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   BULL DURHAM (1988) 

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CAST
Kevin Costner
Susan Sarandon
Tim Robbins
Robert Wuhl
Trey Wilson
William O'Leary
David Niedorf
Rick Marzan
Jenny Robertson

DIRECTED BY
Ron Shelton

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 115 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy/Romance/Baseball

Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.


Who'd have believed that baseball – for many one of the most boring sports to watch – could be funny or sexy. Lucky for us, BULL DURHAM is both, hitting a cinematic home run – the first for a film about the national pastime. Though the film is mainly about the relationships between it's three main characters – Annie, a lifelong baseball groupie; Crash Davis, a catcher on his last legs and Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh, a young pitcher just starting out – it hits many of its comic high notes on the field.

The film opens at the beginning of the Triple A baseball season in a small North Carolina town. Crash, played by Costner, is forcibly "recruited" away from his old team to teach the new pitcher Nuke how to play the game with style and pitch like a major leaguer. He's none to happy because Nuke is a dim-bulb who thinks he already knows what it takes to get to "the show." Nuke learns quickly, through some embarrassing incidents on the field, that Crash is the boss. Both take instant notice of Annie, a local legend of sorts who takes players under her wing and teaches them a little something of her own.

She and Crash have an immediate attraction, but once she committs herself to Nuke – he seems to need her help more – she refuses his advances. Of course, that doesn't stop Crash from trying. The film follows the season, which has its good and bad moments – the team plays well when Nuke listens to Crash and sucks when he doesn't. Crash does his best to impart his wisdom to Nuke about what to expect when he gets to the "Show" and Annie does the same, though her methods are a little on the unusual side. Both are working on the same job, though they take care not to step on each other's toes. The sexual tension between the three comes to a head when Nuke, on a winning streak, refuses to sleep with Annie until he loses, believing that channeling his sexual energy into his pitching is helping him win.


"Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don't you think?"

When Annie learns that Crash is encouraging this silliness, she confronts him only to be silenced by his reply, "A player should always respect the streak." Knowing he's right, and frustrated to the end of her rope, she propositions Crash. He refuses, wanting her to come to him when she really means it. It's only a matter of time before Annie and Crash get together. The heat between them could melt butter, culminating in a one in a million evening, not to be duplicated in the real world. They have finally found someone to spend the off-season with. The night they spend together is fun, romantic, honest and passionate...and exceeds viewer expectations.

BULL DURHAM is a hilarious, sweet and sexy film that uses the talent of its three stars to their best advantage. They work so well together, it's like a comic ballet. Everyone is having fun here and it shows. Though you want Costner and Sarandon to get together, Robbins makes Nuke so stupidly charming you can't help but love him. He can't exactly compete with Costner in the long term, but he provides a very fun and funny diversion. Plus, every minute Sarandon spends with him, builds the tension for the finale. The screenplay is sharp, witty and sexy. The baseball sequences a joy to watch. The film crackles with unrestrained energy and unresolved attraction. It's rare to find a film made for adults that's funny, romantic and something both men and women can enjoy. Even though it's about baseball, it's anything but boring.


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