HTF REVIEW: "The Rookie" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 15, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Rookie

    Studio: Disney
    Year: 2002
    Rated: G
    Film Length: 128 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

    It's never too late to believe in your dreams.
    Leave it to Disney to make a movie that pulls on
    as many emotional strings as it can and succeed
    at doing so. Such is the case with its recent
    release of The Rookie, based on the true
    story of a major league wash out who gets another
    shot at the big leagues.
    Jimmy Morris (Trevor Morgan) hasn't had an easy
    life. Growing up the son of a work obsessed Navy
    CPO (Brian Cox) who is constantly moving the family
    from one place to another has diminished his dreams
    of becoming a baseball player. He gets very little
    support from his father whose not even there for
    Jimmy's Little League debut as a pitcher who
    strikes out 13 players.
    Nonetheless, Jim (Dennis Quaid) follows his dream
    and plays in the minor leagues until a shoulder
    injury ends his brief career. He settles down as
    a high school baseball coach and chemistry teacher
    in a small Texas town. This high school team is
    sort of an amusement and inspiration for Jim, as
    this rag tag team tries hard, but never seems to
    win any games.
    One day Jim makes a bet with his team. If the
    team comes together and wins the district
    championship, he will try out for a major league
    team again. The kids are inspired by the
    greatness they see in Jim, and go on to fulfill
    their end of the bargain.
    The second half of the film deals with Jim
    fulfilling his end of the bargain when at the
    age of 35 he becomes the unlikeliest of heroes --
    the second-oldest rookie in Major League baseball.
    This story is effectively and triumphantly brought
    to the screen mainly in thanks to Mike Rich's
    screenplay and the superb performance of Dennis
    Quaid who brings much sincerity to the role.
    How is the transfer?
    The transfer comes across with stunning clarity
    that isn't marred with any film grain, noise, or
    blemish. Picture is a little soft, but benefits
    from its warmness. Colors are absolutely dead-on
    accurate -- especially in the facial tones of its
    characters. You can rest assure that all the
    beautiful colors of baseball are faithfully brought
    out from the deep greens of the outfield grass to
    the vivid reds and yellows of the player's uniforms
    to the deep red stitching of the baseball.
    The 5.1 Digital Surround track is about average.
    The film's soundtrack is evenly distributed amongst
    the 5 channels, with the front channels taking on
    most of the burden in providing very robust and
    bass-heavy delivery. There is much emphasis
    put on the sound of a cracking bat, the woosh
    of air and a deep firm thud as the ball slaps the
    mitt. The film's diverse musical track with the
    sounds of Elvis, Willie Nelson and Duane Jarvis
    come through clearly with toe-tapping bass. The
    rear channels seem to provide the least amount of
    support only adding the occasional sounds of
    wind in the film's opening moments and the roar
    of a baseball crowd in the film's later moments.
    Special Features
    The DVD contains a full-length commentary
    by Dennis Quaid and Director John Lee Hancock.
    You can tell that the Director has a real love
    for his film, talking about the realistic look
    he wanted to give -- especially for the small
    Texas town this film takes place in. The
    Director does most of the talking here, pointing
    out all the little side action that may be missed
    if you don't look fast enough. He talks about
    the people he selected to play the towns people
    and the importance of making them look real
    instead of cartoonish. Both Quaid and Hancock
    recall some of their own memories of growing up
    and how this film reminded them of those special
    times in their lives. Quaid tells a very funny
    story about how he had to goad one of the baseball
    players, Angus, into dancing in the locker scene.
    This is an extremely personal commentary by a
    Director who truly loved the project, and gives
    an extremely detailed account of what he was striving
    for from his actors and production designers.
    Meet the real rookie, Jim Morris, in The
    inspirational story of Jim Morris which is
    the true story of a high school coach who made it
    to the big leagues. We travel to Big Lake Texas
    as cast members, filmmakers and even former
    Owl players talk about the game of baseball in
    that town. Writer Mike Rich talks about coming
    to the town in search of a story and what finally
    inspired him through that search. Jim Morris
    and his Mother Ollie recall the dream that started
    when he was a child. Through interviews with
    scouts, sports agents and trainers we learn of
    Jim's rise to the major leagues. Standing in a
    ballpark where it all happened, Jim re-enacts some
    of the finest moments in his life against archived
    footage of his actual game. His story inspired
    many, including those who wanted to buy the rights
    to his story, put his life into words and eventually
    make this film. This is a terrific documentary that
    is as inspiring as the film itself.
    (length: approx. 20 minutes)
    Any kid who is interested in improving his or her
    game will be greatly interested in Spring Training
    Baseball Tips. Baseball coordinator Mark Ellis
    gives some sure-fire tips on pitching, catching,
    infielding, outfielding and hitting. A bonus
    tip humorously covers signaling as well as the
    proper way to dress your hot dog with mustard.
    Director John Lee Hancock personally introduces
    each of the 7 deleted scenes presented
    on this DVD. These scenes include:
    * A young jimmy floating in the pool complaining
    about all the places he has had to move to and from.
    * A nightly beer baseball league game where
    Jimmy gives the pitch that ultimately scores a
    run for the other team.
    * A scene where Jimmy drops one of his players
    off at home sort of shows how caring of a coach
    he is.
    * As the sun sets upon an empty field, Jimmy
    shares a final moment with his son.
    All of these deleted scenes are relatively short,
    but in all total 17.43 minutes. The Director
    explains that the scenes were cut primarily
    due to time restraints as well as some negative
    reaction from screener audiences.
    Final Thoughts
    Though The Rookie has been done many times
    over as one of those cliche'd overly inspirational
    Hollywood films, perhaps this one will pull it off
    for its potential young audience who will no doubt
    watch it with the same dreams that Jim Morris had
    as a young boy.
    Disney has done a very nice job putting together
    a DVD package whose supplements will entertain both
    kids and adults alike.
    Worth a purchase.
    Release Date: August 27, 2002
  2. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

    Jul 27, 2001
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    I just may pick this puppy up. I have heard nothing but good things about this film. I rarely blind purchase titles but I am tempted with this one.

    Thanks again Ron.

  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
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    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    A word of support for the transfer.

    We ran The Rookie at the theater I work at and it was a tiny bit soft.
  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
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    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    It is a warm and sweet movie. I took my 2 daughters to see it back in the Spring during a "sneak Peek". I think they were expecting Remember the Titans pacing as this was much slower and methodical. It's a nice family movie and one that I will definitely purchase.
    Nice review Ron. [​IMG]
  5. Eric Fisher

    Eric Fisher Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 22, 2002
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    I really liked this film. I'm going to pick it up.
  6. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

    Jan 16, 2002
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    Real Name:
    Bryan Tuck
    I have to agree on the quality of the movie. It was so nice to see a G-rated movie that didn't limit itself to being just a "kiddie flick" (I hate that term, anyway). It was an intelligent, genuinely inspiring film that just happened to not have anything offensive in it. I'll probably have to get this one.
    Also, having gone to school in West Texas, I can vouch for the accuracy of the setting. The characterizations of the guys from the store are spot on. I know some of these people. [​IMG]
  7. HenrikTull

    HenrikTull Second Unit

    Jun 6, 2000
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    I've always enjoyed Dennis Quaid's work so I might just buy this movie.
  8. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Jan 11, 2001
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  9. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

    Jul 23, 2001
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    I'm definitely adding this one to the collection. I loved this movie in the theater!

    Thanks for another nice review Ron.

    BTW, nice license plate!
  10. Jaxon's Dad

    Jaxon's Dad Supporting Actor

    Aug 27, 1999
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    Mid-West, USA
    Real Name:
    Question for those who have purchased this one. The cover art in Ron's review is, as far as I can tell, the same as for the modified version. Everyplace I've been to only carries the 4:3 I guess I can conclude that more people are actually buying widescreen versions over pan 'n scan, but my question is this: Where can one find the 16x9 version of this great flick? And will I be able to tell from the front cover?
  11. Eric Fisher

    Eric Fisher Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 22, 2002
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    if I recall correctly, there is a small red banner on the spine that says "widescreen".
  12. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

    Sep 9, 2001
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    Real Name:
  13. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

    Jan 16, 2002
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    Real Name:
    Bryan Tuck
    Yeah, even though the widescreen banner is pretty easy to see if you look at the box for a couple of seconds, I kind of wish there would have been something on the front that denoted "widescreen." It's a weird labeling decision, and I don't know who it benefits; people who don't look closely are likely to end up with the wrong version, whichever one they want.

    Anyway, it's a nice disc. Nothing extraordinary, but very solid; I just wish the trailer was on there. Still a very good movie, though.

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