Quick synopsis: Gus (Clint Eastwood) is an aging baseball scout that has had a great track record and is on to seek a prospect for the Braves in the upcoming draft. His eyesight is starting to fail him and his colleague, a former scout now team executive (John Goodman) suggests that Gus’ overworked lawyer daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) accompany Gus on this scouting trip. There Mickey hopes to mend a broken relationship with her father while she tries to balance her own problems in life.
So I came into the theater having high expectations for the movie. After all, I love baseball and I enjoy Clint Eastwood. But after watching this movie, I don’t think this was much of a baseball movie. Baseball was the backdrop to a story that featured more of Gus and his daughter Mickey bonding together for the first time in their lives.
But there were some good baseball notions to it. It actually debunked everything “Moneyball” was about — that computers can’t determine a player’s worth. You have to see it, hear and and believe it. And there goes the current state of scouting — which approach works best?
Anyway, back to the movie. As mentioned, baseball is the backdrop to this movie. Eastwood plays the role he plays best: a grumpy old man that likes the way he operates and no one else can tell him different. That’s what happens to him when his eyesight starts to give away and Pete (John Goodman) and Mickey try to convince him to get it checked out.
Despite all the cheesy moments in the film that’s supposed to gut at your heart, with the deep music and emotional scenes, the story is nice — albeit a story I’ve seen before. But fortunately enough, you continue to watch because you hold on hope that they both get it right.
It’s unfortunate that the movie required more characters. The story could have been told with just Gus and Mickey’s character, but there had to be a third one to help detract Mickey from her constant focus on work. That’s where Justin Timberlake’s character comes in. He plays Johnny, a former baseball pitcher that was scouted by Gus but an injury forced him into the scouting business. He’s just there and I don’t feel like he needed to be.
The problem with his character is that it’s played by Timberlake. Timberlake is not a good actor. He isn’t a character in any of the movies. You can feel that he’s just acting. And in his bad acting, you still feel like you don’t trust him. I wouldn’t trust my daughter to be alone in a room with a guy like Timberlake, despite the movie’s character being the total opposite.
Overall, if you’re a baseball fan expecting a huge baseball story, you’ll get some of it here and there but this movie isn’t really about it. I will give Adams and Goodman props for a job well done in the movie and delivering us characters that seemed believable and trustworthy. They help tell that story of a father trying to do what’s right for the first time in his life, hoping to still maintain his dignity as a scout.
It’s a good movie and I think you’ll enjoy it. I won’t endorse the movie as a top notch film this year, but I wouldn’t imagine anyone not feeling good about the journey that the father and daughter go through. Adding to the fact that baseball was what held them together makes this a great sports film that really didn’t focus that much about baseball.
I’ll give it 3.5 stars out of five, but since it’s a baseball movie that involved Clint Eastwood, I’ll bump it up to four.