Old Skool Movie Review: The Natural

by Crom

Old Skool Movie Review
This months classic: The Natural

The American pastime: Baseball. There have been countless movies about the game, and the history of players fiction and otherwise. Few of them are worth watching, or even writing about, but the one that stands out amongst them all is this one. More then a movie about baseball, more then a movie about triumph. The Natural was a movie about the light, and the darkness. Robert Redford is a young baseball player, who for all accounts is the greatest that will ever play the game. On his way to the big leagues he is seduced by a girl, who shoots him and leaps to her own death. He falls into obscurity.

The New York Knights, a failing baseball team with an old coach, and a sinister partial owner, conspiring to snatch the team from Pop, the skip and owner of the club. Into town on the train comes a stranger. From nowhere in particular, with no past, no records, he steps up to the plate and takes the Knights to victory. With his “magical” bat, with the black, fire-branded letters “Wonder Boy”, he smashes the Knights opponents. In the course of his play, the “Judge” , the evil nemesis, attempts to persuade him to throw the season, and plunge the Knights into defeat, so the Judge will retain full ownership of the team. Despite warnings, and threats, he continues to play. Until, one day, the bullet that struck him down years earlier, finally surfaces in his stomach, having ripped it’s way there. Doctors tell him he can’t play the game. Judge tells him he can’t play the game. And, Pop tells him too. But, in their last game of the playoffs, last at bat, with the bases loaded, Wonder Boy smashed by a pitchers ball, he hits into the lights. Smashing them. And as he runs the bases, blood spilling down him uniform, sparks rain down, as if to tell him that the ball he hit struck the roof of the sky, and brought down the heavens.

There is no movie that speaks to honesty and integrity in the face of adversity more then this. When I first watched this movie, I was a boy, and afterwards there was something different about the way I looked at the simple things. Baseball is just a game, it’s not saving lives, or protecting the innocent. But if you were willing to die, just to keep the true spirit of people’s dreams in the hands of those capable of not exploiting it, then you have triumphed. This movie had an emotional impact on people, it made people believe in heroes that weren’t suited in blue, or climbed walls. It was the story of a hero who was just as normal as you and me, but was the best at what he did. It spoke to following your dreams, regardless of the obstacles in your path. Robert Redford was awes inspiring, with an excellent supporting cast including Kim Basinger, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. If you watch one movie about baseball in your life, I recommend watching this one. You’ll thank me.

  • Old Skool Movie Review: The Natural
  • by Crom
  • Published on January 1st, 2002
The Natural
Columbia/Tristar Studios
R.Redford, R.Duvall, R.Hobbs, G.Close

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