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Rookie of the Year
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Reviews & Ratings for
Rookie of the Year More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Very funny baseball comedy

9/10
Author: jhaggardjr from Chicago, Illinois
4 December 2000

"Rookie of the Year" is one of my favorite baseball movies. One of the things I liked the most about this movie is that it's set in Chicago, my hometown. Most of the action in the film takes place at Wrigley Field, home of the long suffering Chicago Cubs. It's about a clumsy 12-year-old boy named Henry Rowengartner, who loves to play baseball. However, the kid can't do anything right on the field. One day, trying to impress a girl, he tries to catch a fly ball. But ends up slipping on a baseball lying on the ground and in the process breaks his right arm. After four months of recouperation, the cast comes off. Afterwards Henry's mother gives him and his two best friends tickets to the latest Cubs game. The three boys are sitting in the bleachers when a home run is hit. The ball lands close to where they're sitting and one of Henry's friends recovers the ball. The fans sitting nearby yell at the kid to throw it back on to the field. The kid doesn't want to do it and gives the ball to Henry's other friend who ends up giving the ball to Henry. He agrees to do it. Then an amazing thing happens. Henry not only throws the ball back on to the field, he throws the ball all the way to home plate! The crowd is in stunned silence after seeing this. Who threw that ball? is the question on everyone's mind. When the owners find out it's Henry, they ask him if he would like to pitch for the Cubs. Henry goes bonkers and agrees to pitch. After throwing some practice pitches, the owners and managers discover that he has a 100 m.p.h. fastball. They think this could be the perscription the Cubs need since they're already going through another disasterous season (which is all too familiar in real life). Henry becomes the star rookie of the team as the closer. And the Cubs start winning and begin to turn their season around. "Rookie of the Year" has alot of big laughs and a terrific cast. There are four memorable performances in this film. Thomas Ian Nicholas is wonderful as Henry. This actor has grown up since this film (he was most recently seen in the hit film "American Pie"), but he's in a role to remember; Gary Busey is also very good as the aging star pitcher known as 'The Rocket' who helps out Henry in certain spots; Albert Hall as the Cubs manager who repeatedly keeps mispronouncing Henry's last name in different formats; and Amy Morton, a Chicago stage actress, as Henry's mother Mary. Some of the most effective moments in the film are with the boy and his mom. Also there are hilarious smaller performances by Eddie Bracken as the Cubs owner; John Candy as the Cubs broadcast announcer; and Daniel Stern (who also directed) in the film's goofiest role as the dim-witted pitching coach. "Rookie of the Year" has the usual predictable sports ending, but since this film is so much fun, who cares. There is one obvious continuity error in the film. When they fly to L.A. to play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, you can tell they're really playing at Comiskey Park, home of Chicago's other baseball team, the White Sox. You can tell just by that, that this film was shot entirely in Chicago. "Rookie of the Year" is a baseball winner in my book.

***1/2 (out of four)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A fun, warm film for the whole family.

9/10
Author: Venturin from East Coast USA
17 March 1999

I really enjoy the film Rookie of the Year. I even bought the tape, and I pop it in once a month or so when I need a pick-me-up. It's funny and warm and rewarding as well. I really like the character of Mary, the mother of the boy with the 'rocket fire' arm. A single mother, she worries that her son has no one to look up to, but we learn things about her that gives the finale an extra shot of warmth. Daniel Stern did a very nice job of directing, and he got good performances all around. Gary Busey is great, and the way he and the other ball players come around to liking the kid is fun. I also like the pacing of the movie, there's always a 'moment' just around the corner. The film is full of fun moments, and when I start the tape I have to watch through to the end. Have kids? Have they seen this film? Give it a try, good clean fun family entertainment.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Another good "kid-in-the-big-leagues" movie

7/10
Author: nucksfan4life from USA
3 June 2002

For some reason, I get a kick out of movies like "Rookie of the Year." I guess the fact that so many young boys, myself included, fantasize about playing professional sports contributes to the popularity of this genre. I think Daniel Stern did a good job directing this movie because he doesn't ever let it become too kiddy and childish. Sure there are a lot of funny moments, but they can be funny to adults as well as children. The setting of this movie cannot be beat: Wrigley Field. It doesn't get any better than that. "Rookie of the Year" is a fun movie to watch with the family.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Bringing the fun back to baseball

Author: brian-crouch-1 from Hilo, HI
20 November 2004

This movie asks the question: "What if pro baseball was fun again, like in little league, and not so taken so seriously?" The device of Henry's miraculous arm allows the story to inject a kid's eye view into a somewhat cynical world. Juxtaposing the sleazy Dan Hedaya's attempted $25 million trade of Henry to the Yankees with the Henry and his buddies taking a day trip on a boat, as well as Henry's adolescent antics on the field, director Daniel Stern is trying to get us to look at baseball, and maybe sports, maybe life, like we did when we were ten.

I think Roger Ebert, although I agree with his review, took pretty poor notes while reviewing this film. From his article: "When the cast comes off, his dad takes him to Wrigley Field, and he catches a home run ball while he's out in the bleachers, and then he throws it back - all the way to the catcher behind the plate." Actually, he went with his friends, he doesn't even know his dad. And he didn't catch it, his friends pick it up from nearby, and hand it to him because they're scared to throw it on TV and embarrass themselves. Doesn't he have a fact-checker to proof his reviews?

Second, he writes: "Henry becomes an overnight celebrity, and is signed to the Cubs by the team's genial owner." This ignores the desperation of Dan Hedaya, the would-be owner of the team, who sees the publicity and marketing windfall in having a kid on the team. The sell-out crowd is an important story element, as it reinforces the idea that we are all hungry for baseball to be fun again.

There's are lots of laughs to be had in this film, although Stern seems to want to indulge in over-the-top hysterics from time to time, such as with the character he was playing. Also, the bilious "Jack" who gets Henry's mom to sign a contract without telling her it's a trade to NY, is downright spastic in his final scene. Stern shows a lot of promise as a comedy director if he could tone it down just a touch with the tangential characters. Understatement can be funny, as Busey shows with a few choice glares at the right moments. I loved Stern's allusion to the Wizard of Oz, likening the Emerald City gates to the Wrigley stadium gates, when Henry first arrives to play.

The Cubs haven't won a Series since 1909. "And a little child shall lead them..." Every kid should see this movie.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not a Bad Sports Movie!

7/10
Author: g-bodyl from United States
19 October 2010

Rookie of the Year is a pretty good sports movie even though I have seen better. I thought that Daniel Stern as the pitching coach was hilarious but in reality a guy like him would have been fired before the first pitch of the season-at least the late, great Steinbrenner would. It was also nice to see how a young teenager would adapt to the adult world of baseball.

This is about a 12-year-old who can suddenly throw a hundred miles an hour after he recovered from a broken arm. Once again, that's impossible in real life. Anyway, he is a midseason addition to the Cubs and he makes them more than the mediocre team that they were.

Overall, this is a pretty solid sports movie. There was great acting by the kids. But the ending is all to predictable. I rate this film 7/10.

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A mostly-vanilla film existing in an already overblown genre

6/10
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
26 September 2014

Rookie of the Year is just about as genial as a baseball movie of the nineties can be before it becomes a tad too grating for my personal tastes. The film dances on a line between being too concerned with ridiculous humor and too fixated on creating a sentimental environment that, between those two things, has difficultly really making one enjoy the fun of the baseball game at hand.

The film stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as the ambitious youngster Henry Rowengartner, a twelve-year-old Little League player with dreams of playing in the major leagues for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. His dream is often mocked by his friends and classmates, as Henry isn't a very good player and has quite a clumsy aura about him. In an attempt to catch a ball thrown by one of the school's bullies, Henry slips on another ball lying on the ground and breaks his arm, having to wrap it in a thick and relatively debilitating cast. When the arm finally heals, the doctor removes the cast to reveal that Henry's tendons have healed very tightly, with Henry able to cock his arm back and fire a ball with incomparable force.

His talents are shown throwing a foul ball back to home plate from the stands at a Chicago Cubs game, prompting the Cubs to contract the youngest player in MLB history as the team's starting pitcher. Henry couldn't be happier, but earns some justified opposition and hesitance from the team's aging pitcher Chet "Rocket" Steadman (Busey), one of Henry's idols. Despite his good-nature and kind spirits, Henry's presence has the ability to ruffle feathers and occasionally upset his teammates, and also makes him the target for his mother's greedy boyfriend Jack (Bruce Altman), who looks to take advantage of him and his abilities.

Rookie of the Year inevitably suffers comparison to Little Big League, another nineties baseball film that was more-or-less eclipsed by the success and familiarity of this film just a year later. While Little Big League did a fine job at illustrating what could potentially happen if an eleven-year-old was left to his own wits to manage a Major League Baseball team he inherited, Rookie of the Year deals with an equally unlikely story in a less interesting manner. Despite all efforts by director Daniel Stern (famous for his role as one of the burglars in both Home Alone films among many other comedies) and writer Sam Harper, Rookie of the Year only manages to be a fair and humbly likable picture, light on its humor elements with more emphasis placed on redundant, and occasionally crude, gags.

The nineties was already a time where baseball films were a dime a dozen, with films being made for children and adults alike. I'm holding Rookie of the Year to the works of the era, like A League of Their Own, Little Big League, and, everybody's favorite, The Sandlot. The film's funniest scenes come from the uncredited John Candy, who plays the Cubs announcer always eager to bet against them. With all of this in mind, Rookie of the Year is harmless and cheery, like its protagonist, always bearing a good heart and a clear mind, but admittedly, pretty forgettable.

Starring: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Dan Hedaya, Bruce Altman, Daniel Stern, and John Candy. Directed by: Daniel Stern.

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The Natural for 12 year olds

4/10
Author: richard-1787 (richard@berrong.fr) from United States
17 October 2013

I don't know what sort of movie 12 year old boys watch today. Certainly not the sort I liked 50 years ago when I was 12. Maybe this sort of movie would appeal to them. I can't say.

It didn't do anything for me, but then, as I say, I'm not 12 years old.

Instead, it struck me as a boy's version of The Natural, which I didn't get a lot out of either. A guy - or, in this case, a boy - has a stroke of good luck and acquires a magic power that makes him a great baseball player. It's luck, and not the result of hard work. (For that, see The Stratton Story, which is one of my favorite baseball movies.) He has a glorious career until the magic wears out. That didn't do much for me in The Natural, and it doesn't do much for me here. Played as comedy it can work - see "It Happens Every Spring" - but not, for me, as drama, because there's no drama involved.

I don't know if boys still dream about baseball anymore. Maybe those who do, if they still exist, might enjoy this movie. If so, let them so do.

But I won't be watching it again myself, at 62.

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Wholesome family fun

6/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
15 October 2013

Henry Rowengartner is a 12 year old boy who got injured in school trying to catch a ball. When the cast comes off, his arm becomes a rocket launcher. On his day in the Cubs bleachers, he takes a HR ball from the opposition and throws a clothsline to the plate. The desperate Cubs immediately tracks him down and signs him as a pitcher.

This is Daniel Stern's only directorial full length movie. He's done some Wonder Years episodes before this. There isn't any glaring directing problems. It's a relatively good effort. Stern must be a long suffering Cubs fan. Only a Cubs fan could come up a 12 year old savior for the long suffering club.

Thomas Ian Nicholas is a charming little boy. He encompasses the innocence and the wonder that this movie absolutely requires. The final 3 outs are the stuff of teen boys' fantasy. That's the kind of wholesome entertainment this is all about.

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One of those inspiring movie of my childhood

6/10
Author: shamimriaz from Chittagong, Bangladesh
30 January 2012

Really loved the movie when i watched it, I was 14 then. Maybe, 2 or 3 times then and I liked both the fun side and the inspirational side of the movie. That was the first time I came to know about baseball through this movie.

Its all about a boy Henry who accidentally can ball fast after having and accident! And, no wonder he becomes famous. The movie gets along with the incidents happening with Henry.

Not so fast in pace, but I am sure, it wont bore you at all. You will love the events in the movie. And Thomas Ian Nicholas(Henry) really did good job in acting also did the director Daniel Stern. I am being a nostalgic about this movie. After so many years of watching the movie I still remember most of the story. No doubt its a kids movie, still adults can give a try with their kids!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Baseball Movie

10/10
Author: jvfunn1 from Zephyrhills FL
1 December 2010

I just watched Rookie of the Year on the Disney Channel and let me tell you. It's a great kids baseball movie about a boy named Henry who gets on the Chicago Cubs Baseball Team! Thomas Ian Nicholas did a good job playing the boy Henry. Daniel Stern couldn't of cast a better child actor to play that role. The rest of the cast gave good performances such as Gary Busey playing the player Rockie and Eddie Bracken did a good job playing the Cubs owner. I also liked John Candy's hilarious performance as the announcer for the games. And Daniel Stern also gave a good performance as the goofy player Phil Berquist. In my opinion that's one of his greatest and funniest roles next to Marv in the Home Alone movie series. Filled with hilarious scenes and a great story and great characters Rookie of the Year is a Great Baseball Movie that any Baseball fan could love. Young or Old. I give it a 10 out of 10.

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