Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Rookie

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
All Ages
Family Sports Drama
2 hr. 7 min.
Year of Release:
The Rookie poster. Copyrighted by distributor. Dennis Quaid in The Rookie (2002) Scene from “The Rookie” Real-life Jim Morris with Actor Dennis Quaid Brian Cox in The Rookie (2002). Photo copyrighted by distributor. Beth Grant in The Rookie (2002). Photo copyrighted by distributor.
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Angus T. Jones, Brian Cox, Rick Gonzalez, Chad Lindberg, more » / Directed by: John Lee Hancock | Produced by: Mark Ciardi, Mark Johnson, Gordon Gray | Written by: Mike Rich, Michael Rich | Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

I am thankful that I had the chance to visit a major league baseball stadium as a child. There is just something majestic about walking into a large ballpark for the first time, and I’ve never lost that wonder. I can remember the first time I took my two sons to a major league game, loving the wonder that danced in their eyes. I’ll admit I love baseball, but I’m not fanatical (I don’t memorize stats or collect memorabilia, just enjoy watching the game.) My favorite team will always be the Cleveland Indians. It is truly a field of dreams. My youngest son, age 11, enjoys playing the game. In fact, twice last year he drove in the winning run! It’s great fun at almost any level.

Walt Disney Pictures captures those dreams and the old-fashioned wonder in their latest film “The Rookie”. On only three occasions have I been in a theater and witnessed spontaneous applause after a film—“October Sky,” “The Princess Diaries,” and now “The Rookie”. My youngest son and I attended the area premiere together. I always look forward to the release of a G-rated film, making me feel like a paleontologist looking for dinosaur bones. The theater was jammed packed; there were several families and lots of baseball caps. This film is to baseball what “Hoosiers” is to basketball and “Remember the Titans” is to football.

“The Rookie” is very respectful towards people of faith and even includes a well-placed moment where a coach prays with his team. Christians and people that value high morals need to support this film. You may not like baseball or sports, but I can almost promise that you’ll walk away from this movie feeling inspired. I cannot wait to see it again and I have not stopped talking about it since the viewing. Let’s create some positive buzz!

“The Rookie” tells the real-life story of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid, who turns in an Oscar-worthy performance). Morris was a 35-year-old science teacher whose childhood dream was to one day pitch in the big leagues. His father was in the military and so he moved quite often, his dream seeming always just out of reach. He never let his pursuit of this goal separate him from respecting his parents. Morris injured his arm in the minor leagues while in his 20s and quickly became a pitching wash-out. While coaching his high school baseball team, they made a deal with Coach: they would try to win the District Tournament if he would try out for the Major Leagues. Thankfully for him, Jim’s years-old injury had healed to the point where he became able to throw 98 mph pitches! He goes on to become the oldest rookie to make the Majors and plays for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

There are many great family moments and scenes of conflicts overcome. A great film for Director John Lee Hancock’s debut.

The talented Mike Rich (“Finding Forrester”) was the screenwriter. Rachel Griffiths turns in an outstanding performance as Jim’s wife and mother of three. Imagine… a G-rated film with adult characters! My only slightly objectionable note is that there are two brief scenes of alcohol use. But my high recommendation is to catch this one on the big screen—it is not just a home run, it’s a GRAND SLAM for families! Thanks again Disney! We knew you still had it in you to make films that aren’t offensive.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—Finally—Disney shows us that it does remember how to make good, clean movies that appeal to all ages. This film appealed not only to our family but based upon the scores of people who were leaving with tears still in their eyes, it appealed to the vast majority in attendance. In retrospect, the film contains many lessons on life, which were blatant enough to be picked up by our younger teen. As an example, one which made such an impact was “a man can think about doing what he would like to do all he wants but a man needs to do what it is he was meant to do.”
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Steve, age 47
Positive—WOW! Finally a great movie for the whole family. I really enjoyed this film. I enjoyed it more because I did not have to hear any vulgarities! It can be done—a great film with out sex, violence or offensive language. Props to Disney for this one. Take the whole family!!!
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Sharon, age 25
Positive—This movie definitely hits a homerun! I am a huge baseball fan who works at a movie theather and when I first viewed the trailer for this movie I knew this would be a great movie for any family. Dennis Quaid plays a great role and is a man of his word. Hollywood should look at making more movies like this and less of the ones with sex and profanity like most movies are today.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Travis, age 18
Positive—I was very pleased to be able to go and see a movie that my whole family would not only enjoy, but that would not be offensive in any way. Thanks for a great movie. We will buy this one when it comes out!
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Rhonda Abshere, age 36
Positive—What an absolute pleasure to go to a movie with well-drawn adult characters and not be inundated with profanity and sexual references. The Rookie indeed hits a “home run” (or perhaps pitches a “no hitter” since Dennis Quaid realizes his dream of taking the mound in a major league ballpark.) Even my wife, no sportsfan she, was enthralled and wiped away more than one tear during some of the marvelous emotionally captivating scenes—on and off the ballfield. To see a coach pray with his team, to see a man who all his life dreamed of playing ball decide to put his family first, and to see his wife realize that this dream transcended monetary considerations—all these make this movie an absolute gem for Christians and others disgusted with movie making today. You gotta go see this with your kids or your spouse or by yourself!!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Bob Johnson, age 58
Positive—As a Christian father, I am always terrified about taking my kids to a movie. Imagine my surprise when I took my 13 year old to “The Rookie” and found not only a great story, but a great story that was not full of filthy language, sexual innuendo or other offensive material. Simply put this is one of the best family movies I have seen in a long, long time. At least twice the audience broke into spontaneous applause. Based on the true story of Jimmy Morris, a high school baseball coach who is called up to the major leagues, it was inspirational but not hokie, funny but not goofy. Dennis Quaid is excellent in the lead and there are several outstanding performances by the supporting cast. I rank this with “Remember the Titans” and like that movie, you don’t have to be a sports fan to like the experience. I don’t want to gush but don’t miss this incredible film and take everyone you know.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Chuck Robbins, age 52
Positive—Yay for Hollywood! I am SO happy that people can still break into applause at the end of a movie. Just goes to show you—Hollywood is NOT going to the pits. They merely need to realize the strong demand for moral-based films such as these. My feeling is that artful films with possibly offensive and inoffensive fun flicks like “The Rookie” should be of equal numbers together. I for one prefer the latter—who said good moviemaking has to portray characters who live on the edge and are naturally offensive? Special thanks must be given to the majority of critics, who gave this film positive ratings! Thank you Hollywood!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Eric Schmidt
Positive—I saw this movie last night with my husband, and we both LOVED it! This is a fabulous family movie. The movie is about the importance of having dreams. It is about being an encouragement to others. The Rookie is about family, forgiveness, always trying, and the difference you can make in the lives of those around you. My husband and I left the theatre with smiles on our faces, happy that we had just seen a well-done, clean, family movie with great acting.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Rena, age 36
Positive—My husband and I are very particular and selective about the movies we watch. We are probably more easily “offended” by movie content than some people. In light of this… We found The Rookie to be a pleasant surprise! It is an excellent and enjoyable film. Neither of us could find a thing that offended us in any way (very unusual for us!). After the movie we both felt uplifted, inspired, and in positive spirits. It portrayed good family values also—the main character is a devoted husband and father. And we also see him reconcile with his own elderly father at the end of the movie. (Growing up his dad was rather aloof and unsupportive.) This movie is also a great example of going after your dreams and not giving up. “It’s never too late to be the person you might have been!” We highly encourage you to see this wonderful movie! Even if you are not a baseball fan (we aren’t) you will enjoy it!!!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Laura martin, age 31
Positive—Mom, Dad, 16 yr. old daughter and 12 yr. old son attended this excellent film. Nearly every emotion possible was felt by our entire family while viewing this film—laughter, tears, sorrow, joy, hope and more. It was nice to see a movie with responsible adults in charge, typical silly teens showing their emerging adulthood by sincerely challenging Jim to reach for his dreams and then supporting him, and a marriage / family that is not perfect but real and loving. Great to see the team praying before the game in the locker room. This is definitely a movie for mid to older elementary kids to adults. Younger children may find the movie slow due to its depth of emotion and development of characters.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Lore Dearing, age 43
Positive—What a pleasure to go to the theater and not be offended. We were very moved by the struggle and the support of family and friends to a friends dream.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Rhoda Jackson, age 63
Positive—As a 41 year old father I was excited to take my 9 year old son to see this movie’s sneak preview. It was excellent. A great movie for the family. The Rookie was a wonderful portrayal of the old “Never Say Die” attitude and is a must see movie. It was funny, clean and smut-free, a rarity in today’s theaters. This is a must see for everyone. You will leave feeling better about yourself. Take the kids and go see a movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Don Cook, age 41
Negative—The character “Rudy” takes the Lord’s name in vain shortly into the movie. Do not watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Scott Mackerron, age 54 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I went with my parents to see The Rookie, not knowing what to expect. When it was over, I had a good feeling leaving the theater. It was a great movie. I counted three cuss words through the movie, and that was the only thing offensive thing to me. NOTE: If you’re not a baseball fan DON’T see this movie. You will find it very boring.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Katie, age 15
Positive—This is a great movie, that adults and older children will enjoy. It is around 2 hours, so it might not hold small children’s attention, but children who like to watch and play baseball will enjoy this movie for sure. It is a very clean, well done movie, and I would recommend it to any family.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Kristen, age 17
Positive—This movie was amazing! A true story about how a boy’s dreams come true. I am a huge baseball fan and many times baseball movies aren’t all that great. Well, this one was an exception. Dennis Quaid did a pretty good job. There was NOTHING offensive other than one cuss word. I think everyone from all ages will enjoy this movie. Don’t just take my word for it, even the MPAA said it was worthy of a G-rating, making it a perfect family movie. It wasn’t to cheesy or to corny at all. Go see for yourself.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Blake Wolf, age 14