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|
|Editing by||Joel Cox
Gary D. Roach
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Trouble with the Curve (Back in The Game -title for German release) 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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2013)|
An aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout named Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is given one last assignment to prove his worth 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, and is also fighting off the advances of an ambitious younger protege, Philip (Lillard), who is gunning to get Gus fired and take Pete's job with the Braves.
Pete begins to suspect Gus is not being honest about his health after visiting him at home. Against Gus' wishes, Pete contacts Gus's estranged daughter Mickey (Adams), who is a workaholic lawyer pursuing a partnership at her firm, to join her father on a scouting trip to North Carolina. Gus has been tasked to review a top prospect called Bo Gentry, a brash amateur whose statistics make him a likely top draft pick.
Mickey realizes that Gus' vision is beginning to fail and starts to take an active role in her father's work to make up for his shortcoming. Along the way Gus reconnects with a former player he scouted named Johnny (Timberlake), who is now a scout for the Boston Red Sox. Johnny also begins to take an interest in Mickey. The next morning while at breakfast, Mickey questions her father about why he left her with an uncle she barely knew at the age of 6, after her mother's passing. The conversation then takes a sour turn and Mickey storms out of the cafe, leaving Gus frustrated.
The last day of the trip culminates in a gathering of scouts to watch Bo play. Gus sends Mickey out to watch him as he steps up to the plate. Mickey soon realizes that Bo cannot hit a curve ball. Gus talks to Johnny and advises him to pass on Bo due to his problem with the curve. Johnny goes ahead and advises the Red Sox not to draft Bo. Gus gives Pete and the Braves' management the same advice, but Philip disagrees, staking his career on his opinion, and Braves general manager Vince (Patrick) decides to draft Bo against Gus's advice. When Johnny learns of the Braves' move, he believes mistakenly that Gus and Mickey double-crossed him to allow the Braves to draft Bo instead and angrily leaves.
Mickey and Gus again discuss his decision to leave her with her aunt and uncle. Gus tells her about an incident on a trip they took to Mobile when Mickey was 6, where Gus beat badly beat a man who he believed was intent on molesting Mickey, causing him to realize that scouting trips were no place for a young child. The next morning, Mickey realizes her dad has checked out early as she sees housekeeping by his door. As Mickey packs her bags, she hears a baseball being thrown outside her room, and realizes he is talented from the sound of his pitches. She approaches the young man, Rigo, and volunteers to catch his pitches. After throwing a few curve balls, Mickey calls Pete to tell him about Rigo and Pete reluctantly agrees to have him be seen in Atlanta.
Gus returns to the Braves' office at Turner Field where Vince, and especially Philip, criticize him for not wanting Bo. While in the office, Pete interrupts to let them know Rigo has arrived on the field. As they show Bo practicing his batting skills. Philip mocks Gus and Mickey for bringing the unknown Rigo to their attention. At Gus' insistence Pete allows Rigo to try out. Rigo steps onto the mound and pitches several fastballs, which Bo repeatedly misses. Mickey calls for Rigo to throw a curve and once again Bo cannot connect with the ball. Soon the staff realize that they were wrong about Gus, who calls Bo's problem "trouble with the curve." The staff resumes their meeting upstairs, with the intent of signing Rigo. Whereupon Gus suggests Mickey could be his 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. Soon after, Mickey gets a new partnership offer from her firm after she learns that her colleagues presentation dive bombed and they need her back.
Right outside the stadium, Mickey and Gus find Johnny waiting. Mickey approaches him and they soon 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 to positive 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 normalized 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 also had as its main character an older baseball scout 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 and 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.
Trouble with the Curve was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 18, 2012.
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- "Filming 3/13/12 affecting Los Angeles and N. Highland". Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- "Athens sees itself in "Trouble with the Curve"". Online Athens. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
- "Trouble with the Curve". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- "Trouble with the Curve". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Blood Work (2002). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2013-07-13.
- 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.