Trouble with the Curve,” Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, the newest movie by Producer, Director, and Film Legend Clint Eastwood, is in theaters now. The film centers around soon to be retired Atlanta Braves baseball scout Gus Lobel, and his daughter Mickey, who is prompted to accompany him on his last scouting mission, and Johnny “The Flame” Flanagan, a former baseball prospect that Gus signed years ago.
The plot line is not too predictable, and goes something like this. Long time Atlanta Braves senior scout Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is in the twilight of his career, and his eyesight is failing him badly. Upstart computer era baseball scout Tom Silver, portrayed by Matthew Gillard, has gotten the General Manager’s ear with regards to putting Gus out to pasture, and has the GM believing that he knows more than the salty veteran baseball scout Gus.
Everyone involved can see that Gus has some sort of a health issue going on, as he in grumpier than usual. So much so that his boss Pete Klein, portrayed by veteran actor John Goodman, checks in on him, and asks his daughter Mickey, portrayed wonderfully by 3 time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams, to escort him to what may be his final scouting job, as his contract is expiring soon, and Tom is pushing the GM to oust him.
The Braves have the # 2 pick in the upcoming baseball draft, and if the Boston Red Sox don’t take the player that Gus is sent to North Carolina to scout, Bo Gentry, portrayed by Joe Massingill, the Braves want to pick him, provided he is worthy of a # 2 pick, as scouted by Gus and Tom, who already thinks the stats in his computer make the kid the obvious choice.
Along the way we find Johnny “The Flame” Flanagan, portrayed believably by Justin Timberlake, a washed up prospect that Gus signed several years back to the Braves, who traded him to the Red Sox, who overused him and promptly blew out his arm. They have installed him as their scout, with the promise of a job in the broadcast booth the next year, if he doesn’t blow this assignment.
Gus rails against Mickeys help, telling her to leave at every turn, Mickey is trying to regain her Fathers love and affection, as her Mother died when she was 6 and Gus sent her to live with her aunt and uncle. Johnny is falling for Mickey, and she is falling for him in return. All this while Gus is trying to salvage his career, and stay on as a scout for the game he loves, baseball.
One might even make the stretch and say this movie is somewhat of a love story. A man’s love of the game, a daughters unrequited love for her absent Father, and Johnny’s love for Mickey, which is consummated in a touching scene on a lake in North Carolina, near the town where all the action is taking place. Then there is the scene, most of which hit the cutting room floor, where Gus takes a six pack and a glass, and visits his deceased wife’s grave.
After pouring her a glass of beer, he raises a toast to her, and begins talking to the headstone as if it where her, similar to what he did at the RNC with the empty chair, but everyone gets it this time. There were a few touching moments, and Eastwood even wept, but alas, the scene was cut short. Better to keep Clint’s new image as a crotchety old man.
Eastwood has made a good grumpy, crotchety old man, ever since his movie Gran Torino, and has done such a good job of becoming one, that he has earned a seat in the balcony on Sesame Street Theater, with the 2 old grouchy guys that normally sit there. He was one of the best spaghetti western bad guy turned good guy earlier in his career, then the bad ass cop in the Dirty Harry movie series, and now the grouchy old man, it would appear.
The premise of the movie is nothing to write home about, but the acting is fantastic. Eastwood is his old self, and Amy Adams may get a best actress nod for her portrayal of the spurned daughter turned Lawyer. John Goodman seems like the veteran of old, and Justin Timberlake is extremely believable as Johnny “The Flame” Flanagan. The rest of the cast comes off as likeable and totally engaged in their parts.
So I would recommend seeing this movie, as it is a must see in my opinion.
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Movie review by Jim Donahue.