Al Stump is a famous sports-writer chosen by Ty Cobb to co-write his official, authorized 'autobiography' before his death. Cobb, widely feared and despised, feels misunderstood and wants to set the record straight about 'the greatest ball-player ever,' in his words. However, when Stump spends time with Cobb, interviewing him and beginning to write, he realizes that the general public opinion is largely correct. In Stump's presence, Cobb is angry, violent, racist, misogynistic, and incorrigibly abusive to everyone around him. Torn between printing the truth by plumbing the depths of Cobb's dark soul and grim childhood, and succumbing to Cobb's pressure for a whitewash of his character and a simple baseball tale of his greatness, Stump writes two different books. One book is for Cobb, the other for the public.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
"It's been two years since I got my pecker up in the air."
First things first, this movie is based off of a book written by Al Stump, who is played by Robert Wuhl in the film. Al Stump in recent years has proved to be a liar and a forger so sports historians are calling into question a great deal of his supposed insight into Ty Cobb. In other words, in all likelihood Mr. Stump exaggerated or outright made up most of his allegations against Cobb to sell books. That isn't to say Ty Cobb was a prince of a human being because there's enough contemporary evidence to show that he wasn't. But some of the most vile things that have been said about him can be traced to Stump's writing. So take the things this movie has to say with a huge grain of salt.
Another black mark against the film is that it has very little actual baseball in it. This movie doesn't care about Cobb the baseball giant. It only cares about Cobb the asshole. To include one side of the man without the other is a pointless exercise in self-righteousness. Why is a biography of Ty Cobb even necessary without his baseball accomplishments? Because he was a racist and a bully? There are millions of those, past and present, who aren't getting movies made about them. It just defies reason. Cobb was one of the greatest (and dirtiest) baseball players ever. Going by this movie, however, you would think he was just some crotchety old man who shared wacky adventures with a sports reporter.
Tommy Lee Jones was too old to play this role, as is especially evident in the flashbacks to when Cobb was younger. He plays Cobb as a silly cantankerous cartoon of a man. Every bit as over the top as his performance of Two Face in Batman Forever. Let that sink in for a minute. Robert Wuhl plays himself as he always does. The movie is entertaining in spots. The comedic parts work better than the dramatic. I can't really recommend it because the bad outweighs the good and, personally, knowing about Stump leaves a bad taste in my mouth over the whole thing.
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