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No consensus yet.
All Critics (17)
| Top Critics (2)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (3)
| DVD (5)
Barry Pepper is an amazing Maris look-alike, Thomas Jane manages to suggest the damage Mantle did to himself, and Richard Masur plays the sort of sportswriter I wanted to grow up to be...
While the script has its fair share of treacly moments intended to manipulate viewers into caring deeply for this duo, Billy Crystal's dream project about his beloved Yankees and one of their great chapters gets a heroic treatment in 61*.
A great baseball movie solidly directed by Billy Crystal. You can tell he's a Yankee fan, but also does not hesitate from showing the warts on some of his idols.
One of the best telemovies I've ever seen...simply sensational
...[features] two superb performances.
Baseball drama from director Billy Crystal has the graceful arc of a well-hit ball.
A superior baseball movie
Unexpectedly touching (and extremely well-acted) portrait of two baseball legends.
This film will play much better to die hard baseball fans than it will to non-devotees
Being a huge fan of baseball, but someone who was born much later than the 1961 Home run race, made 61* a real joy of a viewing experience for me. Not only is it a fascinating look at what it's like playing baseball every day for 162 games a year, but it provided perspective on the interesting relationship that players have with fans. I think even more so than the race itself, it was that dynamic that sold me on 61's story.
I think sometimes people forget that athletes and celebrities are humans too. Heck, even I find myself getting caught up in it all sometimes at these events and forget that these athletes have families and lives just like the rest of us. Sure, I loved watching the film explore Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris' power on the field, but it was fascinating to watch them go about their lives outside the diamond in an entirely different manner. I'm not sure how much of this movie is heightened or "Hollywood-ized", but that didn't really play into the determining factor for me. Personally, I feel as though 61* rivals some of the great sports movies in balancing on and off the field issues.
However, the film isn't without its flaws. 61* is a 2001 HBO movie made for TV, and I think that showed. The CGI, or lack thereof, was very noticeable, especially in the moments that needed to hit well. For example, I don't really need to see a slow-motion incredibly fake baseball coming towards my face before Roger smacks it out of the park. And I feel as though this movie had a tough time with the really big emotional and dramatic moments. Don't get me wrong, I like both Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane in the lead roles but I don't think their performances come close to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams or Robert Redford in The Natural. Not that they necessarily need to, but when the games are in their biggest moments, it felt like a TV production.
But as I said, this movie holds up incredibly well because of its content matter, especially now that baseball is desperately needing another HR race for its popularity. Plus, if we wipe away the guys who broke the record using steroids, Maris would still hold it with 61. It's actually remarkable what Maris was able to do at that particular stage of baseball, and considering he was never really able to recapture that power. So just for loving the game of baseball alone, 61* is worth a look.
"Stick to what you know" is advice often rendered to art students and for Mr. Billy Crystal of New York City that apparently is just the ticket as he produced and directed this affectionate nod to American baseball, and most particularly the homerun race between Yankees Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Barry Pepper). All in all the work is a nice memento of times gone by, such as when baseball was #1 in America.
Quality HBO film, great acting and screenplay. Only movie I've seen where Barry Pepper has a lead role, he's solid as balls.
What a wonderful movie! I was all "Awwww!" and "Noooo!" and "Yaaaay!" Full of exciting sports, devastating injuries, and heartwarming camaraderie.
Barry Pepper is hella sexy. I love the scene the night before the 61st, during which Maris talks to his wife in bed and gives her the the softest, most tender kiss.
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