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|Index||44 reviews in total|
A lot of the comments seem to treat this film as a baseball movie, but I
feel this is only secondary. It's really about living in Japan, and it
I spent a few years living in Japan, and I suppose the reason that this movie didn't do too well is that you sort of have to have experienced Japan to get it. I was watching this with a well-travelled friend who's never been to Japan, and he noted that many of the events in the movie were so ludicrous that they destroyed the suspension of disbelief. My reply was that those events were the absolute unvarnished truth about life in Japan!
I think that this movie is definitely worth watching, especially if you've lived in Japan or are interested in it.
Tom Selleck has been for most of his career a box office bust. Even though this movie did not score a home run with movie goers, it is still a nicely done film. It doesn't play down Japanese stereotypes, as the writers of this film did their homework on life in Japan. I used to watch Japanese baseball, and I can tell you that the film does a pretty good interpretation. In Japan, the manager of a ball club is more of a nurturing father. It's also more like work than sport. Players run fundamental drills all day and talent takes a backseat to skill. The movie is nicely done and Selleck does a good job as selfish, self-centered Jack Elliot. Dennis Haysbert is also nice in the supporting role of Max DuBois (He had enough practice being in baseball movies after being in Major League). Ken Takakura is good as the no-nonsense manager of the club. It's a shame he hasn't done any other American films after this one. Aya Takanashi is also nice as Jack's love interest. If you can, get the video or DVD because the TV version makes some of the most absurd edits and cuts I have seen.
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
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.
MR. BASEBALL is a film of paradoxes. Written and filmed as a "light, sports comedy" it truly has a heartwarming core as human and universal as some of Capra's finest. At the plot level, you have the paradox of baseball, a fine old American game, as it is played in Japan - turned around, with American values cast off and Japanese values imprinted upon the game. (Some of the superficial "sports comedy" results from Jack's uncomprehending disbelief at how "basa-boru" is played in Japan.) You also have a lead character who's presented as an over-the-hill, aging baseball star, but who is actually quite immature - pro ball allowed him to postpone growing up. And you have a lead character who is rudely resistant to the changes in his life that are being forced upon him, refusing to accept the curveball that life has given him, in the midst of a new country, a new manager, a new team, and a new girlfriend, who have all welcomed him and try to accept him. Sound like heavy stuff? Not really. It's a charming "clash of cultures" comedy that takes place on the national, sports, romantic, and professional levels. But if you watch it sensitively enough, you will also find a great story about a man who has to abandon his immaturity and grow up way too late in life (causing some amount of personal pain), and finds success in places he never expected it. I love the story, but I also have great respect for Selleck's performance; he bares his tush (literally) to portray an ugly American, insulting people and throwing tantrums in public, then lets us inside this character to understand his dismay. It also doesn't hurt if you're a big fan of Takakura Ken like I am. MR. BASEBALL is a surprising "loss of innocence" tale.
You have to have lived in Japan for awhile to enjoy the beauty of this movie! I lived on Okinawa for over 2 years, and northern Honshu for 4. Believe it or not, what you see paints a very good and accurate picture of contrasting east/west mentalities, both from a sports as well as personal relationships perspective. A funny, funny, and heartwarming movie that deserves better than Americans viewing it can ever judge. 8+ out of 10!
I liked this movie, not because Tom Selleck was in it, but because it
was a good story about baseball and it also had a semi-over dramatized
view of some of the issues that a BASEBALL player coming to the end of
their time in Major League sports must face. I also greatly enjoyed the
cultural differences in American and Japanese baseball and the small
facts on how the games are played differently.
Overall, it is a good movie to watch on Cable TV or rent on a cold winter's night and watch about the "Dog Day's" of summer and know that spring training is only a few months away. A good movie for a baseball fan as well as a good "DATE" movie Trust me on that one! *Wink*
I agree with BigAlC - this movie actually prepared me for a lot of the
cultural differences and practices before I went to live in Japan for a
year in 1993. Tom Selleck does a fantastic job here, as always, and the
movie is greatly humorous and educational. I'm a big fan of Tom
Selleck's, and he blesses this part with his usual charm and charisma
to this part, bringing the film to life in a way I can't imagine any
other actor being able to pull off.
This film featured some first-rate Japanese actors, and it was highly entertaining to watch them as they interacted with Selleck - I can imagine the fun he had during the actual filming of the movie - Japan's an awesome place to go, whether you want to party, sight-see or just try to take everything in.
Even if you are not a baseball fan, you will enjoy MR. BASEBALL. An aging
Major League home run slugger Jack Elliot(Tom Selleck)is traded to the
Dragons, a favorite ball team in Japan. American ballplayers are treated
like rock 'n' roll stars in Japan and Jack is no exception. The American
slugger has trouble fitting into the eastern society and thanks to his
interpreter(Kosuke Toyohara)he doesn't completely alienate himself. Another
American player "Hammer" Dubois(Dennis Haysbert)tries to help big Jack fit
in, but of course the Dragon's new home run hitter is pretty hard headed.
Elliot finds himself in his coach's(Ken Takakura)doghouse more often than not. The team finds him easy to dislike. Unknowingly he finds romance with the coach's daughter(Aya Takanashi)and that is just part of the humor found in this likable and short of heartwarming movie. Most of the humor comes from Jack's interpreter. Selleck fits the role pretty well. Ted Danson would have been another good choice for the role, but Selleck provides enough arrogance to carry it off. Not a total waste of time, but there is doubts about a double header. Twice is enough for me.
If you like baseball, you'll dig this movie. It's kinda cheesy and it's not exactly Oscar-worthy, but Tom Selleck is pretty convincing as a struggling major leaguer who is traded to a Japanese team. If you've seen all the new releases (except Thin Red Line, which you should avoid like the plague) and you're looking for something light-hearted and entertaining, this movie is a safe bet. Enjoy.. and GO DODGERS!!! (yes they're struggling now, but i can feel a comeback)
Many believe this movie is a baseball movie. Such people are
disappointed because it's about a baseball player, but the movie isn't
Some think this movie is a romantic comedy and are disappointed because the relationship isn't really developed. This movie is not a romantic comedy.
This movie is about culture. An arrogant American Major Leaguer and a stern traditional Japanese baseball manager cannot succeed because they can't, indeed, won't understand one another. It's after they manage to break through the cultural barrier that they have success. The ballplayer becomes more Japanese in his team mentality and the manager more American in allowing individual achievement, and they meet in the middle.
Baseball and the romance is subordinate to this critique of the two cultures. Many who have no understanding of the Japanese mindset miss this and think it's a movie on baseball or romance and see the culture clash as mild comedy relief. It's not---the culture clash is the gravamen of the movie. Based on my own experience and understanding of the Japanese culture, I think this movie did quite well in that it didn't overly romanticize the Japanese culture nor overdo it in its portrayal.
Overall, I believe this is an enjoyable and relaxing movie if one understands what it is really about.
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