THE ROOKIE
2002, Buena Vista Pictures, 127 min, USA, Dir: John Lee Hancock

This heart-warming sports drama is based on the true story of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid), a high school coach who’d had his shot playing baseball, blew out his shoulder, and retired without ever realizing his dream to play in the big leagues. In 1999 he made a bet with his perpetually losing team: If they won the district championship, Morris – who threw a 98 mph fastball – would try out for the majors. The team went from worst to first, and Jim was soon on the road to becoming the oldest rookie in the major leagues.


THE NATURAL
1984, Sony Repertory, 134 min, USA, Dir: Barry Levinson

Based on the 1952 novel by Bernard Malamud. Barry Levinson (RAIN MAN, BUGSY) directs Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, an over-the-hill rookie who appears out of nowhere to lead a losing 1930s baseball team, the New York Knights, to the top. A tragic turn had destroyed Hobbs' early playing career, and now he is going to live what should have been. The all-star cast features Glenn Close (nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award), Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall and Barbara Hershey. The great music score, one of the most recognized in film history, is by Randy Newman. Life often imitates art, as the Oscar-nominated score is now recognized as the soundtrack behind the legendary Kirk Gibson home run for the L.A. Dodgers in the 1988 World Series. Redford’s bat, "Wonderboy," rivals CITIZEN KANE’s sleigh, "Rosebud," as one of Hollywood’s best-known props. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.


DOWNSIZING
2017, Paramount, 135 min, USA, Dir: Alexander Payne

This sci-fi satire imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world. With the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha for a new downsized community, taking the irreversible leap that will trigger life-changing adventures when they become small.


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