21 user 35 critic

The Phenom (2016)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 24 June 2016 (USA)
2:28 | Trailer
A rookie pitcher undergoes psychotherapy to overcome the yips.


Noah Buschel


Noah Buschel





Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Simmons ... Hopper Gibson
Ethan Hawke ... Hopper Senior
Paul Giamatti ... Dr. Mobley
Sophie Kennedy Clark ... Dorothy Boyer
Alison Elliott ... Susan Gibson
Yul Vazquez ... Coach Eddie Soler
Paul Adelstein ... Scott Borwitz
Marin Ireland ... Rachel Cullum
Louisa Krause ... Candace Cassidy
Frank Wood ... Richard Boyer
Meg Gibson ... Jill Boyer
Elizabeth Marvel ... Teresa Epland
Emily Fleischer ... Betsy Schmidt
Journey Smith Journey Smith ... Lloyd Moseby
Niesha Butler ... Tuesday Davis


A Major League rookie pitcher loses control over his pitching and is sent down to the minor leagues, where he begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist. In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father are brought to light.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hopper Gibson throws one hundred miles per hour. Now he needs to stop thinking.


Drama | Sport


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Paul Giamatti's dad, Angelo Bartlett Giamatti, was a very important figure in baseball. He was Commissioner of Major League Baseball. See more »


The band aid on Hop's face, by an inch or two, does not match the point where his father cut and bled him with a beer can. See more »


Hopper Sr.: All right, Susan, but I'm still your fucking husband, right? I've been gettin' a lot of the bullshit whiny card, none of the soft stuff.
See more »


References Ninotchka (1939) See more »


Darling Tell Me
Written by Bo Diddley (as Elias McDaniel)
Performed by Bo Diddley
See more »

User Reviews

What A Mess
27 February 2017 | by zkonedogSee all my reviews

After watching the trailer for this movie, and being a big fan of baseball in general, I was really, really excited that this could be a winner. It looked like a taut, psychological take on the national pastime. What I found, however, was a movie that was a complete mess from beginning to end.

For a basic plot summary, "The Phenom" tells the story of Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons), an enormously talented pitching prospect who is having trouble harnessing his control. As a result, Hopper is sent to world-renowned sports psychologist Dr. Mobley (Paul Giamatti) in hopes of getting himself straightened out. During the course of his visits to Mobley, flashbacks reveal that many of Hop's problems may stem from overbearing father Hopper Sr. (Ethan Hawke).

The main problem with "The Phenom" is that it doesn't create any sort of emotional connection between the characters and the viewers. It basically just throws out a number of baseball clichés in place of meaningful character development. Even in the presence of some great actors (Giamatti & Hawk), this script/story just doesn't hold up. Heck, had the film just given me what the trailer showed it would have been at least decent. However, it ends up a muddled mess of clichés, flashbacks, and long dialogue scenes that don't seem to go anywhere or mean anything in the end.

Another big issue with the movie? I hate to criticize one single individual for the failure of an entire movie, but I will say this: Simmons (as the lead Hopper) either gave a poor performance or just wan't right for the roll. Never once did I feel caught up in what he was going through, likely because it didn't seem like he himself was too interested, either. I read a comment where this movie was called the "Good Will Hunting" (a film I don't enjoy all that much) of baseball flicks, but even in that effort at least Matt Damon gave a great effort as a mentally tortured youth. Simmons' character shows no such promise here.

So, unfortunately, "The Phenom" ended up being one of the poorest movies I've seen in quite some time. Whoever cut the trailer sure knew what they were doing, but other than that nothing goes right. The film needed to either go whole-hog into the baseball clichés, or not use them at all. Instead, the muddled middle is reached which, combined with a dud lead actor performance, sinks the entire project. I can't recommend this one in any way, shape, or form to anyone.

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Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Phenom See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Elephant Eye Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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