Trouble with the Curve
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Trouble with the Curve -- a carefully rendered portrait of a baseball scout (Clint Eastwood) facing the possible end of his career -- pulls no punches in portraying what life on the road can do to a father and his daughter. Expect some intense conversation about past disappointments and tragedies, as well as lots of beer drinking, some profanity (including one "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch"), kissing/flirting, and one intense fight. Teen baseball fans may enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at talent scouting, but the themes are likely to resonate most with adults.
What's the story?
Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) may just be the best scout that baseball's ever seen. He can tell whether a pitcher is golden by the sound that the ball makes when it hits a glove. He can tell whether a hitter is worth a contract by how his arm looks at rest. Consider him, if you will, the baseball player whisperer. Gus has worked for the Atlanta Braves for decades, but in life -- especially in fatherhood -- his batting average is in the dumps. His lawyer daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), can't climb over the wall that's wedged between them, even though each has been all the other has had since Gus' wife died when Mickey was just 6. Meanwhile, the business of baseball is changing, and the Braves' management is under pressure to cave to the "modern" way of assessing picks: via computers and statistics. And it definitely doesn't help that Gus' eyes might be failing. Is this his last strike?
Is it any good?
The best baseball movies mimic the poetry and thoughtfulness of the game, mixing the thrill of a strike with the languor of waiting for the bases to be loaded. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE hits these marks and then some, exploring not just the intricacies of the game -- why a drifting arm might spell doom, for instance -- but also those of a trenchant father-daughter relationship that deserves mending. Eastwood is (no surprise) pitch-perfect as curmudgeonly sage, but it's Adams who surprisingly, mightily stands up to the icon, mixing grit and vulnerability like a champ. Justin Timberlake shows up in a supporting romantic role, which, though inoffensive and even somewhat charming, seems unnecessary except to forward the plot.
The movie's flashbacks edge on stagey, and the most powerful moments are sometimes muted, which is a shame. But fans of the stars and the sport may be able to overlook these digressions. Trouble with the Curve is no home run, but it's on its game nonetheless.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how the movie presents the central father-daughter relationship. Is it realistic? Understandable? How do Gus and Mickey compare to other movie fathers and daughters?
Is Gus a good father? What is the movie saying about fatherhood (and/or parenthood in general)?
Baseball movies often seem rife with life lessons. Why do you think that is? Do you have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a movie about it?
|Theatrical release date:||September 21, 2012|
|DVD release date:||December 18, 2012|
|Cast:||Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake|
|Topics:||Sports and martial arts, Great girl role models|
|Run time:||111 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking|