Monday, July 8, 2013

42

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Swing away, Jackie Robinson!




42 – 4 out of 5

Baseball is an American pastime…at least, that’s what I’ve been told over and over again. To be honest, I don’t even understand how the game is played. Does it involve throwing bases around like a ball? Is twenty-sided dice involved?  Surely a golden snitch must come into play somehow.

"Alright, Robinson, let's get you to your podracer.  It's time for some baseball."


"My cigar is telling me something...get me Jackie
Robinson!"
Anyway, back in the late 40s, Africa Americans were still less than a second class citizen to White America and the concept of integration in the game of baseball (or society in general) was as foreign the concept of a YouTube video without a whole host of racist comments in today's era. 42 tells the story that ended up changing the world when Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decided that all those pale bodies reflecting in the sun on the ball field was dangerous to the retinas of all those in attendance and decided to bring the immensely talented and gifted Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) up from the minors and let him dominate on the Brooklyn Dodgers (that was his actual reason for doing this [citation needed]). The film shows the troubles Robinson faced trying to play the game he loved while he inspired the black community and raised the ire of the white one. Armed with nothing but a wooden bat and the ability to steal bases and hit homeruns like nobody else, Robinson breaks down the racial barriers and went on to become a legend…a legend worthy of making a biopic on!


He just realized how awesome he is and that they'll make movies about him
in the future.


My lack of baseball knowledge aside, like anyone who has ever studied history and the civil rights movement, I am familiar with the amazing achievements done by Robinson—his achievements in the movement, that is, I still don’t understand all the stats from his baseball career (an R.B.I is some sort of food preservative, right?). Getting to see the impact he left on the history of our country in this film only helps to make Robinson look larger than life but, at the same time, a fish out of water that had no idea the lasting change he would have on the world. Do you really think it’s a coincidence that his number was 42? 42 is, after all, The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.

Little known fact:  Enrico Polazzo did the national anthem.


Not only did I really like the fact that this movie went out of its way to really make it look and feel like the late 40s with its costumes and sets (to the point I was about to start doing the Charleston or whatever the hell dance they were doing then—truth be told, I didn’t feel like Google-ing the dance crazes of the 40s for this review) but the acting and the real-life drama this film showcases made it feel so damn authentic and realistic in its delivery; only enhancing the look and feel of the era. However, my favorite part had to have been watching the incredible drama the movie unfolds before you like Boseman as Robinson dealing with the manager for the Philadelphia Phillies (played by Alan Tudyk) taunting the soon-to-be-legend with racial slurs.

"I'll stop that black man from playing baseball with my mind powers!"


Not only is Boseman performance just terrific as you watch him swallow heaps and heaps of pride in order to not run over and bash the manager’s face in with the potential weapon in his hands that could easily stop being utilized for hitting baseballs and traded in for bashing racist testicles but it’s a role I’ve never seen Tudyk ever play—I’ll be honest, it was a little weird seeing Wash use the ugliest word in existence. However, these scenes just spoke volumes of the harsh reality that Robinson had to face being the first black player in the majors. Watching him try and ignore the taunts, seeing his teammates start to sympathize with his pain and seeing the hope in Branch Rickey’s face when he knows that Robinson is strong enough to overcome it and make history really made for an emotionally powerful and intense sports drama.

My hope is that Boseman grabbed Tudyk's ass in order to get that face.


Robinson’s story is one of hope and understanding and when you have tremendous performances from great actors involved in that story, it really helped make the film feel nothing like a film but a view into the heart of the times and experiences that Robinson went through. Boseman was fantastic as the history making ballplayer and Harrison Ford gave a performance the likes of which I haven’t seen from him ever as Branch Rickey. Watching these two share scenes together was nothing less than awesomeness incarnate.

And Christopher Meloni is in the film.  Who doesn't love Meloni?


42 is more than just a sports film; it’s more than a biopic about the man who become the icon of a generation and a statement about demolishing racial barriers. The movie is an inspiration. The film is one of those stories from our history that shows how far our country has come towards equality…and all it took was baseball to move it along. I realize this is a cheesy end to my review but the film’s drama really pulls at the heartstrings and really makes a person swell with pride as you watch the story of Jackie Robinson. With excellent production value recreating an era with an insane amount of detail to the truly amazing and powerful performances, 42 is an awesome film…even to a person who never watches sports (that’s me, I don’t watch sports…just wanted to make that clear.)

The movie made me feel like I was running the bases with Robinson...granted, if I wasrunning the bases with him, I would be out of breath and passed out by the time I
hit the 2nd base...

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