Baseball season is here again, and to celebrate, we’ve got seven baseball-related movies: baseball comedies, baseball gangster films, baseball father-daughter dramas, baseball documentaries, and even Babe Ruth being knocked around in the back of a crazy taxi cab.
Add to that list an early film written by one of the world’s poppiest, peppiest screenwriters, and a bold, moving, absolute must-see documentary about five legendary filmmakers who went to war, photographed it, and came back to tell the tale, and it’s fair to say you won’t be wanting for entertainment anytime soon.
In one of his rare acting roles for another director, Clint Eastwood plays crusty, aging baseball scout Gus Lobel, who works for the Atlanta Braves and relies on his eyes, ears, and instincts to find good talent.
After the initial astonishment, it becomes apparent that the movie is brilliantly funny, not only in its clever line readings and perfect slapstick, but also in its inherent appreciation for the art of comedy (“Goofy’s a genius!”)
A deeper look reveals a clever homage to Los Angeles detective films ranging from The Big Sleep to Chinatown.
But an even closer reading cements it as a masterpiece of satire, a sly parody of modernism and encroaching civilization, a kind of controlled, corporate chaos replacing the more innocent, zany chaos of the cartoons.