OK, here's more of me babbling about Hardball. I know it's kind of screwy with the entries being in reverse order, but I have faith y'all can figure it out.
~I just got another great email from Lori. and she has some awesome points about some things. I admittedly get caught up with trying to be clever and fitting a lot in, so I'd like to add her thoughts in a few places. I agree with all of what she says, and thank her for sharing her insights.~
Krix plays Hardball (in her VCR) part 2
After the visit to the hospital, Conor meets Ticky to scalp some tickets. There's a little exchange where Ticky says that Conor has told him about all the kids on the team, letting us know that he is, in fact, starting to care.
Keanu actually got picked up for scalping in preparation for this role. He told a funny little story on Leno about it.
Seems people recognized him.
"Hey, aren't you Keanu Reeves?"
"Yeah," he said. "Do you need tickets?"
I love this guy.
Conor decides to lay another bet to try and get himself out of the hole he's in.
Back at his day job, Conor starts to work with the kids a little more, busting Kofi on his negative chatter.
It's a charming scene by the end. The team, as much as they suck, are starting to come together.
Then a look at a typical day for Conor, in yet another noteworthy outfit. Drinking a brew at what's probably 11 am, he collects his check (he does a funny lunge thing at the receptionist, I'm thinking that was improv), pays the barber, comes home with a slice and another beer and reflects. Or maybe he's just thinking about the pizza. Chicago-style pie does that to a guy.
LORI: YES, he was reflecting. I saw this as a very telling scene, where we learn more about how Conor feels about his shitty little life. How depressing to get the check, get it cashed, then hand it all over (and then some) to the Barber? I mean, what kinda dinner is one slice of pizza and a beer? Tasty, yes, but fulfilling, NO. So we see Conor ruminating about all this, the bleakness that is his life. The man is ripe for a change
Classroom. Jefferson recounting his real life incident as a short story about "banditos". He comes out the victor in this version, though. Conor shows up in what he seems to think passes for a suit. I'm telling you that THIS was the BWAH! moment in this movie. Ray-ray nails it with "Yo coach, why don't you invite your pants down to your shoes so the can party" *snort*
LORI:...the cool thing is, Conor acknowledges it, doesn't let it embarrass him like some adults would. He's so good with these kids, they respect him and he respects them. The scene with G-baby and the uniform is another great example of this. He may have thought he "ain't no good with kids," but boy was he wrong. 'Cause he just treats 'em like people, with respect and kindness, something they don't get a lot of from adults. They respond well to it, don't they?
He looks dorkier than I thought possible. More quasi-slapstick with a briefcase mishap. Kids do their oral book reports. Kofi gives another look at life in Cabrini with his brief commentary. "Where I'm from, don't nobody's father come back." Sad.
It's the first real game, the team gets uniforms, except for G-baby, but Conor soothes his tears and makes him feel included anyway. It's very sweet and we get a sweeter Reeves smile at the end.
Play ball! The Kekumbas can't play for shit, but they're fun to watch. They get creamed even with Kofi's home run. Lots of post-game bickering in the dugout and Kofi quits. Conor takes the rest of the team for pizza to boost morale. After trading some Bulls seats for the pies, Conor and the boys wax about "Goin' to the 'ship" The championship, that is.
Also, Reeves makes holding a styrofoam cup look mega-sexy.
Conor takes Andre home, looking in doorways as they pass down the hall. 'Dre gives the coach a reality check when asked what they do for fun. "Play baseball with you," he says with a shrug. We see it sink in.
Another game, the Kekumbas show a marked improvement. Miles, a quiet kid with headphones pitches. He listens to "Big Poppa" to get in the zone, and it works. Really well. They win the game..
Hey, it's been a while since we've checked in on the love interest plotline.
Conor asks Wilkes out, she'll think about it.
Another game, Kofi watches from the fence. G-baby negotiates his return and while he's no Jerry MacGuire, it works out for everyone.
The team wins again, and Conor scores a victory, too. Wilkes agrees to meet him for dinner. I would too, although he almost lost me with his lame "well-lit, people can hear you scream" line.
LORI: I personally think he had her from the moment she said, "I'm not a nun" and he replied, with that lovely smile, "Thank God!" Well, he woulda had me, anyway. (krix: Me too)
Before dinner, Conor and Ticky go and meet a creepy guy named "Fink", so Conor can place that "one last bet that's going to pay off and turn everything around, dammit". It's a real heavy situation, I can tell by the "Watcher"-like background music. Then, afterwards, as if first-date jitters weren't bad enough, Conor gets chased by a couple of the barber's thugs. This satifies the "In every Keanu Reeves movie, he must run" requirement, and I check it off the list. He crashes into his apartment with a hearty "Fuck this". He makes the call to place the bet but before he hangs up he waffles and switches it. I'm pretty sure this breaks some sort of gambler's code or system or something, but Conor's gut hasn't been so reliable so maybe it's a smart thing. Kind of like when George Costanza did everything the opposite of his instinct and his life started to work out. In any case, he has the "What the hell did I just do??" expression when he hangs up.
OK, at the restaurant. Conor sets the tone for the date by finishing his drink and leading Wilkes to a...get this...dirty table. Right there? You are SO not gettin' any, dude. What a shmuck. And it gets worse from there. Wilkes says she knows he isn't a broker and immediately Conor cops a 'tude. Hello? She's there anyway, man. No matter, he blows it. Blows it bad.
LORI: Yeah, you're right, he does much to blow it on the first date, but I think she blew it just a little too. When she said, "You just don't look like a broker" didn't you get the impression she was sorry it came out that way, that she wanted to backpedal a little? I was offended for Conor, and could totally relate to his natural (though thick-headed) response. That really vulnerable, hurt look on his face, just for a second, right when she said it, spoke volumes. Then of course, he got all macho and stupid, as men will do, and made us hate him, but for that split second we saw just how much it hurt him that she would see him that way and TELL him so.
Anyway, she grabs a cab and leaves Conor with some words of wisdom and a job offer, but he's too busy being a jerk to catch the 6th, 7th, and 8th chances she gives him. Even though I understand why he's being such a dick, I'm not ready to forgive him, no matter how cute that little shrug was. Which means Keanu has done an excellent job in this role.
LORI: Yep, keanu acted his ASS off in this film, no doubt about it.
....more to come. And again, thanks to Lori.