September 5, 2008

Everyone's Hero (2006)

This summer, my 5-year-old’s interest in baseball piqued a bit late. Mid-August, to be exact. However, his ability to hit a Wiffle Ball in our backyard, combined with his knowledge of “Ferret Jeter” (a character from Bear in the Big Blue House), piqued his interest just the same. So I sought out a movie for us to watch together that was a) about baseball, and b) amazingly, not a Disney or Pixar film.

In Everyone’s Hero, Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin) is the worst baseball player in his sandlot in 1932 New York City. But his dad (Mandy Patinkin), a janitor at Yankee Stadium, tells him to “always keep swinging” – not just in baseball, but in life. Later, Yankee discovers a magical talking baseball named Screwie (Rob Reiner) in his sandlot. Then news breaks that Yankees star Babe Ruth’s beloved bat Darlin’ (Whoopi Goldberg) is stolen, and Yankee's father is fired as a result. Yankee then vows to find Darlin’ (with Screwie reluctantly in tow) and return her to Babe Ruth before the Yankees lose the final game of the World Series (and also to get his dad’s job back).

Okay: one con, one pro…
Con: Reiner delivers Screwie’s dialogue with all the timing of an ancient Catskills comic, and I’ve heard enough of Goldberg’s “sassy” acting to last me a lifetime. For me, both performances wore thin by the film’s end.
Pro: The animation by IDT Entertainment (now Starz Media) is very well done – using facial expressions, depth perception, and shadowing worthy of a Pixar film.

Everyone’s Hero does have a bit of a Finding Nemo aftertaste (a journey to bring someone back, finding strength from within, “Always keep swinging” vs. “Just keep swimming”), but in the end it was fun to watch with my son. It’s a film for any dad who’s a fan of baseball nostalgia and who wasn’t an All-Star as a kid. That being said, it does have an ending that’s ridiculous for adult viewers — but probably a dream come true for any kid who loves baseball.

I guess calling it “ridiculous” is a bit subjective; the film does feature a talking ball and bat.

Coda: This was the last film for Christopher Reeve (co-director) and his wife, Dana (exec producer).

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
If they like baseball, yes. And even if they don’t, they would still probably enjoy the antics and adventures of Yankee, Screwie, and Darlin’ (isn’t that my lawyer’s firm?).

Will your FilmMother like it?
I would think she’d find it endearing, at least for its message of never giving up – I mean, “just keep swimming” – I mean, “always keep swinging.”

Everyone’s Hero
* Directors: Colin Brady, Christopher Reeve, Dan St. Pierre
* Screenwriters: Robert Kurtz, Jeff Hand
* Stars: Rob Reiner, William H. Macy, Whoopi Goldberg, Jake T. Austin, Robert Wagner, Forest Whitaker, Raven-Symone, Dana Reeve, Mandy Patinkin, Joe Torre
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy this movie for less at >>


Gemma said...

Awww, sounds really cute! Bet I'D like it, too! And, sir, you were, are and always will be an All-Star to all of us!!

Raymond said...

Man I don't even remember this movie being out. I'll add it to my list!

Steve G said...

Never heard of it. My son and I are big baseball fans; we'll have to check it out.

Vic said...

I saw this movie and, although I was not thrilled with it, my four year old son (at the time) loved it. It had everything he wanted, animation, baseball, and the ever-lovin' Yankees! :)

As an adult, however, I had to pinch myself occasionally to keep myself awake.


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