The supposedly "real" story of a baseball legend
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 11/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ty Cobb was called "the greatest baseball player of all time" and he enjoyed the spotlight. He was also known as "difficult person" to put it mildly. He drank hard, was prone to violence, insulted everybody, beat his wife, alienated his children, was a racist, beat a man to death and was accused of fixing games. In 1960 he had his biography written by a sportswriter named Al Stump. At the time Al Stump wrote a flattering portrait. Later, Stump wrote another book, telling the "real" story about Cobb. And this 1994 film is based on this second book.The film is set in 1960 when Cobb, then 72 years old, engages Al Stump to write his biography. Stump's a young sportswriter who's flattered by the assignment. At first he hates the arrogant Cobb, but later finds himself admiring him for his "bigger than life" personality. And so he winds up being Cobb's only friend, traveling with him, drinking with him and playing nursemaid to his wild rages and need for constant medication. Tommy Lee Jones is cast as Cobb, in a larger-than-life performance that humanizes the aging Cobb in spite of his raging racism and generally obnoxious behavior. Robert Wuhl is cast as Al Stump and his performance is equally good as we see him starting to have sympathy for the aging man. Lolita Davidovich is cast as a Reno cigarette girl who is pursued by both Al Stump and Cobb. She gives a good performance but I think the main reason she's in the film is to liven it up with a bit of flesh. There's also a small role played by Roger Clemens, the real-life pitcher in a scene of a baseball game played around 1916. Wisely, the camera doesn't stay too long on Tommy Lee Jones for this scene because he just can't look like a very young man. The screenplay was ambitious but it lacked something. It was overlong and tended to be boring. Once the general situation was set, there was just one kind of outrageous behavior after another to prove the point that Cobb was difficult and that Stump was starting to admire the old man. In my opinion, the whole film could have been condensed to a one-hour television movie. As I'm interested in baseball, I did enjoy the film. But it certainly isn't one that I can highly recommend."
Not your typical "HERO" movie
Bryan | Missouri, USA | 09/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To me, this movie is a dark comedy. Ty Cobb is obviously a racist, abusive mean spirited human being who also happens to be a baseball legend. This movie is about Cobb off the field during his last days as he plans an autobiography on his baseball career. Throughout the movie, he is verbally and physically abusive to those around him. Tommy Lee Jones manages to make his character, at times, sympathetic towards the end of the film as he gets sicker and sicker from one of his many illnesses. This does not change the fact that Ty Cobb was a vicious human being and writer/director Ron Shelton writes the character in a way that makes him funny in some ways. I can't imagine this movie being what it is without Tommy Lee Jones. Jones tends to play arogant know-it-all characters in movies and this one tops them all. This movie was not a hit because of limited release(40 theaters instead of the planned 400 according to Shelton's commentary) but it is easily one of the best movies made about baseball and the people who play the game. Without a doubt Tommy Lee Jones' best performance. Worth taking the time to watch despite the wretched character he portrays in the movie."
"The Tiger Wore Spikes!"
amazonstore | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"C is for Cobb,
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen,
Wish they weren't born.
Tyrus Raymond Cobb the greatest ball player in history! "I will take that to my grave!" The most feared player in history! Sending 13+ ball players to the hospital in one season alone, including spiking and beating an armless heckler! Even murder! The most hated man in baseball! Fans and players disliked him, hell everybody, even his own team mates hated him! This is without a doubt one of my favorite pictures of all time! I would like to see another picture made on Cobb just him playing ball in the 1905-1928 circa! The last sceen in B/W shows us the meanest man ever to step onto a field! God bless you Ty, my idol! ".367 Career BA, top that?" Please put "Shoeless" Joseph Jefferson Jackson in the Hall of Fame!
The years go on, the years slip by,
The heroes rise, the heroes die,
There'll come a day, not far away,
A day of fans that knew not Ty."
The most hated man in baseball
Wyluli | Florida USA | 03/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To Dhaval Vyas.. quit copying and pasting the exact same thing under every baseball movie complaining about how they haven't made a movie yet about an african american baseball player and giving the movie a 1-star rating just because it's a movie about a white athlete. Don't be so sensitive, and write a meaningful review... if you've even seen any of these movies! Oh I forgot, your narrow view of the world will never allow it..
Anyway where was I? Oh yes.. Cobb. This film is a terrific insight into who Ty Cobb really was. Was he a saint? Was he a monster? This movie tells it all. I was hoping for more from Cobb's playing days, where all we get is just one scene where he is sharpening the spikes on his shoes and then bets two guys $100 that he would double, then steal third and steal home. Cobb pulls it off, wins his $100, and starts an on-field brawl in the process. Great stuff!
Otherwise, this movie focuses almost entirely on the relationship between Cobb and Al Stump, the sportswriter Cobb hires to help write his autobiography, with a few snippets of info about Cobb's relationship with his family. Stump soon finds out all that he needs to know about Cobb. Difficult at best, psychotic at worst, and although I'm sure there was nothing at all amusing about the real Ty Cobb, this movie manages to throw a little bit of humor into the mix, but not so much that you lose track of who Cobb really is.. a mean, bitter, drunken old man lost in the glory days of his legendary baseball career.
Tommy Lee Jones was absolutely brilliant as Cobb, and he alone makes this movie worth seeing. Not alot in this film in the way of baseball action, but an interesting look inside the mind of the Georgia Peach. Worth a watch!"