Hello, everyone. I know it’s been a while since I have posted but I’m back. Everyone knows that money is pretty tight right now for everyone, especially for a recent college graduate. But, anyway, I finally got a chance to go to the movies two weekends ago and I think I picked a good time to return to the theater.
42: The Jackie Robinson Story or as it was billed in it’s movie poster: The True Story of an American Legend. This movie didn’t receive the hype I thought it deserved or could have been promoted better, considering its topic. While I have nothing wrong with the promotion and endorsement that our superhero movies are getting (see Iron Man 3), this movie told the story of not just a sports hero and legend but an American hero during a time when one was needed.
Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) was playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945, where the film starts. During that time in New York, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) was looking to make a change, not only with his team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, but to do something that was never thought of in baseball at the time: signing an African-American player and breaking the baseball color barrier. He discovered Jackie Robinson and signs him, with Jackie having to promise to control his temper if he wants to play because Branch and Jackie know the level of scrutiny and bigotry they will both fee from inside and outside the sport.
Although the film focuses only on the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season and some of his 1946 season with the Montreal Royals and I wish it had expanded onto more of his career, this film did a great job by viewing the most important part of his career: the beginning and the challenges Jackie faced. The taunting that Jackie took from Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) was a little uncomfortable to watch as an African-American and watching Jackie’s struggles to make the team so far in the film. It was a true test for Jackie, who was forced to go to the dugout and smash his bat to vent his anger from the abuse. Rickey approached Jackie and encouraged him to silence Chapman and other critics by performing and he did just that. Later on in the film, Chapman and Robinson pose for newspaper and magazines with both of them holding a bat. This was Jackie’s idea so they, in his words: “we won’t have to touch skin.” Another iconic scene is when Jackie and Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) showed solidarity in front of a hostile crowd during a game in Kentucky.
The film is a testament of the strength of a man to challenge society’s view and inspire future generations of black athletes to follow their dreams. Jackie Robinson is a true hero. He didn’t have superpowers or sidekicks or looking to save the world. All Jackie had was a bat, a team uniform, and the guts to not fight back when being harassed by those who didn’t want their perfect work changed. I would recommend this movie to anyone, even if they aren’t a sports fan. I hope you all go to see it.
Also, as everyone knows, the summer movie season is upon us. I’ll be covering the first tremendous month of this season soon. Until then, everyone. See you at the movies!