Synopsis: Brian Robbins (VARSITY BLUES) directs another sports-related picture with HARDBALL, an uplifting story about a man who finds redemption when he's least expecting it. Keanu Reeves stars as Conor O'Neill, an underachiever whose gambling addiction has gotten him into seemingly insurmountable trouble. Desperate for money, he begs his friend Jimmy (Mike McGlone) to bail him out one more time. Jimmy agrees to give Conor a weekly stipend, but only if Conor agrees to coach a little league baseball team in Chicago's inner city. At first, Conor realizes just how unequipped he is for this particular task, as the assembled team goofs off, fights, and curses, paying no attention to his authority. Eventually, however, he gains their respect, and pretty soon, they're winning games. Meanwhile, off the field, Conor finds himself falling for the children's schoolteacher, Miss Wilkes (Diane Lane). He also places a potentially life-threatening bet with a high-level bookie, but after a miracle saves him and he begins to fully embrace his new role as a coach and father figure, tragedy strikes and teaches Conor a much more valuable life lesson. Based on the non-fiction book by Daniel Coyle, HARDBALL is an uplifting story that gets a boost of energy from its non-professional cast of youngsters.
Run Time: 106 Minutes
Director: Brian Robbins
Dvd Extra's: Languages: English and French, Additonal release material, Audio commentary with Brian Robbins and John Gatins, Original Theatrical trailer, Making of Hardball, Deleted Scense, Music Video Hardball by Lil Bow Wow.
Nudity Factor: None
Of Note: Before the film was released in 2001, posters and ads reflected the rating as R before it was re-edited to dub over the kids using the "f" word. Despite quite a bit of profanity remaining, the film was then released with a PG-13 rating.
Hard Ball follows Conor O'Neill, a guy how always was part of some scam or bet to make money. When his luck runs out and he owes more money than he can pay back he ends up going to a friend for help. His friend agrees to help him out but to get the money he has to give back. The giving back means he has to coach a baseball team in the projects. Conor O'Neill is played by Keanu Reeves and I have to say he does a great job with this role. A lot of people believe his acting is limited but he really pulls this off. The film for me is a great emotional high as kids try there hardest to achieve greatness. They have everything stacked against them and with that pour everything they have into baseball. I alway like a good story were the odds are against you, yet you find the strength and overcome them. The funny things is that the odds are not only stacked against the kids they are also stacked against O'Neill. He is being hunted for the bad bets he made yet like the kids he is trying to find a way to get beyond that. For me this movie just kind of quietly shined. It was nothing flashy but delivered non the less. It is a movie I can watch to be uplifed or watch just to be entertained. I highly recommend this movie because almost anyone in any walk of life can appreciate this.