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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.95%
Just Average: 14.75%
Pretty Crappy: 13.11%
Sucks: 3.28%

5 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Bull Durham
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by Jack Sommersby

"The Best Sports Film and the Best Film of 1988"
5 stars

Sure, there have been some marvelous baseball comedies by the likes of "The Bad News Bears" and "Major League", but neither comes close to the cinematic magic writer/director Ron Shelton graced the silver screen with here.

Screenwriter Ron Shelton wrote a dandy screenplay for 1986's The Best of Times, which dealt with small-town high-school football and showcased an array of appealing, funny, interesting characters. In his directorial debut, Bull Durham, which he also wrote, he's managed to incorporate a similar strong character base into a quaint tale of a love triangle during a season of minor-league baseball. And the result is nothing short of magical. Kevin Costner plays Crash Davis, an articulate veteran catcher whose baseball knowledge unfortunately exceeds his talent; Tim Robbins is Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, a rookie pitcher who's got a "million-dollar arm but a five-cent head"; and Susan Sarandon is Annie Savoy, the Durham Bulls's number-one fan who chooses one player each season to tutor the rudiments of baseball and sex to (she ends up with Nuke but longs for Crash). Instead of following the rules of most sports films (even his own The Best of Times), Shelton doesn't structure the story so the final payoff is a final crucial game; rather, the payoff that's worked up to is purely emotional, with two soul mates finally letting down their guards, accepting their limitations and mortality, and feeling agog over the rich rewards of doing so. The film manages to hit as many emotional highs as a daytime tv drama, yet they feel genuine and, more importantly, earned; the main characters don't run to a particular type, and their moods and joys and frustrations aren't easily pegged -- you sometimes have to interpret their silences as well as their words. Shelton is some kind of genius at keeping the dramatics perfectly blended with the humor, which is a considerably arduous task considering just how gut-funny the comedy is. Whether it's Nuke muttering to himself on the mound that wearing a garter belt doesn't make him "queer", Crash succumbing to an empire's taunting to get him thrown out of a game, a time-out on the pitcher's mound that results in a discussion about the perfect wedding gift, all are perfect examples of the comedy growing from incident and character rather than blatantly presented gags. Costner, Sarandon, and Robbins have never been better, and the film is a near-flawless masterpiece that has continued to stand the test of time.

The special-edition DVD is a must-have for fans, with an ingratiating audio commentary by Costner and Robbins.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1088&reviewer=327
originally posted: 03/26/05 13:24:37
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell smart & funny 4 stars
9/18/16 Suzanne great writing - love all 3 characters 5 stars
6/16/13 Jeff Wilder Brilliant! Characterization and dialogue superb! 5 stars
10/17/07 Grady "Never ever let fungus grow on your shower shoes" enough said great movie!!! 5 stars
6/18/07 Oliver Favorite movie of all-time, not just "sports movie", even the role players are brilliant 5 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens One of the best baseball movies made 4 stars
4/24/05 OverTheRainbow Love it- especially Tim Burton in a garter belt! 5 stars
4/02/05 Eric best sports film of all time 5 stars
3/31/05 Carolyn Rathburn Long slow deep wet kisses, that says it all. 5 stars
3/29/05 Skeeve Yet another baseball movie which is amazingly more fun to watch than the real thing! 5 stars
1/20/05 Jason Kaul The sexiest movie S.S. has done since Rocky Horror. A must see for baseball fans. 4 stars
12/31/04 DM Proof that Costner was funny shit before he was just.....shit. 4 stars
7/01/04 John excellent dialogue and good story - funny too 4 stars
6/14/04 T. Maj Kevin Kostner is adorable--what the hell happened to him?? 5 stars
4/08/04 M. Rosado "I hate it when people get the words wrong!" 5 stars
1/15/04 Desperado you idiotic dipshits who think this isnt the best sports movie ever,u r just that, dipshits 5 stars
4/28/03 Jin lame 1 stars
4/18/03 Rhoda Dohr I knew this was total crap LONG before flap over Robbins, Sarandon &Hall Of Fame! 1 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby The best sports comedy ever! A masterpiece with magnificent dialogue and acting. 5 stars
12/03/02 Jack Wolverton The Church of Baseball 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum More Ron Shelton dumbing down for the sports fan 3 stars
3/16/02 FlaFan Some good lines, but overall I'm not too impressed. 3 stars
9/03/01 spaceworm So good one can even excuse Costner's participation (he's even mostly good in it). 4 stars
5/20/01 R.W. Welch Okay love and baseball pic with a rare look at life in the minor leagues. 4 stars
2/13/01 Jake Typical mindless, trashy, American fare. 2 stars
5/23/00 The Bomb 69 excellent stuff, well written and acted (not a costner fan either) 5 stars
4/14/00 Elvisfan WAY overwritten and Kevin was too smug/knowing which made him annoying to watch 2 stars
7/15/99 GothamDK One of the best sports movies of all-time. Classic lines. 5 stars
5/19/99 Katsat One of my favorite movies of all time 5 stars
10/04/98 {{{OZ}}} I dig baseball movies. And sex. But wasn't all over this movie. Some good bits. 4 stars
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  02-Jun-1988 (R)


  02-Feb-1988 (M)

Directed by
  Ron Shelton

Written by
  Ron Shelton

  Kevin Costner
  Susan Sarandon
  Tim Robbins
  Trey Wilson
  Robert Wuhl
  William O'Leary

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