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Trouble with the Curve [Blu-Ray]

Robert Lorenz

Trouble with the Curve [Blu-Ray]
3
After learning of a potentially irreparable visual impediment and establishing an isolated, hermit-y bachelor lifestyle — eating Spam from the can — septuagenarian baseball scout Gus (Clint Eastwood) grumbles about the advent of technology. Citing the "Interweb" as a point of contention and reflecting about the good ole days with his boss and best friend, Pete Klein (John Goodman), he scoffs at the modern ability to pull player stats and specificities from a computer to match competence and ability with team needs. His estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) — one guess who he named her after — is on the fast track to success as a desiccated lawyer, eschewing the home-grown, antiquated philosophies of her father in favour of sterile condos and a passionless engagement. It isn't long before the pair are forced together — Mickey helping her stubborn, virtually blind father with his last scouting chance after Pete intervenes — reaffirming the traditionalist family values and organic, presumably superior hands-on ethos that the advent of modern technology threatens. Adding a dimension of creepiness is younger scout Johnny (Justin Timberlake), whose disposition is much like a cheesy, enthusiastic variation on Gus, in a values and interests capacity. Helping the pair on their journey, he also acts as a love interest for Mickey, suggesting a crude affirmation of Electra complex actualization as necessary for female empowerment and lifelong happiness. Though the predictable, bland nature of the film and its obvious message suggest a heart-warming return to American roots, utilizing the national pastime as a metaphor unto itself, the aggressive assertion of modernity and the unspoken, but related social progress involved as implicitly problematic is rather glib and even offensive if assessed from outside the box. The foul, heteronormative implications are almost as vile as the endless string of narrative contrivances — Mickey finds an expert pitcher at the ideal time in a random location —that propel this formulaic piece of tripe towards its inevitably nostalgic conclusion. It isn't a surprising stance, seeing as this film was also directed by long-time Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz (but moreso Eastwood) — a Blu-Ray supplement about their working relationship suggests that Eastwood had a lot of "influence" — who, despite the many Oscar acknowledgements, tends towards male solipsism, even when tackling more complicated sociological behaviour in films like The Changeling or A Perfect World. He's just usually better at covering it up with a timeless structure and format, as well as an acknowledgement of human imperfections. Also included with the Blu-Ray is a brief puff piece about how much Adams and Timberlake enjoyed working together. It's almost as much fun as the awkward mid-movie clog-dancing sequence. (Warner)
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