Daily Archives: August 6, 2018

Where the Boys Are [BULL DURHAM]

From the Chicago Reader (July 1, 1988). Criterion released an elaborately bonus-filled Blu-Ray of this comedy last month. — J.R.

BULL DURHAM

*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by Ron Shelton

With Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl, and Jenny Robertson.

I cannot tell a lie: Bull Durham gave me so much old-fashioned moviegoing pleasure the first time around, in spite of my complete lack of interest in baseball, that I wasn’t too concerned about the sources of my fun. Entertaining movies are often deft at discouraging reflection. But two weeks later, when I went back to see this one again — mainly to refresh my memory — I came out feeling a little embarrassed about how and why I’d been taken in.

It’s not that the movie doesn’t have its share of singular virtues, especially considering that it’s Ron Shelton’s first feature as a director (he also wrote the script). Genuine star performances — as opposed to those in hyped-up vehicles like Big, Red Heat, The Presidio, and Big Business – are not all that commonplace these days, and Shelton gets them here from both Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. He also strikes a very satisfying balance between the fast and furious dialogue — much of it slangy, staccato jargon that reflects Shelton’s ball-playing background — and the transitional montage sequences, overlaid with pop songs, that allow us to glide and drift between the gabfests.… Read more »

“The Doddering Relics of a Lost Cause”: John Ford’s THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT

This was originally published by the Viennale in 2004 as part of a catalogue (Die Früchte des Zorns und der Zärtlichkeit) accompanying a program of John Ford films selected by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet; it subsequently appeared online in Rouge no. 7 (2005). One can also access Kevin Lee’s two-part video featuring my commentary on both The Sun Shines Bright and Gertrud here and here. — J.R.

“The Doddering Relics of a Lost Cause”: John Ford’s The Sun Shines Bright

by Jonathan Rosenbaum

My father helped to run a small chain of movie theaters in northwestern Alabama that were owned by my grandfather while I was growing up. He and my mother weren’t cinephiles, but on two separate occasions they took the trouble to travel to cities in different states to attend world premieres in the South while I was growing up. One was for a big Southern film from a big studio (M-G-M), Gone with the Wind, held in 1939 in Atlanta. The other was for a small Southern film from a small studio (Republic Pictures), The Sun Shines Bright, held in 1953 in what I believe was a city in Tennessee — most likely Nashville or Chattanooga, possibly Memphis or Knoxville.… Read more »