Ryan Dunne has all the talent needed to make the Big Leagues, but a temper that has always gotten in the way. When his hometown Cape Cod League team gives him one last shot, will he finally have it all come together (and get the girl (or perhaps because he got the girl))? Find out in… Summer Catch.
How?! Ryan Dunne is on his last chance. After getting kicked off the baseball teams at Boston College and Framingham State, he’s been stuck mowing lawns with his dad. But this summer he’s getting to play with the Chatham A’s, his hometown Cape Cod League baseball team that could actually get him recognized by scouts. That is if his bad temper and personal troubles don’t get in the way. First, he’s pretty much always at odds with his dad and brother. Bummer. Second, he’s totally into a summer girl, Tenley, who is also totally into him. Sounds great, except her snobby dad is being a real snob and is trying his damndest to get him out of the picture. Double Bummer. Third, he keeps on blowing games… which actually seems like the biggest issue. Mix into this a whole bunch of shenanigans by Ryan’s teammates, including his best bud Matthew Lillard, and we got ourselves a game. But most of that is fairly trivial. That’s because we are super invested in this love story. Can’t get enough of it. Forget baseball, give me more of those sweet, sweet Ryan-Tenley (RyLey?) scenes. Near the end of the season, and after he’s been benched, Ryan saves the star pitcher of the team from a burning building. This results in the star pitcher being sent home and Ryan starting The Big Game and getting One Last Chance. Meanwhile, Tenley is ready to listen to her father and say goodbye to Ryan forever. While she heads off to the airport Ryan is pitching the game of his life and is on the verge of a no-hitter. Suddenly in the ninth inning he realizes that it’s all about love (and I’m not talking about the love of the game) and ditches the no-hitter and stops Tenley before she leaves. But that’s not all! He still gets a contract with the Phillies (yay!). They smooch and everyone is like ‘fuck baseball, right?’ THE END.
Why?! Love. Duh. Both the love between Tenley and Ryan and the love that each have for their passions (his passion for throwing heat and her passion for being an architect and probably… like… designing a real eco-friendly building or something). Everyone else just wants to get laaaaaiiiidddd. Nice. *high five*
Who?! Check out them cameos. I personally enjoyed Ken Griffey Jr.’s cameo at the end the best, but Hank Aaron randomly showing up as a scout is pretty astonishing. But this all pales in comparison to John C. McGinley being uncredited in the film. He has numerous lines in the film, all of which are done in what might be the worst accent I have ever seen put to film. Every once in a while a role this big goes uncredited (Kathy Bates in Rumor Has It… comes to mind) and it’s always a little bit of a mystery to me. Interestingly Beverly D’Angelo also went unbilled in a slightly smaller part… starting to look like a trend.
What?! My word. A full Chatham A’s uniform went on sale last year and allegedly was sold for $50… I say allegedly because, seeing as I do not currently possess said uniform, I do not believe such a thing could have occurred. We also had a large number of product placements here including, but not limited to, Coca-Cola, Life cereal, Sam Adams, Bass, etc. etc. etc. They almost came so fast and furious that I couldn’t keep up.
Where?! The sheer number of times the town of Chatham’s name is invoked might in fact be a Settings record. We even have Biel’s sister trying to figure out the best Chatham mascot that really evokes the true spirit of Chatham. Turns out that’s a drunk sailor. Gonna give this an A because the large setting of Cape Cod is indeed irreplaceable.
When?! It should be a crime that there wasn’t a brief July 4th Jamboree scene in the middle of the film. Perhaps our boy Freddie is going to scope out the chicks at the Jamboree with his teammates, but also kinda knows that Biel will be there. And then when he meets up with her he’s like let’s go grab an ice cream cone and they go up in the ferris wheel. And then maybe it gets stuck and it’s cute and they joke around. And then her boyfriend shows up and he gets drunk and dances with cows and gets thrown into a drum set… you know, classic July 4th Jamboree shenanigans. Anyway, this is obviously an A+ summer flick. It lives summer.
This really hits a lot of marks for a classic BMT film. We’ve got audio flashbacks and cameos up the wazoo. We’ve got some big hysterical acting choices by the adults in the room (John C. McGinley being the biggest culprit… no wonder he went uncredited). And we’ve got what is essentially Here on Earth level rom com schlock mixed with semi-competent sports movie (with a dash of insulting locker room talk). It all should have worked out to be a HoF contender… except that like 40% of the film is actually an OK baseball film. It really did boggle the mind. I can only assume that the film was written as a straight baseball film, but then was turned into a rom com in rewrites. It just has to be… right? RIGHT?! I still kinda loved it for BMT. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Boys of Summah! Boys of Summah! Boys of Summah! Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – Give me that Lillard / Freddy duo. They are best buds and I needed them to show it. Also I want to see how bad they all probably are at baseball. Finally, since I grew up on Cape Cod, the setting is naturally rather intriguing. My expectations for the film: I had seen this film before, so it is a little tough to get my expectations up. If the setting was solid, the romance was steamy, and the boys of summer looked terrible trying to play baseball the film would have went far beyond any reasonable expectations. I hoped for at least two of those three.
The Good – I actually thought they did a good job developing and showcasing the different types of players one might see in the Cape Cod League. The local decent player, the guy just looking to boost his bargaining power, the college player looking for some experience between semesters, etc. And surprisingly the baseball often didn’t look half bad (as long as an actor wasn’t actually hitting a ball). Good balance between baseball and non-baseball as well.
The Bad – Which is actually weird, because they go all in on the locker room talk in the baseball scenes. Lillard in particular is just disgusting. And they are balancing those gross male-dominated scenes with … maybe the cheesiest romance ever filmed? So while the time allotted to each subject is balanced, somehow the entire film is off-balance because of it. North Carolina doesn’t really look like the Cape even if Hollywood wants you to believe it does. The acting is atrocious, basically top-to-bottom (Fred Ward is maybe an exception). Even people who are good, like John C. McGinley, are just horrible. And with the film ending with audio and visual flashbacks galore, and maybe like four cheesy monologues that go on for days … I have a feeling the director specifically was overwhelmed by the project, and was probably giving McGinley directions like “just play it like an old timey scout you know? Like ‘Hey, Ryan, you really got the stuff, you see? Just toss it like a real bag of beans, you see?’, and then snap your suspenders”.
The BMT – Hmmmm, it is a decent question. Like, is this a top ten worst sports movie? It is a quintessential sports rom-com. Fever Pitch and Playing For Keeps come to mind. But bad ones are surprisingly rare. Sports comedies you have things like Juwanna Mann, Caddyshack 2, Benchwarmers, Rookie of the Year, etc. … I don’t know. I think this is just one of many. It’s best bet is in a compilation of Freddy Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard bromance films. That’s really where it shines. Did it meet my expectations?: I think so. While it kind of missed on the markers I set out in the preview, the thing I wasn’t really expecting was how poorly directed it was going to be. This is Audio Flashback: The Movie, and that saves it a bit. I wrote a lot of notes, which means I wasn’t bored, it was just a different experience than I was preparing myself for which threw things off.
Roast-radamus – I think the Sam Adams alone is crazy enough to warrant consideration for Worst Product Placement (What?). And we definitely get Setting as a Character (Where?) with Chatham, Massachusetts, which is deep Cape Cod. The film is all about Cape Cod and what it is like living on a set in North Carolina that is supposed to look like it. Is this a labor day film? Nope, looking at the schedule the entire film likely takes place in June and July. I’m surprised that there wasn’t a little Fourth of Juuuuuuuuly celebration though, great opportunity for some canoodling. Could have a shot at BMT maybe, but I doubt it.
StreetCreditReport.com – While I can find a few worst baseball films lists with this included naturally, I don’t feel the need to link them since they are of questionable quality. It managed to make a surprising appearance on this top 50 worst rom coms list. Which seems appropriate. And then is manages an astonishing 12th on this top 20 worst sports movies list. Impressive cred. That last review is spot on as well … why even bother with the baseball when the relationship dramas dominate most of the storylines anyways?
You Just Got Schooled – This is starting to look like a Good Movie Twins section. This week I decided to look around for a baseball documentary. I would have watched the Ken Burns doc, but it is like … 20 hours long or something. Instead I watched Netflix’s Battered Bastards of Baseball about the Portland Mavericks owned by Bing Russell, Kurt Russell’s father. The first half of this film is super interesting, kind of showing how the death of independent baseball in the US really did leave behind a weird amount of talent, and how a guy who cared for the game could harness that for good. The second half ends up less interesting, but overall it certainly is a cool tale. I used to live right near the Saint Paul Saints stadium in Saint Paul, and their games were a blast despite the fact that they were independent, and teams do end up getting talent from those types of leagues a lot more often these days. Very good doc to go with Summer Catch, even if I think it would have worked better as a 40 minute 30 for 30 or something.