Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman & Robert Patrick. Director: Robert Lorenz. Writer: Randy Brown.
It's been an eventful year for Clint Eastwood. To begin 2012 the greatest actor/director of all-time teamed up with the greatest actor of our time Leonardo DiCaprio for the Hoover biopic 'J. Edgar'. A great movie, but one that drew some criticism from some critics in regards to some of the themes and how they where dealt with. More political punches where pulled later on in the year when Republican Clint delivered an endorsing speech for then Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Critics labeled Clint's speech as "mumbled" and "confused". Don't they know that Dirty Harry grunts? Besides Clint's political beliefs are his own and that doesn't effect how he is as a filmmaker, even with his take on 'J. Edgar'...which in our opinion was terrific.
Now the great director shows he's still a decent man enough to star in a film where someone else is behind the lens for the first time since 1993's classic 'In The Line Of Fire'. Robert Lorenz's baseball/family drama 'Trouble With The Curve' is an ideal, moving matinee. The kind of slow and easy, Sunday afternoon film that's gentle and nice. One you'll love to watch during a perfect, lazy day on the T.V. in the future. Sure it's no classic like an Eastwood direction (and because he's not in the chair on this one it leaves his directing filmography untarnished), but its a real, feel-good film that's missing these days in Hollywood. Like a weekend afternoon baseball game that you don't care how long it takes this is a relaxed, comforting film, with unsettling dramatic elements added for realism. Through everything though, sports and it all, it's all about family. It's all about the simple things and what's more real than that? They haven't made films like this in awhile.
Sure this isn't going to change the game like Brad Pitt did last year with 'Moneyball' but 'Trouble With The Curve' still swings and hits, honoring all sorts of family traditions from the ballpark to the barbecue. Shot simply but stunningly, its beautiful like the classic cars and with some of that serious Eastwood subtly (maybe he has been lending a directing hand) it see's and hits straight. Clint as an actor is on fine form grumbling with his trademark glare but delivering a strict sincerity that shines through. Playing a baseball scout who is being forced into retirement he's trying to stay in the game, while his baseball fan daughter Amy Adams is trying to stay in his life.
Adams again shows just why she has become one of the best female acting picks in a league of her own. Her interplay and scenes with Eastwood are brilliantly acted with charisma, chemistry and collateral baggage. After stealing the show in 'The Social Network' and making his own moment 'In Time' Justin Timberlake shows yet again he's more than a singer as he plays an ex-pro turned scout. His performance is charming and controlled and is he's good enough for Clint, he's great enough for anybody. Plus the rumors of Clint and Timberlake performing a routine of Justin' Saturday Night Live 'Dick In A Box' are too good to be seen. Matthew Lillard and Robert Patrick are also on helpful hand in an A-list cast, but it's John Goodman that makes the grade with his 'Movember' mustache. After 'Argo' and 'Flight' on the way ot seems like Goodman has found the fountain of fan-favorite form.
Films like this normally don't swing for the fence, but with top-tier talent on the bases and a script that strikes the heart strings this is one for the books. They don't make them like they used to. Just check Clint's moving graveside toast and talk for arguably the films deepest and best moment. If anyone else recited 'You Are My Sunshine' to a headstone it would come across corny and cheesy but the way Eastwood does it with the deepest sincerity would move even the hardest of hearts to condolence. There won't be a steady lip or dry eye in the house as you hear Clint work through the words, "you'll never know dear, how much I love you". It's going to be a real sad day when Clint Eastwood will have to give this game up, but you can't force this guy out of retirement. Even with his Western hat and magnum hung up, Clint's still knocking everything he does out the park...with no trouble at all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.