38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2004
The Rookie is well-done. It doesn't have the feel of a traditional 'tug-on-your-heartstrings' family film. Instead, scenes are shot artistically, there is space between events, the director and writers gave the time and energy to tell the story and tell the story well, and emotional cues aren't yanked one time too many.
So, the story may be well-known to most but it's a phenomenal one to tell. Based on true life story of Jim Morris, he finds his way to Major League Baseball late in life as a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays through the encouragement of his High School baseball team. What is really nice is the way the writers took the linear story and added an additional element of history to it. The story goes that in Big Springs, Texas some Nuns early on made a risky financial investment and prayed to the Saint of impossible dreams. Jim Morris's dream may seemed impossible but it is a source of encouragement and inspiration for the rest of us following our dreams.
Dennis Quaid is quite good in the role and plays Jim Morris faithfully. The setting is a key element in a seemingly run-down town and run-down baseball lot in West Texas...a place that dreams are carried through. It brings Jim Morris to his MLB debut at the Ballpark in Arlington which is good to see an authentic setting with real teams and real players instead of fictitious stand-ins.
Fight to keep a dry eye with
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2002
The Rookie can probably be considered as one of the great baseball classics in the likes of Field of Dreams and Bull Durham. Based on the true story of Jim Morris, this is a moving tale of a man who gets a second shot at a life long dream. Husband and a father of three, Morris is a teacher at Big Lake, Texas, who was playing in the minor league until he hurt his shoulder. Now he coaches the school's baseball team, and to inspire his players, he makes a deal with them. If they are able to win the district title, Morris agrees to try out for the major league.
Director John Lee Hancock took his time with the character development, and it pays off as he gives us a tiny glimpse of Morris' childhood, of how much the game of baseball means to him. Dennis Quaid does an impressive job portraying Morris, I'd even say that he is totally perfect for the role, he is expressive, convincing and the acting just blows me away. Rachel Griffiths is a good complement as Morris' wife Lorri, supportive and a woman with incredible inner toughness, I also enjoyed her performance.
The Rookie is a great family film, and it's immensely entertaining, I highly recommend it even if you're not a sports fan.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This is a heart warming, family friendly Disney movie that is based upon the true story of Texan Jim Morris, a baseball buff and minor leagues player has been, who becomes a high school teacher and baseball coach in a town where football is king. To motivate the lackluster baseball team he coaches, Jim strikes a deal with the team, which the the team initiates, knowing that their coach pitches a mean fast ball. Jim agrees that if they wins the district championship, he will try out for a major leagues baseball team.
Much to his surprise and chagrin, the high school team he coaches goes on to take it all, and the thirty something Jim is forced to come to terms with his pledge. He does so, trying out for a major leagues baseball team, and finds himself living a dream come true. How can he not, with a fast ball clocking at 98 miles per hour?
Dennis Quaid, with his shy, boyish charm and ingratiating toothy grin, is terrific in the role of Jim Morris. Rachel Griffiths is excellent as his down to earth, supportive wife. The rest of the cast also give very good performances. With its G rating, this film is suitable for all ages. It is an enjoyable, feel good, message movie.
The DVD has a number of excellent bonus features, in additional to the usual deleted scenes segment. Baseball buffs and those who play the game will certainly enjoy the feature "Spring Training: Tips From the Pros". I especially enjoyed the featurette "The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris", in which Jim Morris himself tells in his own words the incredible journey that led to the realization of his dream.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2005
I'm not much of a sports fan, and yet, quite a few of my favorite movies, interestingly enough, are sports movies. It was in watching Rookie that I realized why, as I listened to Jim Morris, played by Dennis Quaid, talk about his dreams. Sports movies are often less about sports and more about beating the odds to capture a dream held close to the heart. These are stories of hope, courage, determination, persistence, and a passion for doing what one is meant to do.
In line with this, sports movies are fequently devoid of special effects. No glitz. No flashy distraction. Just good down to earth stories with a lot of heart.
Rookie ranks with perhaps the top ten, if not top five, of my favorite movies. All the elements of a good plot are here. It doesn't hurt that the story is a true one, based on Jim Morris, as told in his own words, about how he came to play for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as an "old man."
The story begins with the boy, whose military, emotionally distant father is completely insensitive to his son's need for his attention and support. Boy loves baseball, with a passion, but father moves the family from town to town in pursuit of his military career, and he runs his family in a similarly military manner: cold, commanding, no arguments. From time to time, Jim makes an effort to solicit his father's approval, but it is not forthcoming.
The final military post brings the family to a small town in Texas, and it seems no one there cares about baseball. What the boy hasn't found in his father, he appears to find in the warm heart of a store owner who may not carry "baseball stuff" among his merchandise, but, seeing the crestfallen and lonely boy's face at this news, immediately brings out a catalog with promises of ordering all things baseball.
The story jumps to the adult Morris. He has a family, a wife who is the good woman behind the good man, two small children. His young son, Hunter, played by Angus T. Jones (today of "Two and a Half Men" fame), is something of a star in this movie, too, tugging at the heartstrings as he portrays how a son looks to his father to be his hero. Morris has become a high school science teacher who coaches the school baseball team, the Owls. His dreams, it seems, are long over. He had been on the brink of playing professional baseball, but injuries kept him on the sidelines, and he quit his dream before it was his. Morris's bitterness with his father's lack of support is still very much alive in the adult son, and there are great scenes between the man and his elderly father (played by Brian Cox), who with age has mellowed, has been divorced by his wife, lives alone, and still has no understanding about the sport, but at last senses he has not been much of a dad.
When the Owls do poorly on the field, coach Morris chides them on not playing with enough passion. He talks to them about not giving up. I cheered out loud, yes!, when his team called him on his own hypocrisy. They have seen him pitch, they know their coach not only still has his good arm, they know he still aches to follow his dream, even if he has lost courage. A deal is struck. They will win their tournament, but then their coach must go to the try-outs.
They win the tournament.
It's an absolutely wonderful scene as Morris struggles with his children while going to the try-outs. He hasn't had the guts to tell his wife about this "foolish" settling of a deal, and he ends up with a crying baby in a stroller, his small son cheering from the back of a pickup truck, while other athletes chuckle at the "old man" trying to pitch. Until he throws the pitch. He clocks 98 miles per hour.
And it's a beautiful thing, how Morris continues to struggle with doubts and is torn between following his old dream and being with the family he so loves. He goes back and forth more than once. He even asks his father for advice--who gives him advice he doesn't want to hear. At one point, his wife withholds her support. This is madness, and the family can't live on $600 a month while daddy plays ball. But when she realizes how much her son Hunter looks up to his father, how important it is to not only hear the good advice of a father, but to see that father as a role model who shows the courage and determination to face his fears and give his dream a try, well, she gives in. She not only gives in, she becomes her husband's biggest fan, except perhaps Hunter.
Morris ends up playing major league baseball. The hard pursuit comes to its most satisfying end. Yes, Hunter, your daddy is a hero. And Morris, pitching his first major league game, finally makes peace with his father. Who still may not understand baseball. But who is finally starting to understand about being a father.
Six stars. Do not miss.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2005
My wife and I watched this movie, and loved it. We watched it on Christmas day. This is an inspirational movie, and it is based on real life.
I heard Jim Morris, who Dennis Quaid protrayed in this movie, interviewed on a national sports-talk program. One question was if the movie was as it really happened, or if they Hollywoodized it. Morris mentioned there were two things in the movie that were different from real life. One was that it took his experiences as a coach at two High Schools, and made it just one High School. The other is a scene where he throws a ball past a radar detector, to demonstrate his speed and his lack of knowledge of that speed. In other words, you have what really happened.
The review in the Indianapolis Star said it followed two major movie cliches. Who cares? It was enjoyable to watch as an adult, and it is a movie that children can also enjoy. And we definitely need more movies like that!
Back to the movie: very good supporting cast. Dennis Quaid is the only name I recognize.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2002
Disney's effort to make a G-rated drama that adults can enjoy doesn't totally succeed, but the story of the high school teacher with dreams of playing in the major leagues is nevertheless enjoyable and inspirational.
The biggest drawback of the movie is that if you've seen the previews you can pretty much tell what's going to happen. Also, a number of the characters also are stereotyped, so this film isn't going to win any awards for originality.
In spite of those problems, as well as the fact that Quaid is a bit old for the role, the film does succeed in being uplifting. After all, much of the story is true, even some of the details. It's still fun to see someone defy the odds, and there are some good moral lessons taught in this film as well. And the kids are cute!
The film is rated G, so there's little here to be offensive (other than some obnoxious product placements). But the rating doesn't automatically mean this film is suitable for kids. Much of the film would be too slow-moving for the little tykes, and children probably aren't going to identify with a high school science teacher. But if you're looking for a pleasant diversion that isn't nearly as hokey as it sounds, this Disney film is worth seeing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2005
Disney's "The Rookie," was a true story based on the life of Jimmy Morris who had inspired to play professional baseball since he was five. Jimmy had always played in little leagues despite the instability of his life as his dad was in the military and they had to move constantly. Finally, they settled down in West Texas. Unfortunately for Jimmy, baseball was not popular at all in that place as football was the main interest of the locals.
From that, the movie soon jumped to the current time whereby Jimmy was the high school science teacher as well as baseball coach. Jimmy had a supportive wife, and three children. His eldest child, Hunter was also very much interested in baseball and looked up to his father as his role model. The high school baseball team that Jimmy was coaching was losing constantly and for the previous two years, they had only won one game in each of the year. Soon, the coach and the players made a bet; if they win the district championship game, their coach should go for a tryout. Sure enough, the team won every game in that season, including the district championship and Jimmy went for a tryout. The rest was history.
I really enjoy the movie a lot as it's extremely inspirational. It deals with a man's dream and the moral of the story is that, no matter how old you are, it's not too late to make your dream come true. In addition to that, the movie also dealt with relationships; the hostile relationship between Jimmy and his father, the relationship between Jimmy and his wife, which was very moving as well as the relationship between Jimmy and his son, Hunter. On top of that, I enjoy the extras that came with the DVD, particularly "The Inspirational Story," whereby we get to meet the real Jimmy Morris, his mother as well as the producers and screenwriter of the movie. It helps to gain a deeper understanding of the movie and just Jimmy himself. A highly recommended movie!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2006
I am not a movie buff like i used to be during college days. Now i dont even want to watch a movie even if it is a good one. I happened to watch Rookie, Evelyn and The assassination of Richard Nixon in the span of last 6 months maybe. Rookie is a movie for huge dreamer like me. such a movie would encourage anyone with goals and dreams for his life. I like the scene where Jim Morris confronts his baseball team after they lose real bad and tells them that if they dont have dreams they dont have anything. It is true in any mans case as well. The movie is about having dreams and pursing it without quitting which is very important even though there seems to be hurdles along our way. But not quitting should be our motto. The movie jumps from the time when Jim was a young lad in Big lake Texas to the time he grows into a chemistry teacher. What happened in the middle of his life hasnt been potrayed. The cast Dennis Quaid was brilliant. SO was Rachel Griffiths and their little boy Hunter. The score of the movie was good as well. I dont understand baseball but the movie is simply true to life. Watch it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Jim Morris's father (to Jim): "It's okay to think about what you want to do until it was time to start doing what you were meant to do."
THE ROOKIE tells the inspirational true story of pitcher Jim Morris, who in 1999 finally made it to major league baseball at the ripe old age of 35. Morris might've only stuck around in the big leagues for 2 years (injuries cropped up), but, give this underdog tremendous props, he was able to realize his life-long dream. Now, to me, THE ROOKIE seems more of a family flick (with some baseball thrown in) rather than specifically a sports movie. Not that it matters. Family flick, sports movie. Listen, it's a must see picture.
The plot now: Ever since he was a very young boy Jim Morris has loved baseball. Even as his father's military job kept the family constantly on the move, he never lost his passion for the game. At last finding stability in the dusty little oiling town of Big Lake, West Texas, Jim grows up and gets a chance at the minor league, only to succumb to debilitating injuries and forced to give up the sport. For most folks, that'll be the end of the story. Not for Jim Morris.
Cut to many years later. Jim is now a family man, with a loving wife and three wonderful kids. He's a high school science teacher and coach of the high school baseball team, which has only won one game each for the last two seasons. Most times Jim still likes to throw the baseball. Unfathomably he finds himself throwing harder than ever, now throwing heat up to the high 90's, a fact which doesn't go unnoticed by his high school baseball team. The story's turning point comes when, after a particularly lousy game by his high school kids, Jim makes a deal with them. Should they reach the state playoffs, Jim'll try out again for the majors. Well, they do. So he does.
THE ROOKIE may be based on a true story, but, in its warm spirit and longshot underdog-ity, there's almost an element of fantasy here, of a wish realized and a dream achieved. In a way, it reminds me of Field of Dreams (Widescreen Two-Disc Anniversary Edition). Inspirational? Absolutely. Heartwarming. Most definitely. I have nothing negative to say about this film. It teaches lessons in perseverance and sacrifice and faith in family and in yourself. Sure, some of the scenes are contrived, but, guess what, these moments still brought a lump to my throat.
The cast is very good, with a particular nod to Dennis Quaid, who is excellent and warm and keeps the fairy tale aspects mostly grounded. And, y'know, Dennis still has his go-to saucy big grin and his easy charisma. Jim's father tells him: "It's okay to think about what you want to do until it was time to start doing what you were meant to do." And Dennis wonderfully conveys the conflict he struggles thru, which stems from discarding practicality and family obligations in order to chase his rainbow. Rachel Griffiths's Lorri Morris gets my vote for most understanding wife of that year.
Special features include: the audio commentary by Dennis Quaid and Director John Lee Hancock; "The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris" - a 20 minute featurette spent with the real life Jim Morris as he relives the moments which inspired the film; "Spring Training" - the film's baseball coordinator gives tips on pitching, catching, fielding, hitting, and on the proper application of mustard on hot dogs; and 7 deleted scenes (total of almost 18 minutes), each scene with an intro by the director.
If you haven't seen THE ROOKIE yet, you're missing out on something good. And see this one with your family, so you can hug 'em all throughout the movie.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2002
What a great story. Inspiring. My son loved it. And, it's a true story.
Quaid did an expert job of bringing this story home. Very believable performance. We are Devil Rays fans, so this one had to be true to life for us. We were already familiar with the background....
The story is about a former big leaguer that is benched due to injuries. It goes into how baseball is his biggest passion. Even through all the upheavels of his life while he was growing up. He always kept the dream alive. After the big league, he settles down to raise a family in a small town in Texas. He is science teacher and baseball coach at the local high school.
Somehow (I won't say how) the team discovers his past and challenges him to give it another try. He takes the challenge and makes it to the big time.
Enough of that... It's also a story of a boy growing into a man, a man trying to make amends to his grown son about the failure of being there for him. A wife and family being there to help make the tough decisions. A town that believes in the dream. Friendship. Love. Sportsmanship. Team.
A really good film. No violence. No obscene words. No explicit scenes. Just a good film with a good story.