The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Cormac McCarthy’s bones and Ridley Scott's style do not make The Counselor something more than an interesting curiosity. A film that seems destined more to be remembered as that move where Cameron Diaz does that thing with the car than anything else.
Aging catcher, "Crash" Davis (Kevin Costner), is hired by minor league baseball team the 'Durham Bulls' to guide rookie pitcher Ebby LaLoosh towards the major-leagues. LaLoosh has problems with attitude and control and
is described by Durham Bulls manager Joe Riggins as having 'a million dollar arm and a five cent brain'. The 'organization' believes Crash to be the perfect veteran presence to groom LaLoosh for 'The Show'.
Annie Savory (Susan Sarandon), a devotee of the 'Church of Baseball', picks one player every season to teach in the ways of love and baseball. Meeting both Crash and Laloosh at the local bar, after Crash and LaLoosh have had their initial confrontation, she invites both of them to her home. She informs them that she picks one player every season and that they are the front runners. Crash, not believing in his lack of choice but believing in many other things, walks out and Annie and LaLoosh begin their relationship.
"I want to announce my presence with authority!"
During the season both Annie and Crash, in their unique ways, begin
molding LaLoosh into a professional ball player. Crash offers advice
ranging about shower shoes and TV interviews with a competitive hostility. When LaLoosh begins shaking Crash's pitch calls off during a game, Crash informs the batter of the pitch, which is routinely sent over the fence teaching LaLoosh a valuable lesson. Annie meanwhile, reads Walt
Whitman to LaLoosh and the teaches him the finer points of love making. She coaches through positive reenforcement and convinces LaLoosh to take a nickname (Nuke) and not to over-think on the mound. While they are helping LaLoosh, the
sexual tension between Crash and Annie builds.
LaLoosh makes the show and his relationship with Annie comes to an end as her job is done. Crash meanwhile will have to stay in the minors. After LaLoosh's departure, the organization decides to let Crash go, as they have a young catcher they want to bring through the system. Crash seeks solace in Annie and their relationship finally begins.
Crash leaves Annie abruptly one day to end the season with a minor league club. He returns after the season is over and informs Annie that he's done as a player and wonders if he can make it to 'the show' as a manager. Annie decides it's time to stop her seasonal affairs and settle down.
The film was written by Ron Shelton, who was a minor league baseball player for 5 years. Quitting baseball at the age of 25 Shelton returned to college and graduated with a Masters of Fine Art.
Early in his film career Shleton wrote a draft of 'Bull Durham' called ' 'The Player To Be Named Later' (this title ended up as one of Crash Davis's opening lines in the film). At this stage the only thing the draft had in common with the finished product according to Shelton was "that it was about a catcher and a pitcher because they have a kind of synergistic relationship. You can’t make a movie about a left fielder and a first baseman! ".
During the drafting stage Shelton decided to let a woman tell the story. In a 2008 interview Shelton reveal that he "dictated that opening monologue on a
little micro-recorder while I was driving around North Carolina".
When Shelton pitched the idea to studios, most turned him down as they were not confident that he could also direct. Eventually Orion Pictures financed the film allowing Shelton to direct the film and giving him creative freedom.
A major reason Kevin Costner was chosen to play the lead was that he was a high baseball player and had a decent all-round technique. During filming, Costner hit two home runs.
The studio objected heavily to the casting of Tim Robbins for the film. The studio wanted Anthony Michael Hall but backed down when Shelton threatened to quit the film unless Robbins was cast.