Of gods & heroes, and how to hit a Homer

Well, shit. Last night I watched The Natural starring Robert Redford and was more than a little surprised to learn that the movie, directed by Barry Levinson, is a baseball flick supported by Homeric scaffolding. A young cocksure baseball player named Roy Hobbs pursues fame and glory. His dream is sidetracked for 16 years after his stomach is pierced by a bullet (Homeric mythos, say hello to Christian mythos). On his journey home, Roy has perilous encounters: with a majority team owner who lives in a dark, unlit office like a cave, with an alluring seductress, and with a one-eyed gambler who offers Roy 20K to throw a game. After navigating the Scylla of money and the Charybdis of honor, Roy is finally reunited with his faithful, childhood sweetheart, played by Glenn Close, and the son he never knew he had. Of course, you probably knew this already. Not me. It was a welcome surprise. My only grievance is that Close’s role in Fatal Attraction atavistically intruded into the movie. Even during her most angelically radiant scenes, I kept expecting her to go all hysteric and boil a pet rabbit.

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6 Responses to Of gods & heroes, and how to hit a Homer

  1. Frances says:

    And would the boiling of the rabbit have been less traumatic if she was angelically back lit while cooking?

    I actually kind of like this movie. The elements you describe with the mythic qualities assigned to baseball in this country. Makes for interesting though occasionally cheesy stuff.

    • Hi Frances, thank you for dropping by. That would only increase the trauma, being back lit and all — Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich, and this from no less an authority than Rilke! I like the movie, too, epspecially the hokey moments. I gobbled them up.

  2. Tony says:

    So, ‘The Odyssey’ with hot-dogs then?

    I hope they make a British cricket remake 😉

  3. British cricket for sure. I’d see it. In fact, the only sport that can’t be Homerically rendered is golf. Which isn’t a sport at all. It’s like playing darts on a huge grass board.

  4. Fiona Bell says:

    Haven’t seen it, the Homer parallels sound interesting, but would you recommend it?

    • Yes!

      1. Robert Redford is Brad Pitt before Brad Pitt was Brad Pitt. This makes sense to me.

      2. It’s a sweet cultural artifact, containing great shots of Buffalo, NY.

      3. You’ll learn why every dude who saw the movie in his youth cannot resist a woman in a simple white dress, even if he’s now an old crumudgeon.

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