Little Big League (1994)
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The first 15 minutes including two GDs by Dennis Farina and some uncalled-for vulgarity by Jason Robards, but everything settled down after those two exited the film soon after and it wound up being a "cute" baseball movie and very impressive in its realism.
The last comment about "realism" was the most impressive aspect of the film to me. I had grown up seeing every baseball movie and never seeing any actors who knew what they were doing until Kevin Costner came along with his "Field Of Dreams" (and later with "For Love Of The Game"). So I appreciate the more modern-era of movie-making where at least we see actors who can throw and hit. This movie is about as close to seeing real baseball as you're going to get: very realistic diamond action.
The story was outlandish - an 11-year-old managing a Major League baseball team, but the baseball was so good and a good mix of comedy and drama made it turn out to be a satisfying film to watch. There are some nice shots of Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium in here, too.
Luke Edwards, as the kid, was just fine and a kid you could root for, not a wise- guy. He was aided by adults John Ashton and Timothy Busfeld. This is a nicer role for Ashton ("Midnight Run") and Busfeld, couldn't have played a more likable ballplayer. He was great to watch.
This a good film for adults, not just kids, and especially if you enjoy baseball.
When the kid asks pitcher Mike McGreevy how much a free agent who can't throw strikes is worth, or when he puts down his hot-headed reliever by asking if he thinks the team doesn't have anybody else who can get people out, it's priceless. Or how's this from his bench coach, about Johnson's slump: "Kid, don't you think there's a problem when you get that excited over a seeing-eye single?" or (from the angry reliever): "I've been looking over some film, and you were right about my mechanics, so I ... guess you're not a rat boy.''
Despite what might seem like an absurd premise, I have never seen a more realistic baseball movie, and I am a member of SABR and a baseball fan of more than 50 years. The Twins are still wearing the uniforms in this film, and until today (10/11/09) were still playing in the same stadium.
It pays homage to the franchise's history by calling the team's GM "Goslin'' -- a Hall of Famer from the Twins' days as the Senators.
Get this movie. Even the music is good. You will not regret it.