release date: 19 April 2013 (Canada)
run time: 113 mins
considered: Drama, Sport
director: David Boyd
starring: Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Charles Henry Wyson, James Devoti, Nicole Leigh, Juan Martinez, Drew Waters, Robert Peters, Vivica A. Fox, Johnny Baker, Billy Brazelton, Bob Carpenter, Victor Cruz, J. Alan Davidson, Gabe Davis
movie summary: Home Run is a Christian movie that deals with addiction issues and how overcoming adversity through the church can help you with your struggles. Our story follows the life and career of Cory Brand (Scott Elrod), one of minor league baseball’s brightest stars who has a drinking problem. Cory has a horrible reputation off the field and has had his run-ins with the law. After a public relations disaster and car crash, Cory returns to his hometown in Oklahoma to coach little kids baseball as a part of his community service.
Another part of Cory’s suspension is that he has to attend an eight-week program through the church, where he needs to confront and deal with his alcoholism. He attends every week but sits in the back looking at his phone or trying really hard not to remember the abuse his father him through. When he’s not at the field or at church, Cory sits in his hotel room and drinks all day long. His brother Clay (James Devoti) and sister-in-law Karen (Nicole Leigh) don’t think Cory will ever turn his life around but are willing to give him a chance. His high school sweetheart Emma (Dorian Brown), on the other hand, does not want him a part of the baseball team because her son Tyler (Charles Henry Wyson) is on it.
The media show up on the first day of Cory’s tenure as coach. The parents are thrilled to see him, but Emma is not impressed that he’s using the kids to repair his reputation. Cory begins to help the kids win after being the worst team in the league. He spends money to buy everyone brand new jerseys and shoes while bringing a fun, winning attitude to the field. When he’s away from the field, he doesn’t like how Emma hasn’t warmed up to him being back and refuses to see him socially. When his professional career begins to unravel because of his mandatory stint in rehab, Cory begins to drink more and more. He revisits the farm-house he grew up in to try to deal with his demons, but every time he just keeps reliving his father’s abusive attitude.
Emma spends the majority of the movie shielding Tyler away from Cory because he is his son. Tyler doesn’t know about this and thinks her husband, who died while serving in the military, is his real dad. Cory has so much mental baggage that he carries around day-to-day that he doesn’t know to deal with it and turns to the bottle every time. Cory wants to be a hot-shot baseball player, he wants to be a better dad than his father, and he wants the ability to move on from his past. In an attempt to screw up Cory, Emma, and Tyler’s life, the local sheriff who coaches a rival baseball team tells Tyler that Cory is his dad. When Tyler finds out, he runs away and looks for Cory to confront him. Of course, Tyler finds Cory drinking at the local bar when Emma shows up to take Tyler away.
It will be tough for Cory to pick up the pieces of his life now that everything is out in the open. After his eight weeks in rehab, his team in Colorado decides to drop him, so he signs a new contract with a team in Oklahoma. He hopes a fresh start somewhere else will allow him to be closer to home to fix his broken relationship with Tyler and Emma. He has come a long way in dealing with his substance abuse issues thanks to the support system he has found and hopes to continue down the right path.
my thoughts: Home Run is not the kind of baseball movie you can put on the shelf next to Major League or Field of Dreams. Although it is about the game and a baseball player, it is not really a sports movie. The focus of the story is geared towards the rewards of joining a recovery group through the Christian church. There is seriously nothing wrong with this movie or the message, except it’s a tad bit cheesy and predictable. Overcoming an addiction, whether it is alcohol, gambling, or sex, is not easy. It takes a support network of good people to help serve as mentors and guides throughout the process to become a better person.
The biggest celebrities and richest athletes all have addiction issues; we put these people high up on a pedestal and become shocked when they crumble under pressure or die. Our story’s main character, Cory Brand, is just an ordinary guy who may never make it to the major leagues but still has personal demons to deal with to be a regular guy. So many people take the high road to facing these problems, refusing to accept or even acknowledge there’s an issue. They say denial is one of the first steps in dealing with addiction issues, and when Cory refuses to grow up, he turns to the bottle instead of friends and God.
When the day finally comes for Cory to look in the mirror, he realizes that he is the only one causing his life to be in this tailspin. He begins to listen to his support group only to learn that he was close to growing up suffered through their own problems just like him. This revaluation finally gets him to understand no one is perfect, and at some point in all of our lives, people have had to overcome some kind of adversity. Cory would not be a rare case, but he would be in the minority of people who overcome alcoholism. Unfortunately, like most people, the only way to come to grips with their addiction is to have an altering experience like he did.
I watched Home Run during its short time at the movie theatre in 2012. When I browsed American Netflix this spring, I came across it again and wanted to watch it again. The plan was for me to write this baseball-themed movie review during the World Series on a Sunday, but I never got around to finishing my draft until today. I wanted to share the movie with my readers because it’s a sports movie and a Christian movie that deals with addiction issues. Not everyone who reads this review will be affected by its message, but then again, maybe this movie has already touched you in some way or another.
my final thoughts: Home Run, despite its plain characters and predictable ending, is a good movie that presents a powerful message about overcoming adversity. This would be a great movie to watch with the family or your church group interested in watching a sports movie that isn’t about the game but the players who play it.
my star rating: 6 out of 10
imdb: 6.0 out of 10
rottentomatoes: 45% out of 100%
roger ebert: n/a
richard crouse: n/a