Making the Grades
From the time Jimmy Morris (Trevor Morgan) can fit his hand inside a leather glove and chuck a baseball, he dreams of being in the major league and hurling the winning pitch in a World Series Game. But his father's (Brian Cox) military career keeps the family moving before he can even finish a season of play, and eventually lands them all in the football town of Big Lake, Texas.
Plagued by elbow and shoulder injuries, the now grown-up Jimmy (Dennis Quaid) puts his diamond dreams on the shelf and settles into life as a high school science teacher and coach. With his wife Lorrie (Rachel Griffiths) and three children, he takes to staying put in the small town with the faded storefronts and friendly people. But a bet with the kids on his championship baseball team soon has him dusting off the glove, warming up his arm and heading for a tryout with a professional organization. Easily a decade older than the other hopefuls on the field, Jimmy has to prove himself if he wants to earn a right to stand on the pitcher's mound.
Much like Disney's 1999 release, The Straight Story, this is a movie aimed at an older audience that garners a G-rating because of its limited content issues. Other than Morris's 8-year-old son, there is hardly a character under the age of 15 on screen and most of the 2-hour movie focuses on the ball-tossing activities of the 35-year-old recruit. While the film unrolls at the leisurely (sometimes dawdling) pace of a Saturday night ballgame complete with an extra inning, fans of the sport will likely revel in the story based on the real life events of pitcher Jimmy Morris.
For the rest of the general paying public sitting in the stands, The Rookie offers some simple lessons about the importance of family relationships, community spirit, and even forgiveness. Stepping up to home plate, it emphasizes that having dreams and pursing them isn't the exclusive luxury of the under-30 generation.