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Knuckleball! (2012)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 678

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My Rating

Movie Info

Knuckleball! is the story of a few good men, a handful of pitchers in the entire history of baseball forced to resort to the lowest rung on the credibility ladder in their sport: throwing a ball so slow and unpredictable that no one wants anything to do with it. The film follows the Major League's only knuckleballers in 2011, Boston Red Sox Tim Wakefield and New York Met R.A. Dickey, as they pursue a mercurial art form in a world that values speed, accuracy, and numerical accountability. With

Apr 2, 2013

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September 20, 2012:
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This week at the movies, we've got an aging baseball scout (Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint...

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (1)

Nonfans, however, are about to find out exactly what the phrase inside baseball means.

March 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The sweet achievement of "Knuckleball!," Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's documentary about this quixotic pitch and the quixotic men who throw it, is that it gives both sides equal play.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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With elements of "Moneyball" and a twist of the narrative arm, this look at how Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey became knuckleball experts is a real kick.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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A first-rate sports documentary in any season.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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There's plenty of real drama in this movie without Stern and Sundberg having to pump it up.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
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Considers one of baseball's greatest quirks with good humor and a glancing touch.

September 19, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The charming Knuckleball finds something universal here, about obsession, talent, perseverance and, rarest of all, good sportsmanship.

May 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

Knuckleball! is more than enjoyable if you are a fan of the game of baseball. And while it wouldn't be an obvious win for the uninitiated, Wakefield and Dickey do not make it difficult for the viewer to cheer for them.

May 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

A microcosm of baseball itself, the knuckleball is a cruel, unpredictable thing.

May 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The knuckleball is something like the quintessence of baseball, the ineffable and the impossible, pursued again and again. The film makes this magic part especially visible, in slow motion sequences and archival game tapes, nostalgia and reverie.

March 11, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Watching R.A. Dickey become one of the biggest sports celebrities in New York was about as welcome a surprise as a knuckleball that floats and drops under the batter's swing.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

An uplifting documentary about perseverance and determination reminds us that the national pastime still offers old-school heroes.

September 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

For a film that's centered around such a silly-looking pitch, Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's documentary is packed with considerable drama.

September 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

This chronicle of two athletes throwing baseball's funkiest, least respected pitch is given depth by their stranger-than-fiction underdog status and camaraderie with mentors who've had the same struggles.

September 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Knuckleball!

While there there might be more informative documentaries than "Knuckleball!" it does have some good stories to tell that do not sugarcoat any of the pitchers' struggles while also stressing that baseball is more than just empty statistics, however gaudy they may be. In the case of Aroldis Chapman, extremely gaudy. At the other end of the velocity spectrum of pitchers comes quite possibility the last knuckleballers, Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey, who the documentary follows for the 2011 season. Since pitching is like real estate in that it is all about location, location and location, a knuckleball can be very effective despite its low relative velocity because not even the pitcher is sure of where it is exactly going. At its worst, the pitch does not move and you have batting practice which can give ulcers to managers and pink slips to pitchers. Explaining all of this well is knuckleball practitioners from the past including Jim Bouton and Tom Candiotti. And my favorite part of the documentary is a roundtable between Wakefield, Dickey, Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough, also a mentor to Dickey. While it is also fun to see old videos of the featured pitchers, the best part had yet to come for R.A. Dickey in his all-star 2012 season, just having won his 19th game of the season yesterday. That having been said, I would have liked to have seen more of the literature loving, subway riding and mountain climbing part of his personality that makes him sound so interesting.
September 23, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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