A nameless young character goes into travels to the country, meeting some acquaintances and strangers as well, having banal conversations, dedicating his existence into daily mundane ... See full summary »
Follows tour guide, historian and flâneur Timothy 'Speed' Levitch as he visits the monumentally ignored monuments of America's cities, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City.
Timothy 'Speed' Levitch,
John C. McDonnell,
Morris Buttermaker, an alcoholic pest removal worker and former professional baseball player (for a very short time), is recruited to coach and train a failing baseball team of 12-year-olds which is about to be thrown out of the league. Written by
With some skepticism and fairly low expectations, I rented this film. Understand, I'm a big fan of Richard Linklater, and an admirer of Billy Bob Thornton's work, hence there were certain expectations coming into this viewing. For the most part, my expectations were met. This film is certainly worth a watch.
There is no point in comparing this film to the original, so I won't bother to do so. The two were made during different eras by different actors and filmmakers, so why stack them up against each other. This film stands nicely on its own. Richard Linklater has simply become the master of the early teen film. He beautifully handled his mostly non-professional cast in 'School of Rock' (though it must be said, he did have Jack Black to help him pull it off), and the same can be said for this cast of mostly neophyte actors. Linklater is somehow able to draw a certain feeling of realism from his youthful actors. I think this is because he's not afraid to go for naturalism, and he certainly doesn't pull any punches. Linklater allows his young cast members to be just as crass, cruel and feisty as you would expect from a group of 10 to 12-year olds in this modern era. At the same time, however, he is able to instill in his characters a sense of youthful innocence and a continuing level of 'wide-eyedness' that make his characters lovable. In addition, Linklater is careful in his characterization, he makes sure to provide a distinct personality for each of the kids in this film, something that isn't easy to do with 12 kids in under two hours.
The other big bonus of this film is the enjoyment of watching Billy Bob work. Billy Bob is great in these roles as the 'sexy sleazoid' who just manages to skim the surface of life. Beneath the somewhat reptilian outer skin of Billy Bob's Buttermaker is a human being who has compassion and understanding for others who are in his 'peer group', that is, the rejects and also-rans of life. He does a convincing job creating an empathy within his character for these kids who are all castoffs from the mainstream. In addition, Billy Bob delivers a lot of very funny lines that are steeped in naturalism, and thus guaranteed to create a great deal of offense to anyone concerned with propriety and/or political correctness.
I'm not guaranteeing a cinematic masterpiece with this review, but I will suggest that if the film is given a chance by objective viewers, it will be guaranteed to provide nearly two hours of laughs and entertainment. Don't expect a 'Little Giants' here, with a lot of gross sentimentality...this children's sports film gives you something a bit different!
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