Bull Durham Reviews
Ranked #5 on AFI's top 10 sports movies of all time.
There are a ton of movies based on America's Greatest Pastime - baseball - but few are as authentic as Bull Durham. This film is about a woman who is a die-hard fan of the minor league team the Durham Bulls. Every season she sleeps with one player, and they go on to have the best season of their career. This season a disgruntled 12 year veteran (Crash, played by Kevin Costner) is called down to mentor a young wild pitching prospect with a million dollar arm, but no brains (Nuke, played by Tim Robbins).
"From what I hear, you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a fucking boat."
Writer and Director Ron Shelton played minor league baseball for 5 years, and he used a lot of his personal experience as a basis for this story. Shelton delivers one of the most accurate portrayals of minor league baseball - both on and off the field. There was a scene where Costner caught a routine pop up foul as a catcher. Shelton said he added scenes like this because movies tend to ignore the every day plays in baseball. Shelton received an Oscar nomination for Screenplay, and he won numerous other smaller Screenplay Awards.
"Well, he fucks like he pitches - sorta all over the place."
Young Kevin Costner (33 years old) was great in this film. He delivered a strong performance that really catches the essence of disgruntled minor league vets. Tim Robbins was good as well in a bit of an unusual role for him. Susan Sarandon was brilliant as the temptress. She actually won a few Best Actress awards for this role.
Fun fact: Bull Durham is the movie where Robbins and Sarandon met, and our now married. They both have stated that of all the films they have made during their respective careers, this remains their personal favorite.
A wonderful timeless baseball classic that uses the diamond as merely a stage... the real story here is the reality of what takes place off the field. Both a sports movie and a romantic comedy, Bull Durham is a well-balanced, original tale that perfectly avoids typical sports cliches.
"Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.... Goodnight."
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: My left.
Crash Davis: Good! That's good; when you get in a fight with a drunk you don't hit him with your pitching hand. God, I can't keep giving you these free lessons so quit screwin' around and help me up.
A very funny sports/romantic comedy about a woman so devoted to a minor league team that she hooks up with one player a year to help out. Within this, two players get caught in the mix, one a older pro and the other an up-and-coming pitcher.
Annie Savoy: There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250... not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds.
Susan Surandon plays Annie, the women who involves herself in these player's lives. I think this is her best role. She is absolutely wonderful as a manipulator who finds herself both wanting to help the team and falling for a certain player.
Annie Savoy: Right, honey, let's get down to it. How was Ebby Calvin LaLoosh?
Millie: Well, he fucks like he pitches - sorta all over the place.
Tim Robbins is Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, the strong armed pitcher with controlled issues. He is also a bit dim but still enjoys playing the games, as well as getting devoted lovin' from Annie.
[hands crash a bat]
Ballboy: Get a hit Crash.
Crash Davis: Shut up.
Kevin Costner is Crash Davis, a long time minor league player who once played a bit of major league ball, but didn't last. Crash is recruited by the Durham Bulls to play as catcher and help "Nuke" be a better pitcher. During this time he becomes involved with Annie to an extent and begins facing his status as a great but older minor league player.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.
The movie was written and directed by Ron Shelton, who based this story on some of his own experience in the minor leagues. It works very well in terms of its handling of the plot and the very quotable dialog.
The main thing I enjoy was how this didn't follow many sport movie cliches. Most apparent being the fact that there is no big game that this movie leads up to. Its about the characters. Its not hard to see where the romance aspect of this film goes, but that is also very well handled. The movie is so good that I didn't even mind Costner.
This is a funny and well performed movie that achieves great balance between its sport and its romance.
[Larry jogs out to the mound to break up a players' conference]
Larry: Excuse me, but what the hell's going on out here?
Crash Davis: Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster?
Crash Davis: . We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.
[to the players]
Crash Davis: Is that about right?
[the players nod]
Crash Davis: We're dealing with a lot of shit.
Larry: Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em.
Filmed on location at the historic Durham Athletic Park and other locations in North Carolina.
Sarandon plays a muse for many a baseball player. Every season a bright player who needs a little direction is chosen to share time with Sarandon. Costner a very good seasoned player is then attracted to this off the wall lady...what a funny film.
This is nitpicky: Bull Durham is one of the better baseball movies of all time, and probably the original, best-laid trap when it comes to making a boyfriend watch a romantic comedy. (Without this movie, there would be no Jerry Maguire, for example.)