Bull Durham (1988)

bull durham poster 1988 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun comedy-romance

Somewhat average at points

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Bull Durham

Studio:  The Mount Company

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama/Romance/Sports

Release Date(s):  June 15, 1988

MPAA Rating:  R

bull durham kevin costner susan sarandon tim robbins

I’ll pick one of you…now compete for my affection!

The Durham Bulls might have just found their winning ticket.  Hotshot pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) has a shotgun for an arm…but he has a little problem with accuracy.  Bringing in veteran catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), the Bulls hope to straighten LaLoosh (who renames himself “Nuke”) out.  Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) picks one player a year to sleep with and Nuke and Crash are both potential targets.  The more Crash plays hard to get, the more Annie wants him…and Durham Bulls might be headed to their best season ever.

Written and directed by Ron Shelton, Bull Durham is a comedy-romance baseball film.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #936).

bull durham nuke crash tim robbins kevin costner

“You told him what I was going to throw, didn’t you?”

Bull Durham was one of those movies that I never seemed to see.  It would have already started so I would skip it, or I’d find another film to watch.  Having finally seen Bull Durham, it was a fun film.

Though I do find the film fun and the script smart, it feels like other films have taken the format of Bull Durham since its release and copied it.  The romance is rather cliché and you can relatively see the path the movie is going to take.  It feels a lot like other romantic comedies…especially those that came out in the ’90s and ’00s.  Still, the movie is smart and its ties to the sport of baseball works well with the story.

The cast is strong.  Kevin Costner (for whatever reason) has always excelled in movies involving baseball and like Field of Dreams, he is a perfect fit for this script.  There is a good chemistry with Sarandon and Costner, and the cat-and-mouse game develops through the film instead of fizzling like it does in many romances.  The scene-stealer however is Tim Robbins as the not-so-bright Nuke whose skill advances him more than his mind.

bull durham susan sarandon tim robbins tied to bed

Well, this is new!

The visuals of the film are rather standard.  It doesn’t play much with them and the movie is rather straight forward.  The baseball scenes are solid and it is always challenging to make convincing sport scenes…but Bull Durham manages to.

Bull Durham is a smart comedy that that obviously has been copied since its release because it is smart.  The movie holds up, and you have to remember it precedes a lot of those films.  For a solid and smart romantic comedy, Bull Durham has stood the test of time.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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