Jim Morris is a Texas high school chemistry teacher and coach of the school's baseball team. He's always loved baseball and as a way of motivating his players, he agrees to go to a professional try-out if they win the championship. He once had aspirations to be a professional baseball player but an injury brought that to an end. Sure enough, the 39 year-old father of three finds himself at a camp for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and he somehow seems to have regained his pitching arm, easily throwing a 98 mph fastball. Signed to a contract, he toils in the minor leagues while his supportive wife stays home raising their children. He soon finds himself called up to the big club and pitching for Tampa which is in Texas playing the Rangers. Based on a true story.
From the same director
Dennis Quaid (Jimmy Morris), Rachel Griffiths (Lorri Morris), Jay Hernandez (Joaquin 'Wack' Campos), Beth Grant (Olline), Angus T. Jones (Hunter Morris), Brian Cox (Jim Morris Sr.), Rick Gonzalez (Rudy Bonilla), Chad Lindberg (Joe David West), Angelo Spizzirri (Joel De La Garza), Royce D. Applegate (Henry), Russell Richardson (Brooks), Raynor Scheine (Frank), David Blackwell (Cal), Blue Deckert (Baseball Scout Dave Patterson), Danny Kamin (Durham Manager Mac (as Daniel Kamin)), Matt Williams (Owl Player #1), Miguel Salas (Owl Player #2), Eddie Alvarado (Owl Player #3), Brandon Garner (Owl Player #4), Ernest Vidaure (Owl Player #5), Canuto Rey Guerrero (Owl Player #6), Rebecca Spicher (Jessica), Raymond Rivera (Ray - Janitor), Marco Sanchez (Sanchez), Cynthia Dorn (Esther)...
Mike Rich (written by)
My favorite films are those which are based on an interesting true story, and are well made. "The Rookie" fits that bill, and I rate it very highly. At first glance it appears to be about getting to play baseball. In fact, it is about making your dreams come true, and the power of friendship. Baseball just happens to be the subject matter. The first one-hour movie is about a 10-member high school team in West Texas that barely manages to win one game each year. It is about their coach inspiring them to become the district champs and go to the state tournament in 1999.
The second one-hour movie comes about from a "deal" the kids made with the coach. "If we win district, then you have to go to a tryout with a professional baseball team." They do, so he does. And to his and everyone else's surprise, his 85-mph fastball as a 20-year-old has become a 98-mph one as a 35-year-old. The films hints that it might have been divine intervention, a prayer to St Rita, the patron of the impossible. Might have been!!
Dennis Quaid is a bit older than 35, but he does a good job and is believable as science teacher, coach, and finally a surprised big-league pitcher in Arlington, Tx stadium, where he strikes out his very first big-league batter. The real Jim played two seasons, not particularly distinguished, but that point is way secondary. The journey, and the way he made it, with support from family and his baseball kids is what this film is all about.
The DVD is very nice, with a great picture and decent use of the 5.1 Dolby surround sound. Extras include footage of the real Jim, some original footage of his playing days, and his narration and re-enactment of his first trip to a big-league mound. Great stuff! Plus a few, moderately interesting deleted scenes explained by the director.
5 wins & 4 nominations
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards • Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards • ESPY Awards • Heartland Film Festival • Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards • Young Artist Awards
El novato (Argentina (video title); Colombia; Spain) • Дебютантът (Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)) • Desafio do Destino (Brazil) • La recrue (Canada (French title)) • Die Entscheidung - Eine wahre Geschichte (Germany) • Rêve de champion (France) • Kataktontas to oneiro (Greece (DVD title)) • Későn kezdő (Hungary) • Un sogno una vittoria (Italy) • Old Rookie (Japan (English title))
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