61*

"Excellent"

61* Review


Billy Crystal's 61* explains why baseball is more than a sport -- it's a legacy. I've always seen sports as simple games people play. Sure, those guys out there on the field have talent, but why do athletes get paid more than doctors, teachers, and scientists? Do teachers spend a large portion of their lives hundreds of miles apart from their loving family? Other professions are indeed more important, but seldom do they get this stressful or demanding. Now I have a new appreciation for baseball and sports alike.

Good movies about baseball make the game look like a lot of fun, sharing the enthusiasm and energy of the players. 61* doesn't do that. It does contain intense sequences of ball playing, but the main goal here is examining the overworked life a ballplayer must live in order to receive his short 15 minutes of fame. This movie allows us to take part in that experience, both positive and negative.

It's 1961. New York Yankee teammates Roger Maris (Berry Pepper) and Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) are both challenging Babe Ruth's 60 home run record. Mantle, outspoken and reckless, begins the season with a bang, but Maris, quiet and focused, doesn't look so promising. Fearing he might be traded during his first season, Maris starts cracking homer after homer, while Mantle's excessive lifestyle begins to slow his game. After moving in with Maris, Mantle begins to concentrate on taking care of himself and breaking the baseball record. The two soon converge and become "The M&M Boys."

Regardless of how close the score became, Mantle remained the public's favorite baseball player. Will Maris overcome the negative media coverage and discouraging public image and break the record, or will Mantle take home the honors. And regardless of who wins, will their friendship survive?

Billy Crystal directs with sincerity and passion, never losing his amiable sense of humor. The style, costume design, and the performances capture the 1960s well. Thomas Jane makes clear the contrast of his character at the beginning and end of the story. Berry Pepper proves that he is indeed a talented actor when he's not in Battlefield Earth. His performance is humble, soft, and lovable, although he creates an effective intensity underneath the quiet, compassionate character.

Touching and insightful, 61* not only displays the ups and downs of being a sports legend, it also proves that the best performance in a film doesn't have to come from a human actor. The film's Yankee Stadium scenes were shot at a disguised Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The filmmakers painted infield seats green, and a partial third deck and a 1961 Bronx skyline were digitally added later.

Long shot.



61*

Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 28th April 2001

Production compaines: 61* Productions Inc.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Robert F. Colesberry

Starring: as Roger Maris, as Mickey Mantle, as Whitey Ford, as Milt Kahn, as Ralph Houk, as Bob Cerv, Jennifer Crystal Foley as Pat Maris ('61), as Mel Allen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.