It had probably been close to 20 years since I last saw "Bull Durham" - it doesn't seem to make the rounds on cable - when I began watching this "Collector's Edition," which I received from a PR person a couple of years ago. And as Crash Davis entered the film and declared, "Bleep this bleeping game," and then unleashed his famous "I believe..." soliloquy, I grew horrified.
"This movie sucks!" I thought. "No one talks like that. And here I've been defending Kevin Costner all of these years. Yeesh."
But after that scene, the movie turned back to as good as I recalled it being. And what's really cool about this edition is the commentary, particularly when it comes to the Crash Davis speech.
Ron Shelton, the film's writer and director, admits that he doesn't care for the speech very much - because no one talks like that. He wrote it into the script with the intention of luring a quality actor into the Crash Davis role, and figured they would just edit it out. But they didn't edit it out, and it's now arguably the most quoted scene from the film.
Costner? He does another commentary track, along with Tim Robbins. And Costner thinks he botched the speech, or at least that's what he says. Robbins, not surprisingly, tries to assure Costner that he did just fine.
I agree with both Shelton and Costner. The speech was poorly written and poorly performed. The rest, though, is really outstanding. Costner, Robbins, Susan Sarandon are all great, and even the supporting performances of Trey Wilson (as the Bulls' manager) and Robert Wuhl (the pitching coach) add a nice, comic element.
The movie deserves to stand the test of time, IMO, and the commentaries here only enhanced my appreciation of it.
And now I'll give it to the first person who e-mails me - at firstname.lastname@example.org - with the correct answer to this question:
This person served as the "baseball trainer" for "Bull Durham" - I assume that means he helped the actors get ready for the baseball scenes - and he later went onto manage two high-profile, major-league teams. Name this person.
UPDATE, 1:38 p.m.: We have a winner! NaOH knew that Grady Little worked on "Bull Durham."