Trouble with the Curve
|Trouble with the Curve|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Lorenz|
|Produced by||Clint Eastwood
|Written by||Randy Brown|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Joel Cox
Gary D. Roach
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Trouble with the Curve is a 2012 sports-drama film directed by Robert Lorenz and starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard, and John Goodman. The film revolves around an aging baseball scout whose daughter joins him on a scouting trip. Filming began in March 2012, and the movie was released on September 21, 2012.
This was Eastwood's first acting project since 2008's Gran Torino and his first acting role in a film he did not direct since his cameo in 1995's Casper. A year after its release the film became the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit by a producer alleging that his former partner had taken an unfinished script after a dispute and conspired with his agent and Warner Brothers to present it as the work of a relative unknown.
An aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout, Gus Lobel (Eastwood), is given one last assignment to prove his value to the organization, who views him as unable to adapt to changes within the game. His boss and friend Pete (Goodman) does not want to see him let go, but is fighting off the advances of an ambitious younger protégé, Philip (Lillard), who is gunning to get Gus fired and take Pete's job.
Pete suspects Gus is hiding problems with his health, so against Gus's wishes, Pete contacts Gus's daughter Mickey (Adams), a workaholic lawyer pursuing a partnership at her firm, to join her father on a scouting trip to North Carolina. Gus is to review a top prospect named Bo Gentry, a brash amateur whose statistics make him a likely top draft pick.
Mickey realizes that Gus's vision is failing and starts to take an active role in his work to make up for his shortcoming. Along the way, Gus reconnects with a former player he once scouted, Johnny "The Flame" Flanagan (Timberlake), who is now a scout for the Boston Red Sox, and who takes an interest in Mickey. When Mickey questions Gus about his leaving her with an uncle she barely knew as a child, after her mother's passing, the conversation takes a sour turn, and Mickey storms off, leaving Gus frustrated.
As Gus, Mickey and a group of other scouts watch Bo play, Gus and Mickey realize he can't hit a curveball. Gus advises Johnny to pass on Bo in the draft, and Johnny takes his advice. However, when Gus calls Pete and the Braves' management with the same advice, Philip disagrees based on statistical analysis and stakes his career on his opinion, leading Braves general manager Vince (Patrick) to draft Bo against Gus's advice. When Johnny learns of the move, he believes that Gus and Mickey double-crossed him to allow the Braves to draft Bo instead and angrily leaves.
Gus abandons Mickey at the hotel. She hears a pitcher throwing outside her room, and realizes he is talented just from the sound. She approaches the young man, Rigo, and volunteers to catch for him. After seeing him throw a few curveballs, she calls Pete, who reluctantly agrees to have him tryout in Atlanta.
Gus returns to the Braves' office where Vince and Philip criticize him for his evaluation of Bo. Pete interrupts to let them know that Mickey has brought Rigo to the field. As Bo practices batting, Philip mocks Gus and Mickey for bringing in Rigo, an unknown. Mickey insists, however, and Pete allows Rigo to pitch. Rigo throws several fastballs, which Bo repeatedly misses. Mickey calls for Rigo to throw a curve and again Bo cannot connect with the ball, and the staff realize they were wrong about both Bo and Gus.
The management resume their meeting, intent on signing Rigo. Gus suggests Mickey could be Rigo's sports agent, due to her legal background and knowledge of the game. When Philip makes another snide remark towards Gus, Vince fires him and offers Gus a contract extension. Mickey then gets a partnership offer from her firm. Outside the stadium, Mickey and Gus find Johnny waiting. Mickey approaches him and they kiss while Gus lights a cigar and walks away.
- Clint Eastwood as Gus Lobel
- Amy Adams as Mickey Lobel
- Justin Timberlake as Johnny Flanagan
- Matthew Lillard as Phillip Sanderson
- John Goodman as Pete Klein
- Robert Patrick as Vince
- Scott Eastwood as Billy Clark
- Ed Lauter as Max
- Chelcie Ross as Smitty
- Raymond Anthony Thomas as Lucious
- George Wyner as Rosenbloom
- Bob Gunton as Watson
- Tom Dreesen as Rock
- James Patrick Freetly as Todd
- Joe Massingill as Bo Gentry
- Jay Galloway as Rigo Sanchez
- Georgia Tech
- Atlanta: Virginia-Highland neighborhood including George's restaurant.
- Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves.
- Macon, Georgia, Luther Williams Field, former home of the Macon Braves
- Dawsonville: Amicalola Lodge
- Young Harris: Young Harris College baseball fields
- Athens: College Ave & Clayton streets 
- Dunwoody High School: Baseball Fields
- Jasper, Georgia
Trouble with the Curve has received mixed reviews. Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 51% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 169 reviews, with a rating average of 5.7 out of 10. The consensus reads, "Though predictable and somewhat dramatically underwhelming, Trouble with the Curve benefits from Clint Eastwood's grizzled charisma and his easy chemistry with a charming Amy Adams." At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received a rating average of 59, based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
For its opening weekend, Trouble with the Curve ranked third in the box office, grossing $12,162,040. In its first week in theaters, it ranked second with $16,195,962. It remained in the top ten over the next two weeks with $31,218,109. However, the results at the box office were subsequently low. In twelve weeks, Trouble with the Curve grossed $35,763,137 in the United States, where it was distributed to 3,212 theaters. At the worldwide box office, the film grossed $48,963,137 which is the second lowest take for a film featuring Clint Eastwood as an actor, just ahead of Blood Work ($31,794,718 in worldwide box office).
A year after the film's release, another producer, Ryan Brooks, filed a lawsuit in federal district court against Warner, the producers, two talent agencies, screenwriter Brown and Don Handfield, an actor and former partner of Brooks. He alleged copyright infringement and conspiracy, claiming the produced screenplay of the film bore striking similarities to Omaha, an unproduced screenplay he had commissioned from Handfield that had as its main character an older college baseball coach working through a difficult relationship with his grown daughter, as well as other plot elements.
Brooks, a former minor league baseball player himself, claimed that Handfield took the unfinished Omaha script with him after the two had a falling out over a rewrite. Handfield then, Brooks claims, conspired with Charles Ferraro, his agent at United Talent, to present it—with minor alterations such as changing the setting from college baseball to the major leagues—as the work of Brown, a fellow client of Ferraro with only two minor credits to his name who had primarily worked as a musician. Brooks' suit claimed that Brown's interviews to promote the film seemed rehearsed and frustrating to interviewers trying to understand how he created the film, and questioned how an unknown writer in his fifties managed to land the well-connected Ferraro as an agent.
All the named defendants who spoke to the media about the claims, including Brown, denied and derided them. Warner responded with a letter to Brooks' lawyer threatening serious legal actions in response if he did not withdraw the "reckless and false" complaint within a week. Attached to it was a draft of the Trouble with the Curve script, credited to Brown, that had purportedly been optioned by another production company in 1998. Brooks' lawyer questioned its authenticity to The New York Times suggesting that it bore signs of fabrication, such as the anachronistic use of wireless laptops, and that there was no record of it having been registered with the Writers' Guild of America, a common practice for screenwriters establishing authorship of their work before getting a production company interested.
Lawyers for the studio responded with a motion for summary judgement in their favor and presented evidence that they claimed proved Brown had written the first drafts of the script as early as 1996, including an affidavit from a computer forensics expert authenticating the timestamps on a floppy disk containing those early drafts. Brooks' lawyers called all of the evidence of earlier creation forged or tampered with, in addition to calling attention to anachronistic passages in those purported earlier drafts. In February 2014 Dale S. Fischer, the judge hearing the case, granted the motion, saying that Brooks had overstated the similarities between the two scripts and that, even if he hadn't, "the idea of a father-daughter baseball story is not protectable as a matter of copyright law."
Two months later Fischer dismissed the remaining claims under federal law, but said claims under state law could still be filed in state court. Brooks appealed her decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in October refiled the case in Los Angeles County Superior Court. This time he alleged only breach of contract and did not name either Warner or Eastwood as defendants, as he had in the original claim. He demanded $5 million in damages.
Trouble with the Curve was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 18, 2012.
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- Gardner, Eriq (October 1, 2013). "Producer Claims 'Trouble With the Curve' Came About Through Conspiracy". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Johnson, Ted (October 10, 2013). "Warner Bros. Calls 'Trouble With the Curve' Lawsuit 'Reckless'". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Cieply, Michael (October 11, 2013). "Suit Filed Against Warner Bros. in Screenplay Theft". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Gardner, Eriq (December 5, 2013). "Warner Bros. Asks Judge to Reject 'Trouble With the Curve' Lawsuit". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
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- Horn, John (February 25, 2014). "'Trouble With the Curve' script theft lawsuit dismissed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Block, Alex Ben (October 20, 2014). "'Trouble With the Curve' Lawsuit Refiled in L.A. Superior Court". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Official website
- Trouble with the Curve at the Internet Movie Database
- Trouble with the Curve at Box Office Mojo
- Trouble with the Curve at Rotten Tomatoes