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Hardball

4.0 out of 5 stars 377 customer reviews

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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.

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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
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKE4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hardball" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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 work 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 in 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 background story and gets a fairly detailed one. This is a small story that actually roars.
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Maybe one of the best acting on Keanu and the plot not too bad. The essentials are there about 1 man's effort to start a culture of chance in the "inner city" of chicago West side and Cabrini Greene.
if you want to know the real story read: "safe at home" by Bob or simply visit -Chicago Hope Academy- which is a mammoth step forward towards the right direction in making an impact in Chicago.

I gave it a bad review not because of the content or acting but because how the it did injustice to the real story. If not it would of been much higher rating.
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Good film. Underrated. Strives, mostly successfully, for realism in the projects. Good acting by Keanu Reeves. His character is unlikeable at first, and they really avoided making his transformation unbelievable--seemed to happen organically and through circumstances that were quite moving. Interesting the way the film portrays the way the white working class and underworld in the city still think they can look down on the black inhabitants of the projects. They walked a bit of a fine line with some racial stereotypes, as well as some cheesiness, but to my mind stayed mostly on the right side of things. Beautiful speech near the end, and most sports cliches avoided. Recommend; may show to my older kids after warning about the language, valuable reminder that many are not blessed with safe homes or involved and caring adults, and have to overcome many daunting obstacles just to "show up"
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Keanu Reeves did a great job in this movie. Our grandson plays baseball so we have been trying to watch as many baseball movies as possible. After we saw it with both grandsons I decided we really needed to get it for their parents. All of us absolutely loved this movie. Very emotional and good.
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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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