23 April 2004 | FeverDog
Sure it's cheap, but I don't care.
This was a baseball movie I thought I'd never get a chance to see: a TV movie that's never on TV and has, as far as I know, never been released on video. So imagine my delight when I saw this available on VoD, and for only $1.95! It can't suck that bad, right?
It doesn't. I don't disagree with the other comments here. Yes, the video inserts during actual game footage are jarring, but they're somehow not distracting. (The technique of combining documentary footage with scripted performances was used more successfully in AFTER THE SHOCK - another television movie with a baseball connection.) And the on-field re-enactments are unconvincing, though I've yet to see a baseball movie with authentic-looking game action.
Most of the actors acquit themselves here. Steinbrenner got more believable as the movie progresses - so much that I stopped thinking of the "Seinfeld" caricature. Paul Sorvino took a moment to get used to, but was probably the best casting choice possible. And Robert Loggia does sorta look like Frank Torre (while unfortunately sounding exactly like Robert Loggia).
What about the players? They're more hit-and-miss. Doc seemed the most accurate, and I also approved of the actor who portrayed Joe Girardi. Boggs wasn't awful, either.
But where did they get Strawberry and O'Neill? Neither was believable on or off the field, and neither physically resembled their real-life counterparts in the slightest.
If you live in the New York area or have read Joe Torre's autobiography "Chasing the Dream," there's nothing in this movie you don't already know. We're all familiar with Torre's professional history before coming to the Yankees, and Gooden's past, and Coney's medical problems, and the Jeffrey Maier incident. Everyone else may be confused about what's going on, since the movie is not very informative and suffers from choppy editing. But I did appreciate some minor details throughout, like what a pitching coach actually does and Boggsy's bad memories of the '86 World Series. And the many clips of the '96 Yankees season (good and bad) are always great to see again.
CURVEBALLS ALONG THE WAY is not the worst baseball movie ever made (try watching a MAJOR LEAGUE sequel, or STEALING HOME, or THE SLUGGER'S WIFE). It ain't even the worst Yankee movie out there, as anyone who's suffered through THE SCOUT can attest.