The Natural Movie Review

The Natural is a 1984 drama distributed by TriStar Pictures. Some of its stars include Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, Glenn Close as Iris Gaines, Wilford Brimley as Pop Fisher, Robert Duvall as Max Mercy, and Kim Basinger as Memo Paris. Producers are Philip M. Breen (Judith), Robert F. Colesberry (Mississippi Burning), Mark Johnson (The Notebook) and Roger Towne (TV movie In the Company of Spies). The director is Barry Levinson (Good morning, Vietnam).

The story centers on a young and promising baseball player named Roy Hobbs. He’s on a train to Chicago, where he’ll try out for the Cubs. Along the way, the train stops at a carnival where Roy is challenged to strike out “The Whammer”, the best hitter in the majors, on just three pitches. After he is successful, a mysterious young woman named Harriet Byrd introduces herself to the young Hobbs. He likes her immediately before she apologizes for the night. Later, after the train arrives in Chicago, Harriet calls Roy to her room, where she shoots him in the stomach before jumping to her death. Sixteen years later, a fictional National League team known as the New York Knights signs 35-year-old Hobbs. Pop Fisher, the team’s manager and co-owner, is upset that his teammate crossed the line and signed such an old rookie. He refuses to play with Hobbs or even let him practice with the team. After a few games, Pop informs Roy that he is being sent down to the minors.

The aging outfielder refuses, saying he wasn’t even allowed to practice. Pop, impressed by Roy’s relentlessness, allows him to participate in batting practice the next day. During practice, Hobbs keeps hitting ball after ball into the stands. After Bump Bailey shows his lack of effort on the field in a game, Pop Fisher decides to punch Roy for him. He tells him to remove the padding from the ball and Hobbs does just that, delivering the game-winning hit. Pop tells Bailey that if he doesn’t get in shape, he’ll be replaced by Roy. The next game, Bailey plays her heart out until he crashes headfirst into the outfield wall and dies. Hobbs is now the regular right fielder for the New York Knights. He immediately makes an impact on the struggling team and goes on a winning streak. One of Fisher’s assistant coaches, Red Blow, tells Roy about Pop’s history with the team and how, if he doesn’t win a pennant this season, Judge, who is the majority shareholder in the team, will buy out Pop’s share of the team. and he will be out of the organization. If he wins, Pop buys out the judge’s share and is out. The Judge had hired Hobbs as part of a sabotage attempt to keep the team out of contention and thus take over the team.

In The Natural, we see a darker side of baseball that was always around at the time, especially during the Black Sox scandal of 1919. While today we have problems with players taking steroids, back then baseball had problems with the bets. Many greedy individuals saw baseball only as a means to gain money and power for themselves, not caring what it might do to the integrity of the game. Characters like The Judge, Memo Paris, and Gus Sands are good examples. The judge wants to have sixteen full control of the team by signing a bunch of what he believes are untalented players to keep the Knights in the basement of the league. Memo Paris and Gus Sands seek to make money at the team’s expense and are in league with The Judge. But Roy Hobbs didn’t cooperate with them because he’s not as greedy as they are. At one point, the judge offers Roy more money in the hope that he will put in less effort and keep the team in last place. Memo Paris, who had been seeing Bump Bailey before he was killed, wants to seduce and distract Roy from the game while she and Gus Sands continue to bet against him at every game.

If you believe in superstition, you will find the following quite interesting. Many professional athletes have always been superstitious. There are two women in Roy Hobbs’ life, Memo Paris and Iris Gaines. When Roy starts seeing Memo, he suffers a long depression. But after watching his childhood love interest, Iris Gaines, defend him at Wrigley Field, he’s inspired to get it right again, and the slump ends. Thus, it could be said that Memo Paris is bad luck for Roy while Iris is good luck.

In closing, if you are a huge fan of America’s Pastime baseball, The Natural is your perfect movie!

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