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Rookie of the Year
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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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6 out of 7 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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9 out of 13 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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4 out of 5 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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If you don't love baseball ...

10/10
Author: daniel-schlachta from Bucharest
18 June 2016

... or Gary Busey or the Cubs or twelve year old kids this thing is probably not for you. Otherwise I found some really good laughs in it. The story was appealingly filmed and professionally cut and so on. My point is that most Europeans don't have a clue about the game and it is quite important for the story. (For how long will this go on? - Well it's the third inning and they play at least eight. - God help me!) It is great to see how the boy is brought up by his mother to be nice to people and show them respect and how the really manly men repay the favor. All in all I give it a ten because it achieves what it aims for. Do watch it. If you can tell a sinker from a curve ball that is.

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A good comedy for families

8/10
Author: mwcrunner
29 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a pretty funny comedy here for anyone's family to watch. You can also tell that Marv from Home Alone and Home Alone 2 is in this. Also at first I thought that Ernie Banks aka Mr. Cub was in this movie, but it was someone else that looked like him. One very funny part of this movie is when Henry's arm is fully healed and the joint in his arm was healed tightly he smacks the doctor in the face and the doctor shouted out, " Funky butt lover." XD. We also see lots of the scenes of this actually at Wrigley Field and that was all very cool. This movie is definitely recommended for families who enjoy good family comedies. 8 out of ten for this.

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A Truly Awful Remake

2/10
Author: Rick Ackerman from United States
12 June 2015

Daniel Stern should stick to comic roles, since this film makes clear that he has no talent for directing. It's hard to tell whether the acting is as bad as it seems here, or whether it was Stern's amateurish oversight that made every line go clunk. To make matters worse, there is not a single frame in which the action, such as it is, feels emotionally authentic. This problem is exacerbated by a camera that lingers for too long on each and every shot, especially the numerous and increasingly tiresome slow-motion scenes.

Stern appears in the film himself, hamming it up so badly that he actually makes co-actor Gary Busey look pretty good. With respect to the way balls are hit, caught and pitched, and base paths are run, the game played in this film evokes real baseball about as well as William Bendix did on the mound in "The Babe Ruth Story".

I was eager to see this movie because the 1954 original, "Roogie's Bump," was one of my favorites as a kid. Too bad the effort fell so flat. Along with the Danny Glover version of "Angels in the Outfield," "Rookie of the Year" stands as one of the least accomplished remakes of a baseball classic.

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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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