Before watching the movie:
It occurs to me that even though I remember seeing all of the tv spots for it at the time, and I have a synopsis in front of me, I don’t know much about this story other than “Bernie Mac unretires from baseball to protect his record”.
I’m guessing the tension comes from him clashing with his teammates, mostly due to them resenting him using them like that, but also maybe an old school baseball/new school baseball rivalry.
I’m still going to go with “it’s about Bernie Mac playing baseball” though.
After watching the movie:
Stan Ross was a crowd-pleasing media bad boy baseball hitter who only cared about himself, his fame, and his legacy. With the idea that achieving 3,000 hits would obligate an induction into the Hall of Fame even though sports journalists hate him, he quit the Milwaukee Brewers immediately after the game he got his 3,000th hit in, abandoning them before the end of the season. Years later, he’s turned his “Mr. 3000” brand into a thriving shopping center full of a variety of his own businesses, but when reviewing his merits for the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown discovers that three of his hits were double-counted, meaning his career only had 2,997 hits. Passed over for induction and eager to reclaim his title, Stan agrees to rejoin the Brewers for half a season for a chance to get those three hits back and draw some publicity and crowds for a team in a slump, as well as maybe this time leaving behind a team that actually likes him.
While there’s a little bit of humor about how the modern game has changed when Stan first comes out of retirement, it doesn’t seem to really get played up much outside of the training montage. There isn’t even a whole lot of team resentment toward him, because he goes in having already realized how the way he acted before cost him the friendship of his teammates. Instead, Stan ends up mentoring the Brewers’ current star player T-Rex, guiding him to the lessons Stan wishes he’d known at the time.
But even though so much of the movie is about how becoming a mature team player has made him a better man, he still ends up making a selfish choice in time to ramp up tension for the climax. Even so, it seems to do much more damage to his romantic subplot than his relationship with the team. It ultimately just felt like a low-stakes success story that was suddenly obligated to erase all his success to give him a single moment to win it back.
Much more enjoyment is had from the character interactions than from the plot. Very like I said, it’s about Bernie Mac as an out of place baseball player, and the plot is a distant second to that. As a Bernie Mac vehicle, it’s a major source of your recommended Bernie. As a sports movie, it’s fine. As a story, it hits its marks, but not always smoothly.
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