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Wick's Review

Created Jun 01, 2019 06:25AM PST • Edited Jun 15, 2019 10:19PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Bull Durham set a new standard for sports movies. Jocks on screen had never been this smart, this sexy, this suave. It’s also a classic Susan Sarandon liberated-woman picture, here a JuCo English teacher with a thing for baseball players. She’s pretty and they’re dumb, until she runs into Kevin Costner’s Crash Davis.

    The upshot is sports movie immortality of the baseball and romcom varieties. As it happens, writer-director and onetime minor league ball player Ron Shelton wasn’t just a baseball guy. He went on to make two more great sports movies: White Men Can’t Jump (basketball) and Tin Cup (golf), that last again with Costner.

    One ding that Bull Durham must wear is that its baseball isn’t very good. Most of the gameplay simply doesn’t look like it’s played by great athletes. Notably, Tim Robbins hardly throws like a real pitcher.

    But that’s small potatoes for a delightful and delightfully smart movie like Bull Durham. Inside-the-park home run in ‘88, it still manages to steal third base some 30 years later. We’re talking Hall of Fame stuff.

  3. Really Great 4.5
    Kevin Costner & Susan Sarandon make Bull Durham the sexy benchmark that it is.

    Tim Robbins is more a relief pitcher.

    Real life being different than reel life, where she picked Costner, Sarandon shacked up with the much younger Robbins while making Bull Durham, then had two sons with him, married and stayed together for two decades, something of a Hollywood record for showbiz marriages. Sexy as that is…

    There’s only one all-time great moviestar in Bull Durham and that’s Kevin Costner, his Crash Davis an iconic role for him and for baseball. Costner is an ultimate stud-muffin, manly yet tender. He has the moviestar’s gift of coming back after being down, as with his “I Believe” speech in the nearby video.

    Sarandon’s Annie Savoy joins her Louise from Thelma and Louise as OG icons of liberated womanhood. Annie Savoy still resonates with women of the 21st century. In 2016, HelloGiggles essayist Maura McAndrew published Why Annie Savoy is my feminist hero.

    One supporting character needs to be called out: Max Patkin, the Clown Prince of Baseball, plays himself.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0


  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5


  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5


  8. Great 4.0

    Ron Shelton exploded the Ron Shelton Experience across America with Bull Durham in 1988, the tail end of the Reagan Boom. Shelton has now made the greatest trio of sports movies from a single writer-director. He followed up Bull Durham’s baseball with White Men Can’t Jump’s hoops and Tin Cup’s golf. Hat trick!

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Good 3.0

    On the positive side, loved how Shelton showed the Durham Bulls when they were playing well, as a team. His film shows them DubLike, i.e., playing like Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors, demonstrating the joy of the game, playing it like a dance as the ball pops from man to man.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.3

    Sexy, so sexy

  15. Sex Erotic 2.9
  16. Violence Fierce 1.7
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.4
  18. Glib 1.7

    Hollywood yarn aside, Bull Durham’s reality flaw is that it is about professional athletes who don’t look like top athletes, at least when it comes to playing baseball. For instance, the very charming scene of a bunch of drunk baseball players sliding into base on a flooded infield shows a bunch of guys who don’t know how to slide. Pete Rose slid face first, but the other 500 million baseball players go in feet-first.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0
  20. Biological Glib 2.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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