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360 customer reviews

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(Feb 19, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane and D.B. Sweeney score in this uplifting story of triumph over adversity that "hits an emotional home run." Conor O'Neill (Reeves) is a down-on-his-luck gambler in debt to dangerous loan sharks. Desperate for cash, Conor reluctantly takes a job coaching a youth baseball team. The "team" turns out to be a ragtag group of tough-talking kids from Chicago's inner city. Secretly, Conor plans to desert the team after he wins a big bet. But the stakes are higher than Conor imagined: The kids need someone to believe in. As Conor wrestles with his past, the kids start to teach him some lessons that will forever change his future-that responsibility and trust must be earned and hope can appear in the most unlikely places.

Keanu Reeves stars in this story that might best be described as Bad News Bears in the projects. Conor O'Neill (Reeves) is a charming ne'er-do-well with a disturbing gambling addiction. His penchant for betting on the wrong teams leaves him owing several thousand dollars to very violent people, and he ends up coaching a children's baseball team to pay off his debt. The movie skimps a bit on process: the kids start out as terrible players and become better but we don't see how; Conor starts caring but we don't see why. As by-the-numbers movies go, though, it isn't a bad one. The young actors in the cast are talented and understated. Most of the kids' characters are only barely fleshed out by the script, but this keeps the movie from being hijacked by extra-cute mugging. Parents should be cautioned--this movie has some very violent scenes that will frighten young children, and swearing is depicted as precocious and adorable. Still, like a baseball game, it isn't a bad way to spend your time. --Ali Davis

Special Features

  • The making of Hardball
  • Three deleted scenes
  • Interstitials
  • Music video - "Harball" by Lil Bow Wow, Lil'Wayne, Lil'Zane & Sammie

Product Details

  • Actors: Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawkes, Bryan Hearne, Julian Griffith
  • Directors: Brian Robbins
  • Writers: Daniel Coyle, John Gatins
  • Producers: Brian Robbins, Erwin Stoff, Herb Gains, Kevin McCormick, Michael Tollin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (360 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKE4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,779 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hardball" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Fortenberry on February 22, 2002
Format: DVD
The movie proved that Keanu Reeves is very capable of expressing emotions on screen, contrary to his harshest critics. He was able to convey his initial attitude change from someone who was only coaching a kid's baseball team for money he desparately needed, to someone who genuinely cared with subtle finesse. It wasn't a cartoon character performance. The child actors also performed at a professional level not expected from their age group.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl Fechter on July 13, 2011
Format: DVD
I found this Chicago based baseball movie different than most involving children's teams. This bunch of disbelieving kids didn't quite need their coach as much as Coach Conor O'Neill (Keanu Reeves) needed them. Elizabeth Wilkes (Diane Lane) enters the mix portraying their school teacher with a much shorter screen time but a none the less important player. They begin a relationship that does not find itself altogether developed in the long run, it does works well with the story: An uninspired replacement coach and the unlikely Little League team that turns his life around in the Cabrini Green housing project of Chicago.

Directed by Brian Robbins from the book written by Daniel Coyle, I liked this because the focus remained on the children's relationship with their coach. Although this leaves the door wide open for the budding couple at the ending, the movie closes in almost entirely on the strong emotional pull these boys have on Conor. They must overcome many hardships to find their place within their own selves and in their surrounding lives.

Conor gets coerced into coaching because of having to pay off his ever increasing gambling debts. The team starts out quite poorly on the field and looked to me that they would need an incredible amount of development to become cohesive as a team. They start to inch their way ahead. When Conor starts as their extremely reluctant coach, they immediately begin to play well rendering the point of needing each other and making a quick connection to him and as a team.

The real expressed character development befalls Coach Conor O'Neill, who definitely requires a lead in story and gets a fairly detailed one. This is a small story that actually roars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By maxmom on January 9, 2009
Format: DVD
In general I find Keanu Reeves to be stiff, wooden and lacking in acting skills. This is one of only 4 movies I really liked and appreciated him in. (Speed, The Watcher and The Gift are the others). In Hardball which is based on a true story Reeves plays a ne-er do well gambler with a big debt to pay off and ends up coaching an inner city little league team. The kids on the team are coping with all of the ills of project living you can imagine - random shootings, death, drugs, gangs, intimidation. Baseball offers them some respite from their reality. One of the sweetest scenes of this movie is when Reeves takes the kids to see their first major league baseball game and they yell to Sammy Sosa who acknowledges them...sweet, sweet, sweet. Watching the kids and spectators start singing Big Poppa by Biggie Smalls during a game is a hoot and a half. The ending is such a tear jerker that it is almost embarrassing to feel so moved by such a small story. And realize that it's a true story.

All in all this is a terrific little movie. Reeves and the children are truly a joy to watch. The story jerks your emotions all over the place but it never feels cloying or fake - just a bit manipulated. It's a shame this movie had very little support and was only in theaters for a few minutes. Consequently I often give this as a gift to people so they'll have the opportunity to see such a lovely moving film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hunger4Knowledge on November 14, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
It is entertaining and the characters weren't flat. The situation in the projects was the same as when I grew up there (only on the West Coast). He and the teacher fought and actually had differences and didn't jump into bed with each other after one night. All and all it was real and heartwarming and sad and very special.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Meesha on November 24, 2003
Format: DVD
Once more, a Keanu Reeves film lives up to its expectations. Meaning, I wasn't expecting much from this film. It flopped at the box office, and was released after Keanu Reeves hit the second highlight of his career: The Matrix. Instead, I found myself really liking this film. OK, so some of the kids were really hard to understand, but I was smiling most of the time.
Keanu Reeves plays a character very similar to the characters he played in Feeling Minnesota & The Last Time I Committed Suicide. Characters that I was never very keen on. They smoke, they drink, they get beaten up. Keanu Reeves is all of this in the film. He has no friends, except ones who are after him for money, he doesn't have a girlfriend, and he is very much portrayed as an alcholic chain-smoker. So why did I buy this film? Cos it was on sale. I seem to like buying rubbish films that are on sale.
But I liked this. I really did. The kids are cute and fun, and even though it was mainly a film about sport, it doesn't focus too much on the subject, and its about a sport I can actually understand!
The kids are great, despite the swearing and the fact that some of them don't look old enough to know what they're saying actually means. They seem to really connect with Keanu's character, and you can also see this in the behind the scenes in the extras.
There are a few underlying stories in this, which could have been brought more to the forefront, instead of letting dwell in the background. These include the love story between Keanu Reeves & Diane Lane, the kids families, the school ...
Three quarters of the way through this, I had tears streaming down my face. Surprisingly enough, Keanu does NOT die, despite what people think. But it is sad, and I won't spoil it for anyone, but I was crying.
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