Off the Black

Critics Consensus

Nick Nolte shines in his role as an irascible high school umpire, imbuing this indie coming-of-age dramedy with heft and true-to-life warmth.



Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,847
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Movie Info

In this coming-of-age story, teenager Dave Tibbel copes with his own distant father by forming an unlikely friendship with a disheveled, irascible high school umpire, Ray Cooke. As they grow more dependent on each other, Ray asks Dave to go to his 40th high school reunion and pretend to be his son, a benevolent act of deception that winds up opening unexpected dimensions in the two men.


Nick Nolte
as Ray Cook
Timothy Hutton
as Mr. Tibbel
Trevor Morgan
as Dave Tibbel
Sonia Feigelson
as Ashley Tibbel
Sally Kirkland
as Marianne Reynolds
Noah Fleiss
as Todd Hunter
Johnathan Tchaikovsky
as Paul Michaels
Jonathan Tchaikovsky
as Paul Michaels
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Critic Reviews for Off the Black

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (15)

Audience Reviews for Off the Black

  • Jul 27, 2010
    Cast: Nick Nolte, Trevor Morgan, Marlyne Afflack, Timothy Hutton, Rosemarie DeWitt, Noah Fleiss, Sally Kirkland 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 Meanwhile, Dave contends with his withdrawn father (Timothy Hutton), who's been a wreck since his wife left him.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."
  • Apr 20, 2008
    Solid story, compelling presentation. However the acting was just dull, I thought Nolte would make a considerable difference, but he didn't add much. <b>Washington Post</b> | Desson Thomson <i>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.</i>
    ?? ? Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]"Off the Black" starts with Dave(Trevor Morgan) walking in the winning run in a high school baseball game umpired by Ray(Nick Nolte), a 57-year old who works at a junkyard and lives with his bulldog. That night, Dave and two of his friends vandalize and toiletpaper Ray's house but Ray catches Dave in the act while his two friends get away.(But Dave is a good kid. Trust me. He lives with his father(Timothy Hutton) and younger sister, Ashley(Sonia Feigelson).) Ray promises to let the prank go on the condition that Dave accompany him to his 40th high school reunion and pretend that he is his son.[/font] [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]
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 19, 2007
    coming of age drama as a kid whos not sure what he wants in life befriends a basebal coach, in his league, hes down and out, and a piss head, so the 2 bond, oviously not a original film at all, seen many times before, but good performances especially nolte, as his grizzly old man routine, some good acting all round, a sunday afternoon tv movie at best, but thats not a bad thing
    scott g Super Reviewer

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