Bull Durham, Kevin Costner, and Me…Still Loving the Bull in “Bull Durham.”
Last night, I took a moment to channel surf in between Olympic commercial breaks. After Gabby Douglas lost out on a medal for the uneven bars, I let my fingers do the walking. It isn’t often I get complete control of the remote, but my husband had fallen asleep. You would have thought I would have latched on to some PBS British series, but no. I went the other way.
Enter “Bull Durham.” It’s one of those rare films that I enjoy so much, I just can’t glide by it when it’s on. I have to stop. I have to partake of adorable Kevin Costner and the rest of the crew in that funny and sentimental movie.
True, the film may resonate with me more than others because of my time spent working in the front office for a professional baseball team. But here’s the best part of my story: When I worked at the Orioles, Kevin Costner visited us and took batting practice. He’d just made “Bull Durham” and then “Field of Dreams.” He was at his peak, and we got to meet him. When my director at the time introduced me to him, I couldn’t speak. Seriously. I had such a big crush on him, I was rendered speechless. My mouth opened as I reached to shake his hand, but nothing came out. (And for those of you who know me well, this is quite hard to do…) Tom Silardi, an actor who plays one of the members of the Durham Bulls, is in the film; he also visited us and he signed a photo still of the cast of “Bull Durham.” My love for that movie is so deep, that the photograph hangs framed in my basement, along with other great baseball memorabilia.
“Bull Durham” is funny—the comedic timing of the actors is hilarious. There are so many classic scenes, some of the best being between Crash (Costner) and Nuke (Tim Robbins), and I’ve posted two great ones for your viewing pleasure. Another of my favorite scenes is when the team is gathered on the mound and they all have issues—there’s a curse on Jose’s glove, Nuke can’t concentrate, and no one knows what to get Jimmy and Millie for their wedding. Every time I see it—even all these years later—it still makes me laugh.
And sure, some of the plot may be far-fetched or embellished, but who the hell cares? It’s totally entertaining. Ron Shelton tells great stories of the minor league baseball life and of a washed up former major-leaguer who meets a minor league groupie (Susan Sarandon). But it’s done with such finesse. Costner is perfect as cool, experienced Crash Davis, and Tim Robbins plays the ignorant, cocky Nuke LaLoosh so well, we both like and can’t stand him at the same time. And then there’s Annie (Sarandon)…a middle-aged mess of a woman who can’t let go of her youth. Until she meets Crash.
I could go on and on about this film, but why should I? It’s around. If you haven’t seen it in a while, check it out. It’s funny, somewhat poignant, and sexy. Who could ask for more in a baseball film?