:: Little touch that I love: the manager of the Bulls has his speech for giving a player his release down pat, not just the words, but the way he says them. "This is the toughest job that a manager has. [Long pause]...BUT...the organization wants to make a change." In a job where he has to give that speech however many times each season, and where every time he does he's likely crushing some guy's dreams forever, having it rehearsed to the point where he says it the exact same way each time is probably the only way he can get through that part of his job at all.
:: Are the any sets in this movie? There isn't a single location, inside or outside, that doesn't look one hundred percent real. Not one second of Bull Durham looks like artifice for the screen. The best location, though, is the Bulls' locker room, with its peeling paint, its ancient archways, its bank of beat-up clothes washers, its manager's office with fridge stocked with beer and little slips of paper all over the bulletin board.
:: Interesting that Crash and Annie can't consummate their long-simmering attraction until the moment he is no longer a ballplayer (temporarily), and that they can't become a couple until his ballplaying days are done entirely.
:: The best line in the movie? Annie, on Nuke LaLoosh's prospects for a fine major league career: "The world is made for people who are not cursed with self-awareness."
:: A lot of people read in Bull Durham. I love this: people are always sitting around, reading. The players, the spectators, the coaching staff of the Durham Bulls: they're always reading. This isn't just an attempt to make everybody look smarter; baseball's a game that includes long stretches of boredom which are tailor-made for reading.
:: How many sports movies have to do with the championship, or winning, in some way? Bull Durham has nothing to do with winning, at all. We're only vaguely aware of the team's success, or lack thereof, during the whole thing. They start out crappy, and they have one good month we know about, but what happens then? We're never told, and that's because winning or losing isn't the point, at all. It's all about the season, and the streak, and the career.
:: The other best line in the movie: "Why's he always callin' me 'Meat'? I'm the one drivin' the Porsche."
:: My favorite baseball moment in the movie: "What are you doin'? I give you a gift, and you stand here, showin' up my pitcher?! Run, dummy!"
:: I like how Crash takes Annie and her theories about baseball seriously, because he's got his own theories about the game that he's thought about for about as long as she does. For every speech she has in which she talks about how "baseball is the only religion that truly feeds the soul", Crash has one where he opines that "Strikeouts are fascist; ground balls are democratic."
:: A little detail that I never noticed before: there's an early scene where Crash, having met Nuke the night before, chews him out because his shower shoes have fungus growing on them:
Your shower shoes have fungus growing on them. You'll never make it to The Show if you've got fungus growing on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. When you win twenty in The Show, you can let the fungus grow back all over your shower shoes and the press will think you're colorful. Until you win twenty in The Show, however, it means you're a slob.
So, at the end of the movie when Crash is giving Nuke his last bit of wisdom before Nuke leaves for his major-league call-up, as Nuke is packing his locker, we get a glimpse of Nuke's shower shoes: his pristine white, spotless shower shoes. Great movies get their details right.
:: Great movies also don't beat you over the head with their details. Those pristine, white shower shoes? There is no closeup on them, no moment where Nuke says "Hey, at least I learned to keep my shower shoes clean." He's just packing up his stuff, and in the course of conversing with Crash, one moment the shower shoes are in his hand, and the next they're in his duffel bag.
:: I've come to really love movies – stories in general, really, be they movies, novels, short stories, whatever – that don't so much end as suggest that the lives of the people we've been watching will go on with their lives as we look away. Did Nuke have a good major league career? Did Crash make it to The Show as a manager? I like to think that the latter was more likely than the former, but maybe not, or maybe both. What I really like to think is that Crash makes it to The Show as a manager after years of managing in the minors, and that he hires the just-retired Nuke as his pitching coach. Or something like that.
:: It's everybody's favorite scene, but actually, my least favorite part of the film is Crash's "I believe" speech in Annie's living room. That's the one thing in this movie that feels fake, the one moment that feels like a movie script and not the real life of baseball people and their fans. (And yet, it's such a terrific moment, isn't it?)
:: Annie's final voiceover is one of the best closing lines for a movie, ever: "Walt Whitman wrote, 'I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our souls and be a blessing to us.' You can look it up!"
What a great movie. Run, dummy!