November 08, 2008

Chief Bender in The Final Season

How did my posting on Chief Bender's ten commandments come about? Because I was watching The Final Season, a baseball movie starring Sean Astin and Powers Boothe. Kent Stock (Astin) is struggling to replace the great Jim Van Scoyoc as coach of the Norway High School baseball team. His girlfriend Polly Hudson (Rachael Leigh Cook) gives him an unexpected pep talk:

POLLY:  You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.

KENT:  Wow, Casey Stengel.

POLLY:  Chief Bender. Played for the Philadelphia Athletics about 100 years ago.

KENT (surprised):  I knew that.

It's only a passing reference, but how often does an Indian athlete get quoted in a major motion picture? This may be the first time it's happened.

Incidentally, I usually love an inspiring sports movies. Some of my favorite movies--Rudy, Hoosiers, The Rookie, Rocky and Rocky II, Field of Dreams, Remember the Titans, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Friday Night Lights, Radio, The Bad News Bears--have been about sports.

These movies generally follow a tried-and-true formula. I would've thought it difficult to screw it up and make a less-than-good sports movie. But The Final Season is genuinely mediocre. Almost every element falls flat.

If you're ever tempted to see The Final Season, see these other sports movies first. Rob's rating: 6.0 of 10.

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