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Bull Durham
BLU-RAY disk
Sep 27, 2010 By: Aaron the H
Bull Durham order
Director:
Ron Shelton

Actors:
Kevin Costner
Susan Sarandon
Tim Robbins

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An aging minor league baseball player (Costner) is brought onto a team to mentor a hotshot young prospect (Robbins) and help him find his pitch. Along the way, both men end up competing for the heart of the sexy team groupie (Sarandon).
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Bull Durham is commonly recognized as one of the greatest sports films of all-time. And while it is certainly a flick worthy of that stature, itís definitely not like many sports films youíve ever seen (probably why itís so famous). The closest comparison I could draw would be another classic, Major League. The two films are very similar in style; comedic sports flicks that bring goofiness in spades, while never straying far from reality.

But what separates Bull Durham from the rest of the crowd is that the film is not at all about a teamís quest to win the championship- itís more about the characters, their love lives and their evolution as humans (don't worry it's not as existential as I'm making it sound). The fact that the script comes from a former minor league ballplayer and one of the great sports film writers of all-time doesnít hurt either.

Writer/director Ron Shelton (White Men Can't Jump) infuses the seldom-seen world of minor league baseball with such wit and authenticity that itís hard not to be engaged in the stories of the under-appreciated workhorses of America's pastime. Sure these guys may not have thousands of screaming fans, but theyíve got feelings and stories and work just as hard as the superstars (when theyíre not busy chasing tail or starting bar fights) and we find ourselves relating to them more than we ever expected to. As an added bonus, itís one of the most quotable films Iíve ever seen. (ďWilliam Blake?!Ē)

Costner nowadays is well-known for playing over-the-hill athletes (Tin Cup, For Love of the Game) and for playing a baseball die-hard (Field of Dreams). But it was his role here as Crash, a wise-cracking, fast-talking minor league catcher, that really broke him onto the scene. Heís terrific and hilarious here, a perfect compliment to co-star Tim Robbins, who is equally comical as a young, unruly pitcher with a shot at making it to ďthe showĒ if he can just get his head out of his ass. It may seem like a simple enough premise, but once Sarandon (who has just as much baseball knowledge as either of the boys) wedges herself in between the two, she forms one hell of a fun little love triangle and things take off.

If the film has any shortcomings, it would only be the aforementioned lack of the traditional conflict of trying to win it all. I had no problem with it, but if youíre looking for a film in the vein of Major League, where you can laugh and cheer for your team to win, this isnít the film for you. Bull Durham isnít about the merits of teamwork, itís about the singular battles each of us go through in this sport called life.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Ron Shelton: The most entertaining part of this commentary is listening to Ron grumble about how much of a mess baseball is these days and how serious he is about it. Smart dude though, if not a tad bit into himself.

Audio Commentary by Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins: Few men have had as much fun with each other on commentaries as these two great actors have here. This isnít really a technical track as much as two old friends reminiscing.

Diamonds in the Rough (15:55) - A pretty cool little feature about grueling but fun life in the real minor leagues.

Between the Lines: Behind the Scenes of Bull Durham (29:18) - A traditional, in-depth making of, but wth very little on-set footage.

Kevin Costner profile (2:05) - I love Costner but this 80ís ode to the man just feels pointless.

Sports Wrap (2:55) - Another cheesy 80ís promo piece with narration so goofy it sounds like it was written by Joey Gladstone.

The Greatest Show on Dirt (19:23) - Crew, some cast (not the stars) and baseball aficionados alike reminisce about the film and the impact it has had.

All special features are on Disc 2, which also contains a DVD Copyof the film.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
In the commentary, Shelton remarks that while most films are made from the fans perspective, this one is made from that of the players. In doing that, amazingly, Bull Durham does a better job of relating to the fans. If you love baseball, hell, if you love comedy, you owe it to yourself to give this a look.

Just don't ask me what the heck the title means.
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6:07PM on 09/27/2010
This is my favorite sports movie because of the uniqueness of its story not being about a team trying win the "big game" or whatever. And I think the title is a play on the baseball team's name: the Durham Bulls.
This is my favorite sports movie because of the uniqueness of its story not being about a team trying win the "big game" or whatever. And I think the title is a play on the baseball team's name: the Durham Bulls.
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4:17PM on 09/27/2010

Bull Durham ...

It isn't about a cow?
It isn't about a cow?
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10:32AM on 09/27/2010

Final Diagnosis

This is definitely one of those great sports movies that takes out the sentimental BS that I usually resent in sports movies. It's also one of Costner's better performances. I can think of a number of ways to read the title, since it is set mostly in Durham, NC, "The Bull City," and Crash and Nuke play for the Durham Bulls. I've honestly never thought it was terribly cryptic. But maybe also a reference to that other kind of bull often associated with shit.
This is definitely one of those great sports movies that takes out the sentimental BS that I usually resent in sports movies. It's also one of Costner's better performances. I can think of a number of ways to read the title, since it is set mostly in Durham, NC, "The Bull City," and Crash and Nuke play for the Durham Bulls. I've honestly never thought it was terribly cryptic. But maybe also a reference to that other kind of bull often associated with shit.
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