Trouble with the Curve
starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Matthew Lillard, John Goodman, Robert Patrick and Justin Timberlake
written by Randy Brown
directed by Robert Lorenz
Trouble with the Curve is another highly praised Eastwood performance. Clint is kind of unique in that late in life he has hit upon a great creative streak, acting in and directing films of a quality that most beginning or mid-life directors/actors would kill for. However, I see this as another Eastwood Old Man movie, and I’m sick of his cranky old man movies: Unforgiven;Million Dollar Baby; Gran Torino, and now this. I can almost smell the old man stink right off the DVD. It’s like Woody Allen continuing to make angst-ridden horny Jew movies well into his seventies. Allen is a great director, a real artist, and his signature plots used to be funny, but no more. These kinds of romance tales are ridiculous from a man of his vintage. Maybe what we are seeing in Eastwood movies is a man mightily resisting his long, slow exit from the world. I mean, he’s not going quietly. In that case, good for him. But when I reach his age (which I don’t expect to do) I imagine I just won’t have the energy to care about much anymore.
Trouble with the Curve is a baseball movie. Eastwood is a scout for a Major League team. But he has trouble with his eyesight among other age-related things and he’s not at the top of his game. He won’t admit any decay in his ability, and he won’t retire, either. So his partly-estranged daughter, a lawyer, is quietly persuaded to accompany her old man on a rural scouting mission. Eastwood is an old fashioned baseball aficionado. He deeply believes in the merits of physically attending Minor League games to see athletes in action. His competition in the head office, though, is devoted to statistics and computers and never leaves the office to actually watch games and scout up and coming talent in person. Conflicting paradigms. Generation gap.
In the end, the old man finds flaws in a potential batter that the desk-bound computer dweeb (played by Matthew Lillard) cannot see. The prospect being scouted, while a good slugger, cannot for the life of him hit a curve ball, even when he knows it’s coming. That’s the “trouble with the curve.”
Tradition is vindicated. The old man triumphs over the young guy, plus he and his daughter are reconciled. There’s a lot of Puritan goodness to spread around like butter.