In the Dark

Beat the Clock

The Rookie
Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and 98 MPH Productions 
Directed by John Lee Hancock 
Screenplay by Mike Rich 
Released by Buena Vista and Walt Disney Pictures 

Produced by Nickelodeon Movies
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Screenplay by Rob Hedden and Andy Hedden
Released by Paramount Pictures

I have no idea whether Oscar Wilde took an interest in America’s national pastime, but I have little doubt that Disney’s new baseball film, The Rookie, would have intrigued him.  It palpably confirms his contention that life imitates art.

First-time director John Lee Hancock’s film is based on the unlikely story of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) who began his baseball career as a mildly promis-
ing southpaw pitcher in the minor leagues until injuries forced him to quit at age 25.  Then in 1998, he came back to pitch his first major-league game at 35.  Sound familiar?  That’s because Bernard Malamud had already told Morris’s story in his novel The Natural.  Malamud’s narrative concerns another gifted athlete named Roy Hobbes who finds his career brutally thwarted in youth and somehow manages to return to the game at 34, achieving a brief tenure on fame’s scorecard.  The difference between the...

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