Mr. Baseball - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Baseball Reviews

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March 28, 2017
This movie is awesome. Tom plays one of his best role as a man out of his element in a different culture. I wont spoil it for anyone but the ending is excellently played. Can never complain about that stache or maine of chest hair either
October 29, 2016
Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck) is an aging American baseball player unsuspectingly put on the trading block during Spring Training in 1989 by the New York Yankees in favor of "rookie phenom" first baseman Ricky Davis, and there's only one taker: the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. Upon arrival in Japan, the arrogant Elliot clashes with the Japanese culture and the team's manager, and before long he alienates his new teammates. He believes the rules and management style of his new skipper, Uchiyama (Ken Takakura), are ludicrous, and continues to do things his way, which leads his already dwindling performance to suffer even more. His only ally on the team is another American ballplayer, Max "Hammer" Dubois (Dennis Haysbert), with whom he commiserates about his frustrations, but even Max becomes fed up with Jack's attitude and lack of respect for the game and his team. At the same time, Elliot develops a relationship with the beautiful Hiroko (Aya Takanashi), who is, he later learns, Uchiyama's daughter. After one too many outbursts, including knocking out his interpreter (during a brawl), Elliot is suspended from play. After meeting Hiroko's family, including Uchiyama, Uchiyama admits to Jack that he hired him over the objections of management (they wanted Pete Clifton from the Boston Red Sox) and now his own career, not just Jack's, is in jeopardy. After hearing this, Elliot swallows his pride and admits his deficiencies. Uchiyama becomes his mentor. In a rare show of humility, he apologizes to the team in Japanese and the team rallies around him and teaches him the value of sportsmanship and respect for hard work. Uchiyama lifts his suspension and begins to work with Elliot on improving his play. The reinvigorated Elliot's enthusiasm for team play is contagious and the mediocre Dragons become contenders for the Central League pennant...

Bill Diehl of ABC called Mr. Baseball "uproariously funny," while Steve Wille of Sports Illustrated glowed, "Tom Selleck deserves a baseball Oscar." Siskel and Ebert, in their review of the film, commented on its formulaic plot and lackluster writing, but also praised the film for its realistic crowd shots, direction, and Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack. Janet Maslin of The New York Times singled out Selleck's performance for praise, writing, "The character of Jack, whose being sent to Japan is the impetus for "Mr. Baseball," provides Mr. Selleck with something unusual: a movie role that actually suits his talents. Mr. Selleck's easygoing, self-deprecating manner works particularly well when he lets himself look silly, as he often does here."

At the first sight "Mr. Baseball" might look like "Major League" from 1989 and that sort of light sports comedy we have seen many times, but compared to the latter "Mr. Baseball" digs a bit into the study of American values contra Japanese values and each culture. The feeling of ending up in a culture you first of all don´t understand which makes you feel completely outside of everything, the struggle to work around it and the values of eventually becoming a part of the specific culture. The clash of cultures is nothing new either, but I reckon director Fred Schepisi manages to create a balance between being entertaining but also showing a deeper side within this comedy. It´s also about growing up and understanding the self and others as well. Yes, it is a clichéridden film, but you have to take it for what it is. This is the sort of film that really fits Tom Selleck and his acting skills. He is perfect as the arrogant and selfcentered Jack Elliot. The baseball scenes are quite good and realistic, the layers to the story are nice but yet subtle. All in all "Mr. Baseball" is entertaining and I would love to go to Japan in a near future.
½ August 17, 2016
Washed up baseball player finds himself playing in Japan in this typical sports comedy. Selleck seems stiff and sleepwalks his way through the boring melodramatic script.
May 30, 2016
Great movie. A bit of a stupid funny and if you know a little about baseball and how much its different in Japan that makes it even better!
April 7, 2015
When they add up all the great baseball movies this will be in the how not to list.
½ January 14, 2015
clone of Major League movie, but then major league takes the japan part in the second. still not as good as major league
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2015
In all honesty this movie looked very much like a 'Major League' clone judging by the title and poster, hell they even cast Dennis Haysbert who played the menacing Pedro Cerrano in that movie. So is this a crazy kamikaze comedy with over the top characters, wacky situations and foul language? well no actually.Believe it or not this is actually a sensible light-hearted romcom which showcases the cultural differences between Japan and their baseball traditions, and America and their baseball traditions.

Tom Selleck plays the obligatory aged fading baseball star who is transferred to Japan to play professional baseball whilst also becoming the clubs poster boy. Naturally Selleck's character is against this move and has a hard time getting to grips with the cultural differences both on and off the ballpark. Spoiler alert (as if you need it)...eventually he comes around with the help of his new love interest and helps the team...well I'm sure you can guess.

Yes the tale is a predictable one that has been covered by virtually every sports flick ever, but that's not the point of the movie. The main point here is providing an insight into Japanese culture and how they play and watch the game of baseball, its like the sport version of 'Lost in Translation'...almost. Just like that film this story delves deep into the Japanese traditions, routines and rituals that make up their sport, how the Japanese made baseball their own. This naturally provides many giggles with Selleck's big bold brash arrogant cowboy-like character stepping on many toes and accidentally insulting everyone or harking bad luck. Its not all giggles though as we see much of Nagoya and its surrounding areas, how Japanese people live in parts and indeed how they watch baseball...munching on bowls of noodle meals with lots of colourful fanfare mainly. Its actually very interesting and I enjoyed watching these segments, being interested in Japan helps I guess.

For me the one thing I didn't really like was Selleck's character. I realise this guy is suppose to be a cocky hotshot star player and the whole point of the movie is to have him be a jackass...but boy is he an unlikable jackass! He obviously doesn't take the Japanese game seriously and treats the players, staff, media and coach with disrespect, this of course sets up the plot twist midway through. But generally I found his character to be whiny, rude and obnoxious, he never even gives the Japanese culture a chance, he constantly takes the piss and ignores the rules. Now lets be serious here, I know this is just a movie but I think even the most arrogant player/person wouldn't really act like this from day one. Sure over time people could lose their rag under strange circumstances, under stress with different cultures in a foreign land, but I think most would give it a shot and at least be polite to a degree to start with sheesh!

The fact that he doesn't like anything about Japan and constantly moans about how he hates it even though he's a popular sports icon earning money just makes him unlikable in my book. Sure its a come down for this character but he's still treated like a star and everything is provided for him, not too shabby really.

Anywho apart from the bitchy Jack Elliot (Selleck) the other cast members are very good and add much gravitas to this soppy tale. The best of these easily being Ken Takakura as the cliched hard nosed team coach who must put up with Elliot's sulky behaviour. Think of this guy as a Mr. Miyagi type character, he doesn't say much, grunts a lot, looks very serious and stern all the time, hides a few tricks and in the end wins your heart (much more so than Selleck's character). The film isn't as cliched as you'd think at times, there is the slimy ponytailed agent of Elliot who you'd swear blind will turn out to be the bad guy and somehow screw Elliot over...well you'd be wrong.

Its definitely a solid movie and its nice to see baseball through the eyes of another country even though there aren't too many outside of the US to choose from. The baseball sequences are visually pleasing and realistic whilst the action is as you would expect with lows followed by a training montage and then highs. The final scene gives you a reasonable adrenaline boost as the entirely predictable plot unravels before your eyes. Relaxing fun from the land of the rising sun, its just a shame about the main character being a complete douche.
September 27, 2014
Having actually grown up in Nagoya and having been a fan of the Chunichi Dragons, this movie holds a special place in my heart. It gives a decent effort to show how complicated it is for a MLB player to actually play in Japan and also shows how fanatical are about their national pastime. First half is definitely a 5 for me and the second falls to a 3 based on the plot. Overall this is one of my favorite baseball movies.
September 12, 2014
I watched this movie years ago and from what I remember, I enjoyed it. I plan to add it to my collection. The negative reviews seem like unnecessary rantings.
August 16, 2014
(First and only viewing - Late teen years)
½ June 14, 2014
I don't care if isn't the best movie, I love tom selleck and I enjoyed this flick; I could be biased for having seen it when I was a child, though.
½ June 7, 2014
Terrible. Tom Selleck has the worst acting performance in history. The fact that MLB Network still plays this movie is pitiful, as the plot is awful, the acting is awful, the writing is worse. There is nothing, nothing about this movie that I enjoy. The fact that I can't give negative stars is currently getting to me because I would give it lower than anything. This movie was pure torture.
April 9, 2014
Love Japan an this movie!!!
February 14, 2014
Tom Selleck is a great baseball player in this film!
½ April 2, 2013
Fish out of water baseball film starring one of my favorites, TS. He is let down by a poor story, and even his charm cannot make this a winner.
February 20, 2013
It was gr8, good movie only if you know the game.
February 16, 2013
Good idea...poorly executed.
October 30, 2012
Reasonably entertaining. Quite funny at times, but, unfortunately, also mostly predictable and not a little bit cheesy. Good fun, overall.
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