A baseball comedy about life in the lowly Carolina League. Some of the sidelong glances at ballpark ambience are perhaps (just about) enough to get on the good side of any fan of the sport. But scriptwriter and first-time director Ron Shelton doesn't do much to flesh out the various members of the team or its hangers-on, and the scope of the action quickly shrinks to just three: a young pitching phenom, a veteran catcher, and a self-styled quasi-religiose groupie. A romantic triangle, of sorts, develops. The phenom (Tim Robbins) is a highly successful portrait in the Ring Lardner vein, with appropriate updatings: surfer's patois, Iron Maiden and Mötley Crüe T-shirts, an oft-mentioned Porsche to convince himself and others of his own importance. But the cool, cynical, philosophical veteran, an axis of nobility around which the Lardneresque numbskull dizzily spins, is very much an intellectual's fantasy figure, achieving almost tragic (or at least existential) stature by the end. Although he (Kevin Costner) and the groupie (Susan Sarandon) seem right for each other -- swapping opinions, but no supporting arguments, on Susan Sontag, for instance -- they don't seem right for the movie. Or (same difference) right for baseball. (1988) — Duncan Shepherd
This movie is not currently in theaters.