(This may or may not become a new segment. We shall see…)
This weekend welcomed the Toronto opening of Momofuku on University Ave. The Canadian location of the NYC hotspot doesn’t take reservations, however, so you can expect a 45-60 minute wait if you’re not there when they first open up the doors. And while I popped my head in to see what all the hype was about, I didn’t end up eating there yesterday. Turns out the new Clint Eastwood movie Trouble with the Curve wasn’t showing at the nearby Scotiabank Theatre, so I headed up to the Varsity at Bay and Bloor. Besides, there’s a fairly new burger joint in the area that I’ve been meaning to check out…
Situated on Charles Street, just east of Bay, Slab Burgers attracts your attention with the big BURGERS banner they hang out on the corner (though I didn’t see it there today). They cook ‘em up right when you order, serving up fresh, juicy beef. I went with the bacon cheeseburger, two patties with nice crispy bacon. You can also choose from a variety of toppings: on mine, the jalapenos and grilled onions gave it a little extra kick–not to mention the special Slab Sauce. Because every good burger joint needs its own special sauce, right? The combo also comes with a whole slew of french fries, as seen below.
Feeling sufficiently sufficed, I headed over to the cinema to see Trouble with the Curve, which opened on Friday. The last movie I saw about baseball’s back-office dealings was pretty decent, and hey, this one’s got Clint Eastwood, so it has to be good, right? In fact, it almost seems that Clint saw Moneyball, thought “That’s not the way baseball’s supposed to be!” then made his own movie in protest–although, upon further examination, it seems Eastwood neither wrote nor directed this movie; he’s simply the star of the show.
Trouble with the Curve follows Gus Lobel, an aging baseball scout who’s known as one of the best in the business. According to the film, he signed Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones–even Dusty Baker. But Gus is getting old, his eyesight is failing him, and as the opening scene shows, he even has trouble pissing. Alas, this is not the badass Eastwood we saw in Grand Torino, but rather old-man Clint playing a man’s man with emotional baggage–not the least of which is his daughter, Mickey, portrayed brilliantly by Amy Adams. Mickey grew up as a baseball fan, going with her dad on scouting trips after her mother died at a young age. Now she’s a lawyer, on the fast-track to a partnership–but despite the emotional distance between her and Gus, when she gets the call from the Braves’ director of scouting that something’s not right with the old man, she drops everything to go scout a top prospect with him.
While this movie does a good job of portraying an awkward father-daughter relationship, using baseball as a backdrop, any emotional attachment I had for the film was thrown away by its cheesy, Cinderella, Hollywood ending. I won’t give too much away, but when Moneyball ended with the A’s not getting to the World Series, it felt real, because it was real–the film being a retelling of actual events. On the other hand, the end of this one will make you shake your head and say “Only in the Movies.” When what at first seemed like a semi-plausable story suddenly goes out the window, it leaves me to question some other elements of the plot, such as:
- In what world do the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves have the first two picks in the draft? (One where Tim Hudson and Jair Jurrjens are still pitching for the Tribe, apparently…)
- Why would the Red Sox send a young, inexperienced scout–and a former pitcher, at that–to take a look at a hitter who could go first overall? And what kinda professional scout would suddenly change his mind about a player solely based on something a scout for the team picking after him tells him?
- On that note, why would anyone consider taking a kid first overall when he can’t hit a curveball? And how come a half-blind 80-year-old man is the only one in wide, wide world of sports who notices this?
Despite the touching father-daughter story, there are a few things on the baseball side of this movie that don’t quite add up. You might wanna skip this one, sports fans…