Off the Black Reviews
Director: James Ponsoldt
Summary: An unlikely bond forms between high school baseball pitcher Dave Tibbel (Trevor Morgan) and reclusive, ailing umpire Ray Cook (Nick Nolte) after Ray catches the youngster vandalizing his home. Ray offers to forgive Dave's debt if he'll pose as Ray's estranged son at an upcoming class reunion. Meanwhile, Dave contends with his withdrawn father (Timothy Hutton), who's been a wreck since his wife left him.
My Thoughts: "It's a sad film about two people who form a special bond with each other. They are both missing something in their lives. Ray, a relationship with his son, and Dave, a relationship with his father. So the pair have these father and son moments and then the relationship ends. Dave is saddened and asks the question "does everyone leave?", which really makes you feel bad for his character. It's a bit of a slow drama, but it develops well. Haven't seen Nick Nolte in a movie in quite a long time. I thought he was really great, and Trevor Morgan was great as well. Their relationship and characters were believable, and to some of us, relatable. Good movie all around."
Washington Post | Desson Thomson
Writer-director James Ponsoldt's film treats big subjects -- loneliness, coming-of-age and father-son relationships -- with such half-baked conviction, it's a wonder the screen doesn't redden with embarrassment. Which makes it all the more gratifying to watch Nolte pulverize the dramatic banality around him.
[font=Century Gothic]"Off the Black" is an exploration of why umpires are some of the most vilified people around. To be serious, it is about how wrong it is to blame one's problems on other people(like blaming a lost game on an umpire's decision), instead of accepting responsibility for one's life. And we should all shut off the television, get out of the house more and live life to its fullest but I could think of plenty of better things to do than attend a reunion.(Both Ray and Dave's father sit around and consume an unholy amount of beer.) In the end, Ray does not realize what he is missing until he knows he is dying. But it is ironic that a movie about life is so lifeless and flat, despite another rich performance from Nick Nolte.[/font]