The Rookie [DVD] [2002]

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Jim Morris, the real-life hero of The Rookie, has an inspirational story all but guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. Blessed with an awesome fastball, Morris nursed dreams of pitching for Major League Baseball during his 20s; injuries and bad luck, however, forced him to give up hope and become a teacher and coach. Years later, pressed by students and colleagues to try out for “the Show” one more time, Morris discovered he still had a powerful arm, and he was signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Rookie is at its best throughout this first chapter in Morris’s mid-life adventure, though the rest of the film finds fresh angles on more familiar baseball-movie conventions. Dennis Quaid is soulful and charismatic as Morris, perfect in his depiction of a man both thankful and startled that destiny has given one of the good guys his due. –Tom Keogh