Thousand-yard stare kept on the ballMovies
Trouble With The Curve - Trailer
Gus Lobel has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, age is starting to catch up with him.PT2M27S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-26n3d 620 349 September 27, 2012
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
ANY film that opens with the 82-year-old Clint Eastwood contemplating his offscreen penis (''I outlived ya, ya little bastard'') must be some kind of personal statement. Trouble with the Curve is billed as the directorial debut of Robert Lorenz, a professional associate of Eastwood since the 1990s, while the script is by Randy Brown, another first-timer. Yet this modest but winning baseball comedy-drama is so close in style and substance to Eastwood's own work, it seems possible he served as uncredited co-director, as he reportedly did on earlier films such as Tightrope (1984).
Suggestively, this is a story about collaboration between generations, one that parallels Eastwood's own quest for contemporary relevance.
Mickey (Amy Adams) and Gus (Clint Eastwood) share a passion for baseball in Trouble with the Curve.
He stars as Gus Lobel, a legendary talent scout for the Atlanta Braves whose career is threatened by eyesight problems which, being an ornery old cuss, he stubbornly ignores.
Amy Adams plays his daughter, Mickey, a workaholic lawyer who has inherited her father's cranky nature along with his passion for the game. Though the pair struggle to hold a civil conversation, she cares about his well-being - and so she takes a few days off to accompany him to North Carolina on what might be his final scouting trip, discreetly helping him keep an eye on the field.
Eastwood seems to have approached this project in the same relaxed spirit he'd play a round of golf. The plot twists are few, the stakes low and the focus squarely on the three main characters - the third being the wisecracking Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a younger scout and a former protege of Gus whose career was cut short by injury not long after entering the big league. The trio form a gang of sorts, united by their sense they truly understand what baseball is all about.
Where Bennett Miller's recent film Moneyball celebrated the modern statistical methods that have transformed recruiting, Trouble with the Curve speaks up for the old school. The film champions individuals who can arrive at judgments using their own eyes and ears - which, of course, is the task of a director as well. That said, Gus in particular spends a fair amount of time avoiding reality, especially when it's close to home.
The film conveys this idea with a visual intelligence that belies its lack of stylistic flash, chiefly through conventional shot-reverse-shot editing, where the actors take turns occupying the frame while looking offscreen.
This criss-crossing of looks tells us most of what we need to know about the relationships in the story. Despite his increasingly poor vision, Gus is more comfortable watching Mickey from a distance - deploying Eastwood's famous thousand-yard stare - than he is meeting her gaze head-on.
Further variations on themes of seeing and blindness are written into the script. One subplot involves an arrogant young player (Joe Massingill) who motivates himself by ''visualising'' his success, at the expense of heeding what's in front of his nose. In another surprising scene, Gus looks into the mirror and finds himself confronted by his darkest memories: an archetypal Eastwood tableau, but one that would have felt bizarrely out of place had the film starred anyone else.
Such disquieting moments aside, the narrative feels almost intentionally hokey and diagrammatic, a framework that gives the actors freedom to display their best-known qualities: Eastwood's stony charisma, Adams' spunk, Timberlake's light, good-natured irony. In this sense the film takes inspiration from baseball itself - where the rules and positions are known in advance, yet no two games are exactly alike.
The title refers to the curve balls that any decent player should be able to hit, but also seems apt for a film where characters are prone to communicate in oblique, private ways. Once we've seen Johnny testing Mickey's knowledge of baseball trivia, there's no need for him to say out loud that she's won his heart.