Foul language leaves 'Hardball' far from a home run
By BILLY NORRIS
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 17, 2001
Summary: Conor O'Neill (Keanu Reeves) is a drunk and a gambler who digs himself deeper holes every day of his life. After blowing nearly $12,000 on bad bets, he's in some trouble. He turns to an old pal at a financial securities company for a loan. His friend agrees to help him out under one condition: He must coach a baseball team in the housing projects that the company sponsors. Conor agrees and gets $500 a week to coach this misfit team, who call themselves the Kekambas. The team begins to win, and they're off on a race to the "ship" (championship) while Conor is off on a race for his life.
My view: This movie was inspired by a nonfiction book written by Daniel Coyle, A Season in the Projects, about the formation of a Little League baseball organization filled with Chicago's inner-city kids in the early 1990s. I think it's a good idea, though, to view this film with the mindset that it's a total piece of fiction, since there's no way to know what is fact and what is fiction without reading the book first. I liked the movie's story, but the kids on the baseball team used extreme profanity, and a lot of it, which certainly takes away from the family values and lessons that could be learned here. I believe this is one of Reeves' better movies, although he doesn't really show much deep emotion.
Favorite part: There was one kid on the baseball team who pitched with his Walkman headphones on and danced every time he threw a pitch. This kid was really funny!
Least favorite part: The ending of this movie was incredibly unexpected. I can't tell you what happened without spoiling it, but it left me feeling extremely sad.
Recommendations: Even though this is a movie about kids and baseball, I don't think it's appropriate for elementary school kids mainly because of the language. I recommend this for older kids as a good movie to see on a rainy day when you've got nothing else to do.
- Billy Norris, 13, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.
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