You'd think the National Pastime would be can't miss material at the box office.
"Trouble with the Curve," the story of an aging baseball scout reconnecting with his estranged daughter, still couldn't connect with audiences on a mass scale.
Could the film, out this week on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and download, be the victim of negative press surrounding star Clint Eastwood's empty chair speech at the RNC?
Difficult to say for sure. Most movies featuring an 80-something lead don't stand a chance at the box office. Of course, Eastwood is no ordinary 80-something, and "Trouble with the Curve" gives the acting legend a meaty character worthy of his gruff persona. The film should do just fine on home video and give Hot Stove League vets a treat to tide them over until spring training.
Eastwood stars as Gus, a legendary scout for the Atlanta Braves organization being gently squeezed out of his gig. Gus' failing eyesight is hardly reassuring, but when his estranged daughter (Amy Adams) offers to tag along on one last scouting trip it's a chance to salvage his career on his terms while patching up decades of damaged feelings.
"Curve" takes a few necessary shortcuts with baseball protocol, the kind that enhance story arcs but will make baseball purists wince. And co-star Justin Timberlake's impromptu baseball game calling won't convince anyone he could have a second career in the broadcast booth. Yet Eastwood, working with longtime collaborator Robert Lorenz, understands what audiences want from a feature film. That assured touch will give "Curve" a hearty shelf life.
The Blu-ray extras include a pair of features - "Rising Through the Ranks" and "For the Love of the Game." The former track Lorenz's journey through the ranks of the unofficial Eastwood School of Cinema, recalling his ascension from assistant director on several Eastwood projects to his directorial debut with "Curve."
The screen legend clearly trusts his protege. Eastwood notes its the first time in 20 years where he's just an actor in a film. Lorenz also "studied" with another Hollywood institution. He previously toiled for B-movie maestro Roger Corman.
"For the Love of the Game" falls back on more typical Blu-ray extras, with the assorted cast members waxing on about their appreciation for each other.
"He knows how to be a movie star," Timberlake says of Eastwood, adding the experience shooting "Curve" is one he won't soon forget. "At the end of every take you're walking away, pinching yourself."