Three-times MVP baseball player Bobby Rayburn joins the San Francisco Giants, and obsessive fan, whose profession is selling hunting knives, Gil Renard is excited over that. But Rayburn plays the worst season of his career and Renard tries to do everything to help him, but goes too far. Written by
When Bobby Rayburn and Juan Primo collide at the beginning, Primo, who was in left field, runs in from right field. See more »
[Gil narrating his poem]
Excited and anxious, I await my dream / To escape, applaud and embrace my team / Opening day I always can trust / It's just for this high that I crazily lust / Return of our hero does brighten the days / Just briefly my troubles get lost in the haze / The grace from the field arouses the crowd / Reflects on the days when I was quite proud / I'm more entranced than the average fan / I used to play, you see, and I know I still can / That time I drove the ball ...
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CLOSER TO GOD
Written by Trent Reznor
Performed by Nine Inch Nails
Courtesy of TVT Records and Interscope Records
By Arrangement with MCA Special Markets & Products
Published by Leaving Hope/TVT Music Inc. See more »
A flawed movie, but worth seeing for De Niro's performance as Gil Renard, an increasingly crazed fan/stalker. Also, yet again, baseball shows itself as the sport most able to provide striking visual metaphors for the ups and downs of life (though, as a Brit, I've noted some of the specific criticisms aimed at the baseball sequences in this movie by IMDb commenters from the US).
Where the movie, via the genius of De Niro, certainly succeeds is in convincingly demonstrating how easily and quickly obsessive devotion can turn to obsessive hatred, when the object of that devotion fails to meet the assumptions of the extreme fan. Certainly, there's some of Max Cady, the Cape Fear psychotic, in his portrayal; but there's also a lot of Rupert Pupkin, the confused kidnapper and would-be comic from King of Comedy - both films, of course, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Where the film fails is in being too repetitive and, consequently, a bit too long; one or two of the scenes where Gil is trying to sell his knives are superfluous; and, when Gil is at the game with his son, why does the camera have to keep cutting to the woman in the crowd - once or twice would have been sufficient. Several of the scenes also seem derivative, especially those involving Dan Butler, as Garitty the sales manager, which echo Glengarry Glen Ross. A major unconvincing aspect is that surely a $40m signing, like Bobby Raybourn (Wesley Snipes), would be surrounded by a lot more razzmatazz than simply one not-too-effective agent (John Leguizamo).
But, on the whole, one to rent or watch on TV (as I've just done) if nothing more compelling is available.
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