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This highly rated independent production was written years before Bull Durham, and though it covers much of the same territory, it is considered worth seeing in its own right. In the story, Roy Dean Bream (William Russ) is too old to be part of his minor-league baseball team's cultural mainstream. In short, he's often ignored, derided, or treated to the worst or last of everything, like any other outcast. Tyrone (Glenn Plummer) is so young that it gives the same teammates who shun Roy the willies and reminds them that they too are getting older -- so he's an outcaste, too. What could be more natural than for these two men to seek one another out. It doesn't matter that the older man is white, the younger is black. They both love the game, and Roy has been around the block a few times and has plenty to teach Tyrone. When the time comes for Roy to be sent to retirement, everyone holds their breaths to see how he will react. It's a pity they didn't get to know him better, or they would know that this kind, generous man wishes them all well. … More
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Critic Reviews for Pastime
Plays an honorable game, tackling the touchy subject of ageism on the baseball field. But it's ultimately a hollow attempt, one that thinks that just by touching on a subject that it makes up a plot.
Pastime is a thoughtfully made and intimate drama about a veteran relief pitcher for a class D professional team who turns to mentoring a younger player as his way of saluting the sport he loves.
Great film on minor league baseball in a different time.
Audience Reviews for Pastime
An aging pitcher takes a promising African-American hurler under his wing in the minor leagues.
The title of this film is a pun: baseball is America's pastime and the main character is past his time. I'm not saying the pun is clever or that I like it; I'm just saying I notice it.
The film is compelling because William Russ gives a good performance in the leading role, but that's about all I can say for it. Set in the fifties, the film ignores or glosses over the racial realities of baseball at the time. Yes, Tyrone is persona non grata in the clubhouse, but that's the extent of the racial tension he has to face though Jackie Robinson's reality showed a treatment quite different than what Tyrone deals with. Also, the baseball action is as realistic as baseball action is in most films, excepting 61* and Sugar. The pitchers don't warm up, the hitters don't work counts, and players mostly either strike out or hit home runs.
The characters are bluntly drawn, especially Inez who has no inner life of her own and serves the plot only as a mild romantic interest. Tyrone is meek, but we don't where he comes from or why he is driven to succeed in the game. The exposition revealing the owner's backstory is from the "How to Not Do Exposition" manual.
Overall, even for baseball fans Pastime is a poor effort.
Now a lot of you movie fans will read this synopsis and immediately draw several allusions to the 1988 Baseball classic Bull Durham with Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins. It should be noted that Pastime did indeed come out a few years after Durham but the story Pastime is adopted from was written long before Durham was made.
That being said I think I like Bull Durham better even though I like this film taking place in the tail end of the 50‚≤s and have the relationship take place with and older white guy and a young African American kid just starting out at a time when Baseball was still getting through its bigoted phase.
The movie has a very ‚indy‚? feel to it while also doing enough work to make it feel like the the 50‚≤s. And telling a minor league ball story from this era is a cool hook (one that got me watching in the first place). The performances are pretty good as well. The cast is mostly made up of character actors and are somewhat familiar but no big names unless you count Jeffery Tambor (Arrested Development).
The movie also plays with traditional movie tropes that you are use to seeing in sports films like this. I won‚(TM)t go into spoiler territory but for example Roy-Dean made it to the majors but he was never a great player that just got hurt or too old like in so many others. He was up for one game and gave up a grand slam and never saw the prime time again. He wasn‚(TM)t MLB material and he just sat around in the minors until he couldn‚(TM)t hack it there either, but even though he didn‚(TM)t have the tools he had the knowledge and tried to pass it on even though he was the proverbial punching bag on his team.
For its good it also had moments where the movie just didn‚(TM)t feel complete to me, like it was missing something, maybe more character development or back story would have really sucked me in more. It is a good movie that deserves a look especially if you enjoy Baseball!
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