61* (2001)

index“Hey, Slick, how come every time you get drunk it costs me money?” Whitey Ford

Number of Times Seen – at least 10 times (10 Oct 2001 on DVD, 18 Jun 2013)

Brief Synopsis – In the summer of 1961, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both chase Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs

My Take on it – It’s always great to watch a movie made with pure love!  This movie is oozing with it.  Billy Crystal is a big baseball fan and as a Nu Yawker 🙂 loved the Yankees and to this day still remembers his first game at Yankee Stadium in 1956.  He adored Micky Mantle and even got to meet him on a talk show in the 1970’s.

They actually became friends and it was Crystal’s dream to make a movie about his friend Mickey’s struggles and triumphs in life.  This movie made that dream a reality.

As soon as I had heard about this movie, I knew it would be one of my favorites and I even bought a DVD before I had even seen it.

Thomas Jane IS Mickey Mantle and Barry Pepper IS Roger Maris. Having seen pictures and footage of both of these baseball giants, Crystal really chose his actors well.  Apparently when Crystal saw Saving Private Ryan (1998), he was so impressed with the resemblance of Pepper to Maris, he immediately cast him.

Having seen this movie numerous times plus having even watched it with Billy Crystal’s commentary and even more so having seen the “making of” video a few times, I can honestly say that this is one of the best baseball movie ever made and keeps very close to the truth as to what really happened in the summer of ’61.

Excellent supporting cast led by Richard Masur, Seymour Cassel, Joe Grifasi, Christopher McDonald, Donald Moffet, Anthony Michael Hall, Jennifer Crystal Foley (Billy’s real-life daughter), Bruce McGill, Bob Gunton, Chris Bauer and MIchael Nouri as Joe Dimaggio.

I give Crystal a lot of credit for showing Mantle as the drunken womanizer he apparently was and not try to hide those facts.  Supposedly, he got permission from Mantle’s family to portray the real man and not try to sugar-coat it.  To be able to do something like that for your idol is very stand up. I raise my baseball cap to you Mr. Crystal!!

This movie hit a grand slam in my mind!  Go see it!

Bottom Line – Great baseball movie. You can see it was made with lots of love. Highly recommended!!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

12 thoughts on “61* (2001)

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