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This Old Cub (2004)
A great baseball story about a living legend!
"This Old Cub" is a funny and moving look at the life of Ron Santo, the great third baseman, and now excellent WGN broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs (with his partner, Pat Hughes - they make a great radio team!). Baseball fans will love the many great stories told - like what Santo did when he received his first major league paycheck, or how he over came a problem when he was very ill and seeing triple up at the plate. I was astonished to learn many things in this film; while I knew that Santo had diabetes, I did not know that people with his type of diabetes had only a life expectancy of 25 back when he was diagnosed with it. This movie will appeal to all people (not just baseball fans), because anytime you encounter a film about someone who so passionately loves what he does, and loves and appreciates life as immensely as Ron Santo does, that makes for an uplifting and joyful time at the movies. (A portion of the proceeds go to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - all the more reason to see this terrific film!)
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Garner is wonderful, the movie's not bad.
My wife and I saw this at a sneak preview tonight, and we both thought it was very enjoyable. While the concept would sometimes le-e-e-an over towards sitcom material at times, Jennifer Garner's winning performance kept saving the day (and the scenes) again and again. Her willingness to throw herself so completely into being this 13 year old was terrific fun to watch; for example, she swishes her drinks in her mouth while people are talking to her - very funny! And the scene at a flailing dance party shows Garner being absolutely fearless - and hilarious. Mark Ruffalo is an excellent match for Garner, because he grounds the story in a sweet and wistful reality. (He's still delivering on the great promise he showed in You Can Count On Me.) The only quibbles I had with the film is that they seemed a little too afraid to touch on anything too emotional; for instance, a very poignant scene between Garner and her mother is cut away from the-very-second-it's-been-established. I have the feeling that there are studio head fingerprints all over those cuts before the print went out to theatres. If they had held with some of those stronger moments a bit longer, they could have had a classic. As it is, it's a very pleasant time at the movies - Jennifer Garner is very, very funny, immediately likable, and we're anxiously awaiting her next film!