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F. Murray Abraham,
Although a one-time MVP for the New York Yankees, Jack Elliott is now on the down side of his baseball career. His batting average is low and one of his few claims to fame is that during the previous year, he led the team in 9th inning doubles in the month of August. With an up and coming slugger ready to replace him, he learns that he's been traded to the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Central baseball league. Elliott is set in his ways and quite inflexible, not only in accepting Japanese culture in general, but also with the way the baseball team is managed. When he meets his very pretty PR agent, Hiroko, he begins to gain a greater appreciation that he should accept his current situation. When he realizes her other connection to the team, his attitudes begin to change at an even greater pace Written by
In the locker room when "The Chief" (Uchiyama) is fining Jack for disrespect of equipment, Jack hands him an additional 10,000 Yen. The Chief asks in Japanese (and Yoji translates into English) "What is the second one for?" Jack replies, "That's for the next time." Yoji doesn't translate Jacks answer into Japanese, yet The Chief asks (again, in Japanese and Yoji translates) "He wonders when the next time will be." He inadvertently reveals that he understands/speaks English, long before when he reveals it at the grandparents' home. See more »
I lived in Japan at around the period in which this film is set, and I must say--this film does an OUTSTANDING job of capturing the "feel" of what Japan was like. Unfortunately, the accuracy of this is not appreciated by most viewers. Whoever chose the shots and locations really understood Japan well.
The movie itself should rate among the best baseball movies EVER, but doesn't because it's not about American baseball. Take "field of dreams" or whatever. That basically boils down to some plot contrivance about ghosts and whatnot and is only REALLY about the game at a very superficial level (despite pretentions otherwise). This one has an intelligent and realistic view of many aspects of the game--clubhouse behavior, on-field action, player-manager interactions, the business of sports, and so on. If you're into baseball movies, view this one--and if you don't like it, I challenge you to find ONE other baseball movie that does as well as capturing so many aspects of the game intelligently with a minimum of sap.
Characterizations in this movie: yes, we all know that by the end of the movie the Tom Selleck character will do something to redeem himself. In this regard, except for one interesting plot nuance (not really a twist), the plot itself is straightforward. But the characters all stand on their own--I dont think there is a single bad characterization there with the possible over-stereotyped American agent. From Yoji the interpreter through the teammates who are Japanese jocks to the strong female love interest.. well.. let's put it this way.. if you still think all Japanese look and act alike, see this movie.
Clearly this isn't the best movie ever made, but I really like it on a lot of levels enough that on a scale of one to ten, I honestly have to give it a 10 (and I rate a lot of movies poorly). You probably won't like it quite that much, but I think you will enjoy it--whether you are male OR female, by the way. Definately a good rent.
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