Monday, March 05, 2007

Monologue Monday "Annie"

No not the little orphan! "Annie" as in the baseball groupie played by Susan Sarandon. This formidable star famously paid for her own intercontinental travel arrangements to audition for the memorable role in Bull Durham. Killer instincts, Susan! The role and film (a major league hit) proved career elevating in 1988. I'm often close to calling it her best work ever even though she also rocked the screen in Lorenzo's Oil, Dead Man Walking and Thelma & Louise among others.
I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones--I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan...

I know things. For instance-- There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary. And there are 108 stitches in a baseball.When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology.You see, there's no guilt in baseball...and it's never boring.

Which makes It like sex.

There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball--you just got to relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250 unless he had a lot of R.B.I.'s or was a great glove man up the middle. A woman's got to have standards.

The young players start off full of enthusiasm and energy but they don't realize that come July and August when the weather is hot it's hard to perform at your peak level. The veterans pace themselves better. They finish stronger. They're great in September. While I don't believe a woman needs a man to be fulfilled, I do confess an interest in finding the ultimate guy--he'd have that youthful exuberance but the veteran's sense of timing...

Y'see there's a certain amount of "life-wisdom" I give these boys.I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him. The guys are so sweet--they always stay and listen. Of course a guy will listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay.

I make then feel confident. They make me feel safe. And pretty. What I give them lasts a life-time. What they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade but bad trades are part of baseball -- who can forget Frank Robinson or Milt Pappas, for Godsakes! It's a long season and you got to trust it.

I've tried them all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul --day in, day out-- is the Church of Baseball.
That's the voiceover that opens Bull Durham, setting you up for an articulate, surprising and randy movie that delivers in a way that few romantic comedies these days do. Writer/director Ron Shelton was Oscar nominated for this screenplay. The Academy passed Sarandon by but she was so great in the movie that the cinematic gods rewarded her with a long-term relationship (she met Tim Robbins on set) and six more years of an A-list career immediately thereafter.

11 comments:

J.J. said...

Splendid. I was hoping Monologue Mondays would return. However, I disagree with Annie's assertion that baseball is never boring. I'd edit the line to say "Baseball in the movies is never boring."

Stephen G said...

I love this movie. High time I saw it again. I was 16 when it came out, taped it off the TV and watched it A LOT. Was my first real exposure to Sarandon, and even Costner was great in this (and the slick, but idiotic No Way Out of the previous year, a guilty pleasure in my younger years that I'd be embarrassed to see now - Sean Young, Will Patton as the creepy gay aide in love with Gene Hackman!, ugh).

vince said...

Oh my God, NO WAY OUT! Yes, that was a guilty pleasure of mine too. I first saw Sarandon in Witches of Eastwick. She really kicks ass in Bull Durham. It's funny how she got nominated for other performances and not this one, but 1988 was a really competitive year (for Best Actress).

adam k. said...

I saw this a while back and wasn't sure why you love it so. I thought it was a good movie, but nothing that special. And I wouldn't place Sarandon's work here on a par with Dead Man Walking and Thelma & Louise, but that's just me. To each his own. It was certainly a good idea for her to do it, though, cause without it she may not have even been able to do T & L and the rest of her 90's work.

I think she deserved the globe nom for this, and that's about it. 1987 was tough. Though I suppose she probably should've beaten Melanie Griffith to the globe. Wasn't that the same year?

I can't say for sure, though, cause I've not seen Working Girl and have no great desire to do so.

vince said...

Adam ~

You're right, but it was movie year 1988. And, yes, you could have easily switched out Sarandon for Griffith. In fact, I remember Roger Ebert saying that if Bull Durham had been released in December like Working Girl, it might have gotten more Oscar nods. (But then again, it was a baseball movie, and December would have been "off season" ... but, would that have mattered?)

But, Griffith was cute and she was the star of a Best Picture nominee. I wasn't crazy about Sigourney Weaver, but she hasn't had enough nom's as it is. Jodie Foster was Oscar bait, but still worth a nomination. I wouldn't dare touch Streep's Dingo Ate My Baby or Glenn Close's Dangerous Liaison.

So, yeah, that leaves Griffith's "I have a brain for business and a bod for sin." But, Sarandon got so many nom's afterward anyway, so ...

vince said...

Oh, sorry, Adam, you were talking about the Globes and not the Oscars. But, yeah, Griffith won the comedy category.

And funny thing about the dramatic Best Actress Globe that year, FYI ... there were THREE winners (more winners than losers) ...

Jodie Foster, The Accused
Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas
Shirley McClaine, Madam Sousatzka

Those who stayed in their seats ...
Christine Lahti, Running on Empty
Streep, A Cry in the Dark ... or "Evil Angels" as it's now known on the imdb ... what's up with that? (Originally it was supposed to be called "Guilty By Suspicion," which was eventually used for a DeNiro/Bening film about the 50's blacklist)

Okay, way too much information, sorry.

NATHANIEL R said...

yeah, 88 was a great year for leading actresses. which makes jodie's win that much more frustrating. I prefer ALL of her other nominated performances. and by a significant margin.

my lineup woulda found room for:
LAHTI, STREEP, CLOSE and SARANDON
for sure with the fifth spot an all out war between several peoples unless i'm forgetting someone major.

vince said...

Hey, Nate, I like that line-up. What about giving the fifth slot to La Pfeiffer for "Married to the Mob"? Actually, Jamie Lee Curtis was amazing in A "Fish Called Wanda," but some may deem that supporting (I'm not sure if I do).

Stephen G said...

Vince, Evil Angels is an Aussie movie based on a book of that name. It was called Evil Angels in Australia but they changed it to A Cry in the Dark for the States, not sure about other countries. Not sure why IMDB would revert from the US title though.

NATHANIEL R said...

maybe i should do '88 next in my retro awards.

briantw said...

It annoys me too that 'A Cry in the Dark' has now been renamed 'Evil Angels' on imdb.com. I protested that, but they stuck to their guns.

Just because the film was called 'Evil Angels' in Australia, and it's supposedly an Australian film [yeah, right - $US for Meryl Streep in an Australian film in 1988].

If it were such an Australian film, they wouldn't have brought out the Hollywood big guns. The only reason it was called 'Evil Angels' there is because the book, upon which the film was based, was well-known there.