The Phenom 2.0 stars

Phenom movie poster

Fear Strikes Out the Great Santini in this “love me daddy” baseball pic that earns points for spending less than 5 percent of its time on the diamond and refusing to end in open competition...so far as the playing field is concerned. We never see the five consecutive wild pitches that send the career of promising rookie hurler Hooper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) into a tailspin. Millions of American viewers did, though, enough that this “untamed thoroughbred wanting to become a racehorse” seeks the services of a sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti, son of late MLB commissioner, Bart). Superb though he may be, Ethan Hawke brings nothing new to the role of Hopper Sr., a hard-living wreck of a former athlete who raised a son ashamed to take after his father. Writer-director Noah Buschel doesn’t need dialogue to tell his story. A strategically placed pistol-packing gang mural juxtaposed with a bank of sports scouts, their speed guns locked and loaded, said more than much of the shopworn antagonism that followed. 2016.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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