When veteran catcher Crash Davis is sent to the Durham Bulls to mentor a young up and coming pitcher, the two men find themselves at odds over how the game should be played. There are added complications in the form of an attractive woman named Annie who is attracted to both men, but commits herself to only one ballplayer a season, convinced their affair guarantees them success.
This was my first watch of Bull Durham. I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. I love sports films and I love romantic comedies, so… mesh them together?? It’s almost a guarantee I’ll love it. All three leads in this film are perfectly cast and it’s so fun to watch them all interact with each other given how different their characters are.
While Tim Robbins is pretty delightful as “Nuke” LaLoosh, an arrogant pitcher with not much going on upstairs, it’s really Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner who steal the show. Sarandon is seductive and appealing. Costner is surly and charismatic. Together they’ve got undeniable chemistry that keeps the movie’s romance chugging long and yet it’s never a given that they’ll end up together.
I also really enjoyed the way Nuke and Crash’s relationship evolved from adversaries to eventual friendship. Robbins’s role could have gotten lost along the way, put on the backburner for the romance between Sarandon’s Annie and Crash, but the movie is as much about baseball and the relationships between the teammates as it is about the romance.
Ron Shelton wrote an incredibly entertaining screenplay with some sharp and witty dialogue, and I honestly loved the baseball aspect of this movie as much as I did the blossoming attraction between Crash and Annie. Shelton paid close attention to the supporting characters and his love for the game shines through them. Even those with the shortest screentime still come across as fully fleshed-out people. And is there anything better than a crappy team coming together and rising above their mediocrity to find a way to win? It seriously gets me every time.
I can understand why so many people consider this one of the best sports movies of all time. It’s so much more than just your average romantic comedy, or even your average sports film. It’s a great movie, period, and one I would definitely recommend if you want something that doesn’t sink itself with the usual rom-com tropes.