Parents' Guide to

Off the Black

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Nolte is a flawed mentor in uncertain indie drama.

Movie R 2006 92 minutes
Off the Black Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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If you can imagine The Bad News Bears strictly pared down to the irascible, pickled, washed-up coach's relationship to one player, it might look something like this. Notoriously hard-living actor Nolte plays nicely off newcomer Morgan. Their banter sustains viewer interest despite an absence of baseball action, supporting characters who come and go arbitrarily, and a sort of question mark hanging over the whole production.

OFF THE BLACK takes its title from baseball slang meaning just outside the strike zone. In other words, a near miss -- kind of like the movie itself. Writer-director James Ponsoldt's wistful little drama doesn't quite manage to be convincing, but it might just inspire some useful conversations. Exactly what life lessons is Dave getting from Ray? Or is it Ray -- a victim of multiple bad choices in a tumultuous life -- who's getting a final-inning redemption via genuinely fatherly moments with a kid who needs some, even if they come from a badly flawed person? Maybe writer-director Ponsoldt is deciding not to preach the obvious, even if what results is kind of a moral muddle.

Movie Details

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