Sometimes everything you read about a movie before you see it is wrong, and you have a totally different opinion than most critics (this happened when I saw “Trainspotting,” which everyone seemed to love but I thought was awful.)
Other times I come out of the theater going, “Yep, the critics nailed that one.”
The latter feeling hit me as I walked out of the new Jackie Robinson biopic “42” on Sunday afternoon.
Going in, the consensus seemed to be: good, rousing movie, but way too simplistic and broad, with very little nuance or deeper explanation of all that Jackie Robinson and Dodgers GM Branch Rickey went through in 1947, as they fought to integrate baseball.
The movie was good, really good. Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey was a whole lot of fun, Chadwick Boseman looked great as Jackie, and the supporting characters (I particularly loved “Scrubs” John C. McGinley, aka Dr. Cox, playing legendary broadcaster Red Barber) were all superb.
And if you had never heard of Jackie Robinson or knew just the outlines of his legendary story, you would have been perfectly happy with this Disney-fied, clear-cut black and white version of the story.
But for those of us who know a lot more about the Robinson story, a whole lot more could’ve been explored in this film. If only Spike Lee could’ve directed it (He tried for years to get a Robinson film made, but couldn’t get the funding).
For one thing, the movie shows ballplayers as only either “good” or “evil,” but none of the conflicted feelings of Dodgers teammates like Dixie Walker.
We also never saw Robinson’s struggles in day to day life in 1947; going into restaurants, hotels and on trains with his Dodgers teammates. The movie could’ve used a whole lot more of that.
I also found their depiction of Branch Rickey as moral saint to be a little over the top (frankly, I was surprised at how much Rickey was in the movie; I”m guessing once Harrison Ford got attached to the project they made Rickey the focal point, but he was in more scenes than Robinson was).
Still, I’m picking nits a little. It’s incredibly important that the Robinson story lives on and gets re-told; it was pathetic when a poll of baseball players in the 1980s found many of them had never heard of the Dodgers’ No. 42.
If there’s only going to be one Jackie Robinson movie told for future generations to watch, this movie is a worthy choice to continue that legend.
I always love it when non-sports magazines or TV shows take a look at the NCAA and realize how ridiculous it is, in so many ways.
“The Daily Show” did a hilarious piece on the NCAA’s recent decision to bar University of Minnesota wrestler Joel Bauman from competing after a rap video he made showed up on YouTube.
Watch Jon Stewart and Co.’s knife go in slowly here.
**So I guess I’m not too surprised that a kid who’s been obscenely famous, an be worshipped by millions, for the past five years would be as clueless and disgustingly insensitive as Justin Bieber keeps showing himself to be.
The boy’s head has been filled with people telling him how awesome and wonderful he is, so I guess you can’t expect him to have too much perspective on the world and life.
But even though I usually cut him some slack, what he did on Friday while visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam was beyond the pale.
Bieber was on tour there and he decided to visit the museum and learn all about the famous 1940s child who hid for two years in an attic before the Nazis found her and her family in 1944; she then died in a concentration camp in 1945.
After visiting the museum with his bodyguards, this is what Mr. Bieber wrote in the guestbook:
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.”
Yes Justin, if only Anne Frank had survived the concentration camp and the two years of hiding in fear of her life, she could’ve enjoyed the sweet sounds of “Baby, Baby, Baby.”
I know, I know; who cares what Bieber says, he’s just a stupid famous singer. But it bothers me how completely detached from any reality this guy is.