Friday Flicks: The Babe

Spring Training has started and the offseason is finally over! But if you’re stuck in the wintry north while the boys are basking in the sun, you might want a little help easing back into that much sunshine. I’ll help you transition your baseball viewing by continuing the baseball movie reviews through spring training. Check out “Friday Flicks” at lunchtime.

Last week‘s flick was a better-than-expected remake of a British soccer movie. This week, our flick falls somewhere in the middle of heartbreak and nostalgia for The Great Bambino.

After watching John Goodman play The Sultan of Swat in The Babe (1992), you might find it difficult to remember what Babe Ruth really looks like. From the moment Goodman steps in front of the camera, sweeping Ruth’s painful childhood under the rug b


The film begins with a claim that the depicted events are based on actual occurrences. It then takes a brief glimpse at the sad, lonely and painful childhood Ruth led, and it illustrates how difficult it was for an uneducated and unwanted young man to navigate high society and living independently in the real world, his rise to god-like status and his fall from society’s good graces.ut not getting rid of the evidence, you’ll swear the Babe got into the film business before he died.

One of the strongest themes the film illustrates about Ruth’s life is the presence of contradictions in the choices he makes. One of the saddest areas is seen in the relationship with his first wife, Helen Ruth. It’s apparent that he loves her very much, but yet he has no qualms cheating on her nightly and without any pretense of trying to hide it. He also vacillates between dimwitted naivety and true childlike innocence. While he naïvely expects an expensive or outrageous gift to solve any quarrel with those he is closest to, he also takes true joy in aiding the most unfortunate of children.

The movie certainly doesn’t forget the sport of baseball! His journey from an unknown buffoon, to his meteoric rise to greatness and fame as a homerun king, to his humiliating demise centers around his ability to crush homerun balls like no one has seen before. At times, I wondered if the depiction of the trash talking players and beligerant fans might be a little hyperbolic. It also caused me to reflect on how much the star athletes of today are scrutinized and disected, and how that affects their personal lives. What wasn’t hyperoble, however, is the awesome presence of Babe that is conveyed through the film, a presence that commands your attention because you know to expect great things when he stops onto the baseball diamond.

Is it a hit? I give it a homerun. Honestly, I’d have given it a grand slam if the word “homerun” wasn’t synonymous with “Babe Ruth”. By far, I enjoyed this move most of those I’ve reviewed during our “Friday Flicks” series. At any given moment, I couldn’t decide whether to love The Babe, loathe him or pity him. It painted a picture of a human, not just a demigod, who still remains one of the most mythical figures in baseball.

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