Bull Durham

Year: 1988
Production Co: The Mount Company
Director: Ron Shelton
Writer: Ron Shelton
Cast: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarondon, Tim Robbins, Robert Wuhl

When Moneyball was in cinemas I heard a few reports that included the words 'greatest baseball movie ever' and Bull Durham was always included.

I think people's memories of it might be clouded by nostalgia, the same ways Costner's other big hit of the day – The Untouchables – was. Apart from the still-impressive railway staircase shootout, most of De Palma's mob classic is badly dated and kind of cringeworthy now, and I sat through similar corny scripting and hammy performances wondering when the brilliance I'd heard about was going to show through here.

The biggest problem was that I had no idea what it was about. Was it the story of washed up former pro Crash (Costner), a name that self consciously screams 'look how cool I am'? Was it about Annie (Sarandon, as sexy as ever), who appears to be a baseball groupie and spends every season selecting an up and coming player to shag before he leaves for the big leagues? Or was it about the cocky but dumb Calvin (Robbins, never looking younger or gawkier), floundering with a far more experienced player and a far more experienced lover while he tries to consolidate and control his talent as a pitcher?

Or was it all three, or none? I was really confused about the character of Annie – was she somehow officially connected with the league or was she just a hanger on who took notes at every game and loved sex? And did she want Crash or Calvin? And was it supposed to be a romantic comedy or a romantic drama with a few laughs? The script was just too unfocussed and the technical and creative arts behind the camera too out of date for it to be very enjoyable.

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