“The Natural” belongs in any debate over the best sports movie ever. It has Robert Redford in his prime, a stunning Kim Basinger, huffy Wilford Brimley, sly Robert Duvall, powerful Glenn Close, and even a young Michael Madsen. They’re all delivering top-notch performances on a picture-perfect backdrop that feels really real for an ’80s movie.
Shat The Movies listener Vince commissioned this baseball classic just as hosts Dick Ebert and Drew Zakmin are gearing up for Opening Day. It’s full of iconic scenes that bring us all back to our playing days, when we imagined each of us could swing his own Wonderboy bat and be the greatest that ever played the game.
Everything ages, and “The Natural” aged surprisingly well, but not everything was a home run. Redford is 46 and playing a 19-year-old. His character, Roy Hobbs, seems to leave a trail of death wherever he goes. And the final inning is cornier than a Nebraska farm.
In this episode, you’ll also hear our list of the worst sports-movie actors of all time, find out how a young Big D would get pumped up for high school games, and learn why your mom got a care package from Derek Jeter.
Plot Summary: “The Natural” On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by the unstable Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). After 16 years, Hobbs returns to pro baseball as a rookie for the last-place New York Knights. Despite early arguments with his manager, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley), Hobbs becomes one of the best players in the league, and the Knights start winning. But this upsets the Judge (Robert Prosky), their owner, who wants Hobbs to lose games, not win.
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