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Attention to detail makes a movie for baseball lovers
ehol27 October 2001
"Pastime" is a baseball movie, pure and simple, and if you don't like baseball, you'll probably find it dull, cliche, or both. Made with a low budget, no big names (though the list of cameos will impress any baseball fan) and an avowed distaste for Hollywood baseball movies of the day, it's emphatically a movie for fans, and nonfans will find it as dreary as a pitching duel that slops into extra innings. But baseball lovers will appreciate the attention to detail and love of the game that's evident in every scene.

The detail is rich but abstract, and comes through not in recognizable pieces, but in familiar warm feelings. The main plot sets the movie in baseball's postwar era, and bits like an ancient team bus and vaguely recognizable songs seem to plant the movie in the 1950s, the places are deliberately generic all-American--it's hard to tell if this is California or the Midwest or Anytown, USA, but it doesn't matter. This abstraction keeps "Pastime" focused on its story, but never makes it seem fake--we *think* we recognize these places, because they're so familar, but they're never quite placeable.

The characters are similarly familiar, almost to the point of cliche (well, ok, naming a black player Tyrone *is* cliche) but thanks to a strong, heartfelt performances by the lead actor William Russ, they become archetypes, rather than cliches. You'll instantly recognize Russ's Roy Dean, but won't confuse him with any player you've ever seen on any field.

None of this matters if you don't like baseball, though. If the baseball that's woven through the movie doesn't grab you, you'll be left with a story that's predictable and a little dull. But if the baseball does grab you, it will be like watching a dream matchup in the World Series with someone who loves the game as much as you do.
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Second Most Powerful Movie Of My Life
kenshiloh1 May 2015
I saw a movie about Christ when I was 17 that led me to faith in Christ. Though Pastime did not lead to my eternal salvation, it had a tremendous impact on my life.

I came from a highly abusive family and that caused me to really relate to Tyrone's character; I had trouble looking my father in the eye. I remember the day this movie inspired me to do just that. On that day, unfortunately my father ripped into me, saying everything foul he could. I looked him in the eye, just like Debray looked at his oppressor, and I said to my dad, "You haven't listed even half my faults." I celebrated that "Liberation Day" for me by climbing "Grizzly Rock" and drinking a root beer from the top of the world! I have seen this movie 50 -100 times(?). Each time, I tell myself I won't cry at the end - but I always have. When Debray stands tall on the mound, I am standing there too.

Those who think this movie is depressing have missed the point. When Bream is pitching "alone" in the stadium, those are the angels cheering. No one gave him recognition on this earth, but, as the movies says, his reward is in heaven.

I actually had the opportunity to communicate online with Glenn Plummer (Debray). Though Russ did a phenomenal job as Bream, it is Plummer who really stands out for me in my favorite acting performance of all time (and I love and have seen many, many movies!), especially the character's transformation after Inez's kiss.

That said, the first shot of Bream's character is worth getting the movie for! This movie is a character study on Bream. Whether you like baseball or not, do you want to be successful in this life? Watch Bream and Debray!

The gems of wisdom in this movie are too numerous to tell here. Today, I am a master teacher, but when I first saw this movie I was a struggling rookie reminding myself of the wisdom of Bream, "There's the box score and there's my name. Spelled it wrong, but even (when) old Stan parked it on me was still a fine day. Just being in the game is what counts - and doing your best. And if your best ain't good enough for the bigs, that's the name of the game. That's ball!"

Here are some other favorites:

"It's what a man does with his God-given."

"Keever, it doesn't matter how good someone else is. It doesn't make you any better; it doesn't make you any worse. Now let's play ball, son."

"Maybe if I ..." (You have to see the scene to understand the greatness of this quote)

"Hold it! Hold it! Skip? We forgot the Bangle!"

"Zero babes. I got to get out of the minors" (said by a ballplayer, while Bream is intensely watching the game from the bullpen)

I now stand tall, like Debray, and no one can shame me. "Ain't no reason to look at the ground for nobody, huh?"

Yes, you could say I recommend this movie! I give it a rating of 11 out of 10.
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Baseball's bottom feeders .........
merklekranz22 February 2010
The glamorous world of big league baseball is turned upside down in "Pastime". Instead of watching underachieving, overpaid, major leaguers, you are riding in a bus with the lowest minor league team, and getting a genuine appreciation for their dreams and disappointments. The acting and 50s atmosphere is perfect. William Russ is outstanding as the 40 year old pitcher, hanging on simply because of his love for the game. Noble Willingham as the wise and compassionate manager is another standout. Anyone who enjoys baseball should like the insight gained from this film. In short, "Pastime" is a baseball winner, even if the team is not. - MERK
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The best film about baseball ever made!
ddazzo29 July 2001
I saw this little gem back in 1991. What a terrific picture! It's a crime that William Russ was not oscar-nominated for his priceless performance. This film says more about the game of baseball than any other that I've seen. Just terrific!
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William Russ has become my PASTIME.
renee-1813 March 1999
I have become an avid follower of William Russ's film career,whether it be television or cinema. My all time favorite performance to date is, ROY DEAN BREAM in PASTIME. Mr. Russ gives a moving portrayal of a gracious, kind hearted man who deserved a lot better than life dealt him. With the exception of this film, it seems Mr. Russ generally takes a supporting role in his work. He is truly a BIG fish in a little pond! This film is worth the watch..or the buy.
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Great minor league baseball movie
leewestfall26 October 2003
This is a great movie about minor league baseball. I recommend it to all baseball fans. If you're looking for endless car crashes and things getting blown up, forget it, this is not the movie for you. But if you're looking for a good, entertaining movie about minor league baseball and the people in it, you'll enjoy this one.
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Low-budget movie with high-budget morality
BobbyT2419 November 2015
I've been trying to find this incredibly soulful movie on VHS or DVD for two decades. It left that big an impression on me when I was younger. I finally found a copy at Goodwill of all places. It wasn't at a Best Buy in the blockbuster sales category but bought second-hand in a forgotten corner of the store. Fitting for this story.

This is one of those sports movies that will stay with you long after you finish watching. It is a fabulous baseball tale of a rising young star pitcher who nobody sees coming who crosses paths with the faded star of a "never-was" pitcher in his twilight season. The low-budget quality of this movie is evident from the start. It feels like a made-for-TV venture. But the strange thing about the muddled lensing and cheap feel only adds to the flavor of this bottom-feeder squad of minor league losers in 1950s Midwest America. You feel the desperation of hanging on to a baseball dream in a dead-end town where young players are beginning their careers and older players are watching theirs fading away into oblivion. Records are set by Hall-of-Famers revered by millions. But this is the story of a bunch of bushers. As far from the major leagues as you can get. Primarily, it's a story about a regular guy whose career boils down to just being a misspelled name in a major league box score from decades ago. Yet he still dreams of making it back to The Show someday. It's a universal feeling of hope and humility.

Roy Dean Bream is a broken down 41yo pitcher who many years ago pitched to Stan Musial in the majors as his "one-and-done" special baseball moment. He never saw the majors again but it never dampened the fire inside his ever-hopeful persona. He's fighting Old Man Time and is losing the battle, no matter how hard he tries. The financially-sinking owner of the ball club wants his wise, Roy Dean-supporting manager to cut the "dead wood" to ease the financial burden. And the young spit-'n-vinegar ballplayers make fun of Roy Dean at every opportunity to show who really belongs in baseball and who really doesn't. The writing's on the wall...

Enter Tyrone Debray, a 17yo phenom who has the gas of a major leaguer but has little to no experience in pro baseball. And being black in the 1950s Southern US was none too easy for this soft-spoken, shy, homesick kid with no friends and bigotry still alive and well in his own locker room. Roy Dean, however, doesn't see competition from this young rookie. He sees the potential for this special kid. With the right stuff, Tyrone could be one of the great ones. When Roy Dean takes Tyrone under his wing and teaches him not only how to be a better human, but also his secret pitch, you can see a mutual respect and friendship between these two competitors who always say, "us pitchers always gotta stick together". It's true sportsmanship and the kind of teammate we could always wish we had when we were young and impressionable, and also the kind of teammate we wished we were when we'd learned some tricks that we could no longer use but knew a youngster coming up could get further with good mentoring.

We've all had those Roy Dean guys on our sports teams growing up. The guy who was never really good enough but always, ALWAYS had a smile on his face and gave you everything he had, even when his best was beneath everyone else's worst. Roy Dean isn't concerned with everyone on his team liking him or even laughing at him to his face. He just keeps trying. He's that rare bright spot, even when he never plays. He may be fooling himself into believing he's better than he is, but he'll never let you know he's hurting inside.

This movie's too slow for the Marvel superhero audience. It's too simple for the complex thinkers who need a mystery to solve. It's too genteel for the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll audience. It's just a beautiful, gentle, moving PG-rated story about a never-was who passes on wisdom, kindness and respect to someone of a different class, color, and background simply because it's the right thing to do.

"Pastime" had nearly zero budget, no marketing, and just a heart for the game that only the true baller would understand. Crash Davis was talented and his retirement ended in uplifting style in the classic "Bull Durham". That was a comedy, it's funny and remains a popular movie. "Pastime" is different. It is a baseball tragedy which some people don't like and probably explains why it's forgotten when mentioning the best baseball movies of all-time. Such a shame. This story conveys the sadness and emotional turmoil of watching your playing days end because someone else doesn't think you "have it" anymore when all you wanna do is play. It's cruel, subjective and powerful. It's also inevitable.

Roy Dean's private moment of pitching only for himself is what this movie aspires to. For love of the game. No crowds. No media. It isn't flashy. It isn't proud. It's just... perfect. If the end doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you couldn't have felt how passionately some athletes feel about their sports. Once your playing days are over, it's like amputating a part of your heart.

As a standard movie, this is a 7 out of 10. As a movie I would recommend to every ballplayer and coach in America to watch and learn from, this is an 11 out of 10. One of my favorite sports movies of all time and I love so many. Pass this onto an aspiring athlete - baseball players especially. I hope they feel it in their soul as much as I have. This one is a keeper.
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One of the greatest baseball films I have ever seen. 10/10
RTheManF8921 February 2009
Well, springtime's around the corner, and that means baseball season's around the corner as well. I had picked up a VHS copy of this film on eBay from someone in Denholm, and after watching it, it automatically became one of the best baseball films I have ever seen (THE best I've seen, is of course, Field of Dreams, which I will review at another time), maybe even one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

The movie is set in 1957, and centers around veteran minor league pitcher for the Steamers, Roy Dean Bream (Played by William Russ from Boy Meets World) whose sheer love of the game has kept him in it well past the height of his career, a three week stint in the major leagues twelve years earlier. In comes Tyrone Debray (Played by Glenn Plummer), a black (or African-American) seventeen year-old rookie, who joins the Steamers and befriends Roy. They end up challenging the racism, envy, and disbelief of the other players, one of the other players being played by Patrick O'Bryan from 976-EVIL.

I really did like Russ' character as well as the character of Tyrone. One notable moment was when Roy asked Tyrone if he wanted a drink, Tyrone tells him that he's seventeen and then Roy offers him soda instead. And how could I write this review without mentioning Jeffrey Tambor's character of Peter LaPorte, the Steamers manager, who in my opinion, made for slight comic relief. The movie also features cameos by six of the greatest major league baseball players of all time, including, Duke Snider, Bob Feller, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Bill Mazeroski, and Don Newcombe.

Highly recommended.

EXTRAS: The Cineplex Odeon logo appears at both the beginning and the end of the tape, but that's it.
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a fine depiction
CyMaddux3 January 2001
One of the unheralded baseball movies of the early 90's , Pastime explores the elements of a 41 yr old pitcher named Roy. The strength of this movie is in the casting. Huss is awesome as Roy and really does an exemplary effort in making the viewing feel his love for the game. The actor that plays Tyrone (Glenn Plummer?) Also does a fine job in his role as a young, black upstart pitcher who is struggling with his career in baseball, fitting into society, and his friendship with Roy.

Surely, a fine baseball movie to watch, although not quite on the level with Soul of the Game or Bang the Drum Slowly, Pastime is worth your $1.. 7.8 out of 10
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Need to Watch Baseball Movie
The movie is set in 1957 on a minor league team that has had its better days. Roy Dean Bream is a 41 year old relief pitcher hanging on a dream of being playing in the show (aka the major leagues). Tyrone Debray is a up and coming pitcher with talent as well as being shy and quiet. Roy takes Tyrone under his wing and teaches him not only baseball but life lessons.

If you have only seen major league series and any Kevin Costner baseball movies you must see this when you can its on netflix if your interested. Glenn Plummer and William Russ have a chemistry and a connection to their characters that is almost as if it has happened to them.

This is by far the best baseball movie in the sense of character development, best comedy and best drama moments in a sports film, as well as the actors bringing these characters to life. If you do not see this don't rant about field of dreams just yet.
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Solid Performances and Great Moments Make Up for an Otherwise Depressing Storyline
ZacAttackFeelsGood16 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was recently added to InstantWatch on Netflix, and because I'm a sucker for any movies having to do with baseball, I decided to watch it. Because the trailer was only about a minute long, I didn't quite know what to expect. What it turned out to be was an incredibly depressing tale of a washed-up minor league relief pitcher who finds himself mentoring a rookie in the post-war era of America.

Roy Dean Bream (Russ) has been in the game for a long time, and aside from one day in the Big Leagues, has spent his career bouncing around in the Minors. He has no close friends and knows in his heart that this days in baseball are numbered. Enter a rookie pitcher, Tyrone Debray (Plummer), who finds himself being mentored by the older pitcher. Instantly, the two form an incredible bond, and the older pitcher feels as if life may be worth living. Unfortunately for Roy Dean, the team's GM (played by Emmy Nominee Jeffrey Tambor) has it in for the veteran and seeks to release him from the one thing that he truly loves: being a ballplayer.

The acting is pretty solid by all, though Russ is definitely the star of the show. It is the good acting, as well as some great moments (including a scene toward the end with Russ pitching to the backstop in the empty stadium) that make up for the fact that it is just downright depressing at times. The very end of the movie, in my opinion, does no justice to the rest of it and that's the unfortunate part. Either way, I'd still probably recommend it to anyone who loves the greatest game on God's Green Earth.
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A powerful cinematic experience
btlore18 August 2001
This is one of the most powerful cinematic experiences of my life. I had gone to the theatre to see another movie but it was sold out, so, on a whim, I bought a ticket to "Pastime". Not since "Five Easy Pieces" has a movie stayed with me for so long. I sat in my car for ten minutes after the movie unable to drive. That night I tried to tell someone about the movie but found that I couldn't talk about it. I still can not summarize it. Ten years after first viewing I still think about it. In a sort of elitist way I am glad that the movie never enjoyed mass appeal. This is not a "cool" movie designed for the ever changing fashions of the cool people. This is a hip movie. It will always be relevant as long as there are people who know what time it really is.
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A wonderful movie that can be appreciated on many levels.
walter-667 June 2004
This movie should be required viewing for all those that call themselves lovers of baseball movies. It is - at it's heart - a great movie about baseball. If you care about the sport, you can't help but relate to Roy. If you care about the human condition, about drama... then please see this movie. Roy's passion, his commitment - this movie does more to describe how it is that grown men can care so much about "just a game" than any baseball film I've ever seen. Pastime is it's own movie, but - if you liked Field of Dreams, or The Natural, or *61, or Bull Durham - I would be utterly and entirely amazed if you did not like this wonderful film. Watch it. Love it. And feel gratified when you pass word of this largely unwatched gem to your friends and family.
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Best baseball movie ever made, and perhaps the best movie ever made
Clay-126 October 1998
The best sports movie of all time -- and perhaps the best movie of any kind of all time, period -- is "Pastime" (1991), both a slice-of-life and larger-than-life view of minor-league baseball in the late 1950s and a portrait of a protagonist worthy of anyone's admiration. The casting and acting (particularly of William Russ in the main role and Noble Willingham as the manager) are superb. It's a character study and morality play set against a baseball backdrop. The only reason I can see why it has not received more notice is a lack of marketing and big-name stars. It puts to shame such garbage as "Major League" and would-be mythic silliness as "The Natural."
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A Movie you get ABSORBED into... and you only wish it lasted longer.
kenpotter18 June 2018
I wish I could find an online group for people who LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie, so that we could recommend other movies with this kind of magic... "Movie recommendations for those who LOVE Pastime, but HATE Bull Durham". That's right... I HATED Bull Durham, but I LOVE Pastime. This is the ultimate movie for when you know you won't be disturbed and you're all alone on a hot summer night. Watching this movie is like taking a journey in a time machine to another time and place, and just being there, and tasting and smelling it all. Several movies have tried to convey that strange mystical something that only true baseball lovers get (but can never explain), but Pastime nails it. Most will have no clue what I'm talking about, but you who do... you get it.
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