So Bad It’s Good: Pitching Love and Catching Faith
I feel so bad for my girl Lala… the movie does Heather dirty. She’s portrayed as a wicked Jezebel trying to tempt our noble hero because of her “competitive side”. Her desire to defile these scores of chaste young men at Salt Lake Community College is inherent to her sinful nature. She’s kind of dating all these different guys at once, but also not really. Who they are and why they know each other never makes any sense because everyone is trying to be as vague as possible. Heather may seem like a lovely two-dimensional person who doesn’t need to be anyone but herself, but by the film’s end she’ll learn that kiss-hungry harlots need a good man to fix them. That’s not what we see, but it’s what the movie really wants us to believe.
That man, Tyler, is insufferable. I think he’s supposed to be the relatable protagonist to Christian audiences (who may be the only ones capable of deciphering what the intent of this film is morally), but he spends a lot of time acting like a douchey pick-up artist. At certain points he does “nice” stuff, like picking up something someone dropped, or accepting a girl’s invitation to go out even though he doesn’t want to. The main thing to know about Tyler is that he is not the type of person who kisses because one time his mom told him that it’s the moral thing to do. No one ever questions the morality of that inaction, nor do they discuss the actual religious motivation.
Gotta keep your motivations as obscure as possible.
The film’s opening might be the best movie making in the whole thing. The tight shots on Heather (Kent) move at a good pace to create the atmosphere of a sports drama, and the movie should have had so much more. Sure, there are minor editing mistakes like showing us a perfect side view of the stunt pitcher, or bad consistency with Heather’s arm positioning… there are also so many shoe shots I thought this was a Tarantino movie. But that’s all forgivable because the timing functions well dramatically (note that this is the last time this is the case).
Also the catcher is cheesing, she needs to take this montage seriously!
We see Heather’s softball trophies, so we know she’s really good – she got one that has her name on it in 2013 (who knows what the award was), and the other was All-Conference Player of the Year in 2012 (with five consecutive shutouts!). I can’t tell when this movie takes place… is she still attending community college at this point? It seems like she is later in the movie, but no one is ever seen attending classes. Heather and her friends won’t discuss academics, jobs or non-sports aspirations at all.
Then we get a faux home video credits montage set to the intro of an experimental 80s synth ballad, and the whole thing falls apart.
At least there’s softball? That’s a plus. They could’ve at least shot it on a camcorder to add an organic feeling to the footage as opposed to the “in camera” graphics that are obviously added in post-production. I wonder what this footage was taken for in the film’s universe.
That scene melts terribly into the scene where Tyler is introduced. The music is ridiculous throughout – it starts with an uplifting pop-country jam, turns into ‘Looney Tunes’ background music, and then goes back to the first song. None of it is appropriate for a movie that wants to be taken seriously.
There’s a large group of people playing softball who we’ll never see again because they don’t matter. Their performances have a neo-realist quality to them, and by that I mean it seems like they just grabbed students that attend Salt Lake Community College to play all these unnamed characters. They’re all terrible at softball, and the women are there only to ogle Tyler and his friend.
Who are these people?
That friend is Brandon, and he’s constantly wearing a V-neck that went out of style five years before the movie was shot. He plays a role in the story… kind of. He is named and shows up in multiple scenes, and that’s half the battle in this movie. Brandon can’t act except when he’s relieved that Tyler is batting for him and he therefore doesn’t have to show us how bad he is at softball. There are also two women who will play major roles, but they do not have names yet. One of them doesn’t ever formally get a name, though you can figure it out when someone mentions a name and it could only be the protagonist’s unnamed sister. No one else in this scene matters, and I don’t even think there’s enough of them to field a full side of softball so what’s the point in even having them? Twilight managed to have a better baseball playing scene.
Tyler is played by Derek Boone, who was 48 when this movie was released.
Tyler is a stud community college baseball player, and he’s played by someone who is old enough to be the father of every character in this movie. The movie wants him to be suave and dashing, but he strolls up and quips about how he can handle lady sports because he’s a prick. Heather is clearly not a fan of his attitude, but I think she’s supposed to secretly like that he’s a jerk. Their banter is cringeworthy.
Tyler: Coming your way so you better be ready.
*cut to girl pictured above* [Was he talking to her? Or to Heather? Did the editor forget who the main character was?]
Heather: That’s if you hit it.
Tyler: Oh, I’ll hit it don’t you worry about that.
*bites lip seductively as she says a synonym for penis*
[They are whispering this dialogue; what is happening?]
Heather: Ready for this one, pretty boy?
Please sound less convincing. This is like placeholder dialogue that you use when you want to get the gist of a scene down on paper. You’re supposed to come back and actually edit it later. It’s also hard to establish a flirty tone when characters are standing 90 feet from each other. Yeah, mirrored close shots mimic intimacy, but why not put these characters in each other’s faces? Do they know each other? They go to the same school, Heather lives with his ex and sister, they’re both star athletes in the same sport. However, both the acting and the dialogue give me the impression that they are not familiar with each other.
- Fast X (2023) Review - May 22, 2023
- I’m With Terry: Marlon Brando’s Method Performance in ‘On the Waterfront’ - March 11, 2023
- A Career-Saving Change: Katharine Hepburn’s Natural Performance in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ - March 9, 2023
Wow!! 10 page critique by Mr Jacobs? We enjoyed the very unique and sensitive handling of the subject matter of the movie! It was very interesting and novel! Thank you so much! Interested in watching more of your movies! Thank you!