Polman: You saw the Jackie Robinson movie, now read the book

From SABR member Jeff Polman at The Huffington Post on May 1, 2013:

I’m thrilled that 42 is smashing baseball movie box office records like so many weak sliders, and seems poised to bypass Moneyball soon as the all-time champ. If anything, it may help pave the way for more (and better) baseball films, a genre decidedly lacking in unforgettable classics. This isn’t necessarily the fault of filmmakers; real baseball has so much innate drama and embedded history that cinematic depictions tend to fall short.

42 fell way short for me. While the acting was serviceable and the CGI work that created the old late ’40s ballparks astonishing, nearly everything else about Brian Helgeland’s movie seemed to be encased in a cliche-stuffed, Hollywoodized, slow-motion nostalgia bubble that robbed Jackie Robinson’s character of any nuance and framed the fight against bigotry in the simplest, black-and-white (so to speak) way imaginable. Again, for audiences either unaccustomed to baseball movies or only somewhat cognizant of the game’s rich, complex history, 42 is a suitable primer for them, but having left the theatre feeling manipulated and unengaged by the story and characters, I was thirsty for something a lot more satisfying in the Jackie department.

And boy, did I ever find it.

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-polman/42-you-saw-the-movie-now-_b_3186746.html

Related link: Filmmaker Brian Helgeland brings Jackie Robinson legend to life in 42 (April 11, 2013)

Originally published: May 1, 2013. Last Updated: May 1, 2013.