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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on November 14, 2003
The Rookie is the real life story of Jim Morris, a science teacher who doubles as the coach of the high school baseball team. Football is the sport of choice in those parts of Texas, where he lived, so the baseball team has to play on a substandard field with second hand equipment. He used to be a minor league pitcher with potential, but had to quit due to numerous injuries and a fastball that just wasn't very fast, only in the mid 80 mile per hour range (below average for major league pitchers)
However, when he starts pitching batting practice for his team, he somehow has the ability to throw in the mid to upper 90 mile per hour range. He has no idea, of course that the pitches are so fast. He tells the kids that they are not really that fast and that it just seems faster. The players on the team get used to batting practice against major league fastballs and as a result are able to hit high school pitching easily.
Success has not come easily to this bunch, and after a particularly tough loss, he rallies the team to tell them they can do whatever they want if they only dare to dream. They respond that he should do the same--that he should try out for a major league team. He makes a deal with them. If they win the district championship, he will find an open tryout with some team and show what he can do. They win, of course, and he goes for the tryout. This starts a chain of events which eventually leads him to a pitcher's mound in Arlington, Tx and a major league game against the Rangers.
What makes the movie so great is the warmth of the characters and the story. The story is wonderful, especially because it's basically 100% true. But Dennis Quaid is great as Jim Morris. He is believable as a small town teacher who realizes just how lucky he is. Rachel Griffiths does very well as his wife who has to support him through the low times on the way up the ladder. The DVD is a nice package. There are some very good deleted scenes which really round out the story nicely and a 20 minute documentary piece featuring the real Jim Morris who shows exactly what happened when he made his debut on that September night.
Finally, because this is a G rated movie, it will be a favorite among all members of the family. It is just one of those stories which comes around every few decades. You don't have to be a sports fan to love the story of the underdog coming out on top. Jim Morris is the ultimate underdog. Great movie!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 25, 2013
This is a Disney production based on the true story of Jim Morris, a father, teacher, and high school coach who played baseball but injured his shoulder before he could realize his dream to make it to the big leagues. Jim was coaching a perpetually losing team when the students challenged him to try again to fulfil his dream, and they would guarantee to start doing better.

Without spoiling the outcome, I'll say that this story is challenging to anyone who has an unfulfilled dream, no matter how old he/she is. Jim Morris was a fantastic role model for his own children, but for all of us who are willing to try again. We enjoyed this movie very much, and we recommend it for family viewing.
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on September 17, 2007
this a great Disney is the story of an aging high school
baseball coach(Dennis Quaid),who was once on his way to the big leagues
as a pitcher,but suffered a career ending injury.but through series of
events,Jimmy Morris(Quaid)gets a second can probably guess
the rest.this is a great family is inspirational,but doesn't
pour it on too's fun and entertaining.adults will enjoy this
movie as well as is based upon a true story,though i'm sure the
filmmakers took some liberties in telling the story.Quaid is
sensational as the title character,very convincing.if you're looking
for a film the whole family can enjoy,look no further. 4.5/5
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on September 4, 2003
What was interesting about this movie to me, is I live in San Angelo, TX, and lived in Big Lake, TX(named after a big hole in the ground that fills up with water when it rains, which is rare!) until first grade. I also saw Jim Morris at a local grocery store I worked at in San Angelo several times after his stint in the Majors was over. While a great movie, they didn't do a good job of re-creating the area. Not sure why they filmed in another part of Texas instead of this area because everything was too green, and Big Lake is a dry Oil town without cotton gins and all the other stuff shown in Big Lake in the movie. Also the distance sign as he's leaving Big Lake for the tryout in San Angelo lists the distance at something like 100 miles, while it's really 59 miles. Why make up that distance?? Also this would have made the story less interesting so understand why they changed it, but he didn't live in Big Lake, he actually commuted from San Angelo while teaching/coaching in Big Lake. What they did do well is capture the 'spirit' of the area and people..great movie.
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on July 29, 2003
I love this movie. I saw Jim Morris being interviewed back around 1999 or 2000 while he was playing. A couple of years later I found out they did a movie about his story and I had to see it. I wasn't disappointed.
The plot of the movie is simple. A high school teacher accepts the challenge from his baseball team to try out for the big leagues if they win the district championship. They do, and he does.
What makes this story so great is that it really happened, and what makes this DVD so great is that in addition to a great movie it provides you with a short documentary on the real Jim Morris who relives the day he became a big league pitcher. Also, the screen writer gives you some context about the high school baseball team, revealing that the real reason they were able to win district is that their coach was pitching to them, which means they were essentially practicing against major league pitching and then competing against high school pitching. They scored 30 runs in a couple of games, but the writers left that out of the film thinking the viewers wouldn't believe it. For anybody who likes to believe in second chances this film is a true inspiration.
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on July 14, 2003
It has a great storyline: a thirty-something science teacher from Texas who is also the school's baseball coach tells his struggling team that if they win the regional championship, he will once again try out for the Major Leagues (he blew out his shoulder the first time). Oh, and it's also based on a true story.
It's a tearjerker: I won't give away any major plot details, but I will tell you that there is real potential for crying the last forty-five minutes of this movie. It's that emotional.
And best of all, it's rated G!
You can't really go wrong with this one, which stars Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris, who gets a second chance at his dream and is forced to find the courage to go through with it. Kids and adults alike will find something to cheer about here. Young people will be thrilled with the amount of baseball action and the humorous antics of Jim's young son, while the older audience will be struck by the family drama and the mature love and dedication displayed by Jim and his wife (all carried out in a completely appropriate manner). A solid plot, backed up with superb acting and an unusual but well-selected soundtrack of country and folk music as well as a decent score, will eventually carry "The Rookie" into the Hall of Fame of baseball movies.
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on May 6, 2003
Following in the tradition of great baseball films like "Bull Durham", "The Natural", "Field of Dreams", and "For Love of the Game", "The Natural" combines a great message and fine acting performances. Dennis Quaid stars as Jimmy Morris, a high school science teacher who is blessed with a 98 mph fastball. Jimmy has always loved baseball, but his father was in the military so the family was forced to move around a lot. Jimmy found it hard to make friends, but he maintained his pitching arm by practicing against a chain link fence.
Years go by, and Jimmy has accepted a job as a science teacher at the local high school, as well as becoming the baseball coach. The team hasn't been too scucesful recently, but Jimmy is determined to turn them into winners. A bet is made between the players and Jimmy; If the team advances to the state tournament, Jimmy will go to a tryout with a major league team. To Jimmy's surprise, the team holds up their end of the bargain. Jimmy goes to a tryout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and shows them he can still "bring the heat".
A few days later, he receives a call from the Devil Rays' minor league team wanting him to sign. After discussing things with his wife Lorri (Rachel Griffiths), Jimmy joins the team. His success continues in the minors, and its not long before he gets called up to the big club. As fate would have it, Jimmy's first game is in Arlington, Texas against the Texas Rangers. Many of Jimmy's family and friends are at the game, and he gets in to face one batter, who faces the wrath of Jimmy's fastball.
I'm a huge baseball movie fan, and this rates as one of the best I've seen. Dennis Quaid actually took lessons from major league pitching coaches in preparation for this role, so his pitching form and delivery are very realistic. The storyline is excellent and the message is clear; always follow your dreams and never give up. I highly recommend this top notch movie. You'll want to stand and cheer!!
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My daughter talked me into watching "The Rookie",. bless her heart! This movie has it all, humor, dreams, both dashed and fulfilled and, ultimately, a tale of rewarded perseverance.
Dennis Quaid plays Jimmy Morris, a West Texan high school baseball coach whose dreams of a big league career seemed to have floundered on the shoals of injury.
Coaching the chronically under performing Owls, Morris tries to inspire his team to dream of a life beyond their small town horizons. The team turns the tables by proposing a bargain. If the Owls win District, Morris agrees to go to a major league tryout. After the Owls deliver on their side, "It's your turn, Coach." Encumbered by three children, one an infant in a stroller, Morris fulfills his end of the bargain.
I won't ruin it for you, but suffice it to say that Morris confronts the hard choices of doing what he wants to do or doing what he was meant to do. At the end we are left with a true story of a dream fulfilled. Great Movie!
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on March 2, 2003
At last, hugely underrated actor Dennis Quaid gets his due respect. He should have been much more famous long before -- see his Doc in Kevin Costner's "Wyatt Earp" -- but the time has come. Dennis Quaid plays Jim Morris, a major league pitcher who has an amazing story to tell. And that goes like this:
As a kid living in Texas, Jim Morris was dreaming of one day becoming a baseball player in Major League. Having a good talent as pitcher, he had been dreaming of making it Major league player, but now his dream is gone. Being 35 years-old, and good father of loving family, he now teaches chemstry at a local high school, and is a coach of ragtag baseball team there. But one deal with the kids -- that if they win the tournament, Jim also tries out for Major League -- reminds him of his old dream that were long forgotten deep in his heart. The rest of the story is just a miracle.
Baseball rules in Hollywood; and this film turned out an unexpected hit in 2002, and the cast and crew deserve the succuss. Dennis Quiad brings irresitible charm into the character of Jim Morris (himself appearing as an umpire). True, the script by Mike Rich (debuted with "Finding Forrester") shows nothing particularly new. But even so, it is remarkable for not making any wrong steps throughout (except, possibly, the opening few minutes including two nuns and flower petals), and the direction of newcomer John Lee Hancock is slick and natural. Female supporting role played by Rachel Griffiths is, as you find in this genre of baseball flicks, a very typical one, an always supportive and understanding wife, but she does it gracefully, and no one can deny her engaging presence.
The real story is just a bit different from how the film depicts -- Jim Morris was a player in Minor League before his career as a teacher, for instance, but that part is missing from the film even though the final result is utterly heart-warming. Don't say that just because this is G-rated Disney film, it is sugar-coated "feel-good" nonsense. The film has actually a good, old-fashioned story that tells us dreams come true, and when you get a good story like this, all you have to do is tell it straight. And that's the best part of the film.
If you happen to love "The Rookie," see some other films like "The Natural", "The Stratton Story", and "The Pride of the Yankees." Even if you don't like the team, you will like Jimmy and Gary, all-American heroes.
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on February 24, 2003
Watching the trailer, this movie appeared to be nothing more than the typical feel good sports movie in which a bad baseball team decides to start winning and the coach makes good on a promise. I�ve seen that movie before. This time, it is a true story, and that makes all the difference. Jimmy Morris was a high school teacher in Texas, and he also coached the baseball team. Years ago, Morris was drafted by the Brewers, but his pitching arm gave out and he had to let go of his dream. His baseball team has won one game for each of the past 3 years. They lost their first two games of this season. Normally when Morris throws batting practice, he only lobs the ball in there so as to not damage his arm any more. The team�s catcher convinced Morris to throw a couple hard. He does, and it looked good to the team. The team makes a deal with Morris, if they win the District Championship he has to go to a Major League tryout. They do and he does. He is throwing 97-98 Miles Per Hour, faster than when he was drafted by the Brewers. The feel good story is that Morris actually makes it to play for the Devil Rays for two seasons, as a 38 year old rookie. We all know that he�ll make it, but the beauty of this movie is in watching it unfold.
The Rookie could easily have been a 90 minute movie with the focus on the high school team winning the games for the coach and in the quest to make it back in baseball. Instead, Disney does something surprising with this one. The movie clocks in over 2 hours and is a comfortably paced movie. We get to have a feel for who Jimmy Morris is, and what baseball truly meant to him. We see the family dynamic and how it is affected by the life of a ballplayer on the road. Surprisingly, we also get to watch more of Morris pitching in the minor leagues. That aspect could easily have been glossed over, but it wasn�t.
Dennis Quaid as Jimmy Morris is perfect casting. He is believable in his role and not once did anything feel wrong or out of place. The acting was superb and overall, The Rookie was one of the most underrated movies of this past year.
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