Movie Review: The Babe (1992)

Synopsis: A dramatic re-telling of the life of George Herman "Babe" Ruth, starting with his life at a reform school through his final days as a professional baseball player.

Who's in it? The movie stars John Goodman, Kelly McGillis, Peter Donat, Bruce Boxleitner, Trini Alvarado and James Cromwell.

Review: Even though this movie came out when I was still in high school, I never actually took the time to watch it before. However, it happened to be on one of our movie channels last night and my wife and I ended up watching it while waiting for the kids to go to bed. After seeing it, my opinion of it was mixed.

Ironically, one of the main reasons why I avoided watching this movie before is the fact I'm not a big John Goodman fan. As it turns out, he was actually the best part of this movie and did an excellent job playing the title character in a way that humanized him. Unfortunately, outside of Goodman, there really isn't much about this movie I truly enjoyed.

I think my biggest problem with this film is it focuses a little too much on the negative parts of Babe Ruth's life, in particular his drinking/partying lifestyle and failure as a husband. While this, in itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing, even legends aren't perfect, the movie did feel quite a bit one-sided in this regard with his positive aspects (especially toward poor/orphaned children) not getting nearly as much attention. Not to mention, for a film about a baseball legend, there is surprisingly very little mentioned about his records and other accomplishments on the field.

I was also a bit disappointed by the decision to show us very little of his childhood. While the main focus of the movie (rightfully) is on his baseball career, I would have loved to have seen more of his life in that reform school, including some of the stunts he pulled that had the priests deeming him incorrigible. If nothing else, it might have given us a little better insight into the man he became.

Final Opinion: John Goodman is (surprisingly) the best thing about this movie and ends up making it an OK film. But, the filmmakers focus a little too much on the negative rather than trying for a balanced story and the film just isn't as good as it could have been as a result.

My Grade: C


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