything about this story. Not even the title. [Unreal!!!!!!] I had the general premise and an ending—enough I thought for a novel. What I lacked was a determination and desire to want to write it. Why bother… I wasn’t enjoying the process and I had no reason to believe the result wouldn’t be anything more than what’s gone before—nothing.
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page. Follow me on twitter. Posted 2017/04/14 at 14h02ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel

Words: Fairy—Ferry

Thursday, September 6, 2012
A homonym.
FAIRY—A fairy tale. A fairy godmother. Fairy—not a long, long way to run.
FERRY—A boat or ship to transport drunken Swedes back home from Copenhagen. It’s the Danish beer.
Fairy Ferry Samantha the Swimming Fairy by Daisy Meadows Evening Ferry by Katherine Towler
Posted 2012/09/06 at 5h02ET in Words, Writing.

Day 2: Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Hold

Friday, November 18th, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments. ... There’s also poetic justice for this crew for what they did to the women they kept.... I t’s still Friday to me. [Writing early Saturday morning.] I wasn’t in bed until 6h and up at 14h. Then lots of errands. Lots of walking. Felt tired earlier—something different. I haven’t spent much time thinking about this story. I seemed to have put my mind into another lane. Not what I want. I was thinking too much about my future as a successful writer. Not simply being a writer, but a successful writer. One that makes a good living off or from it. That’s a better goal. So what to say about this story. No title. Oh. I did decide on something. She can’t die. Too much of a downer. That would seem to rule out a revenge aspect by the husband. Maybe she does it. These guys [the baddies] have to get it in the end. I was thinking about how she wants to sink the s…