An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling, and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.
Though it's been about twenty years since they have spoken with one another, two estranged soul-singing legends agree to participate in a reunion performance at the Apollo Theater to honor their recently deceased band leader.
Bright, educated, handsome Conor O'Neill's promising future was wrecked by his gambling addiction, which dragged him into heavy drinking and petty crime, but worst of all, the stifling grip of loan-shark bookies. Desperate for a loan, he agrees to stand in for lawyer friend Jimmy Fleming as coach of a Chicago ghetto Little League baseball team. His sense of pride, becoming the boys' sole idol, and competition, plus their attractive teacher, motivate Conor. But the crushing loan problem rather requires leaving town.Written by
The professional baseball game Conor takes the kids to was filmed at the now demolished Tiger's Stadium in Detroit. You can tell by the unmistakable Old English "D" on the seats. See more »
Jefferson Tibs first picks up jersey number 35, but when he bats he is wearing number 21, and then when he slides into second he is once again in jersey number 35. See more »
[after Kofi has been taunting his teammates for missing grounders and fly balls, Conor hits a sharp liner that causes Kofi to duck]
C'mon Kofi! That one was right to you! What's the matter Kofi? You scared of the ball?
[Other players laugh]
New rule: Nobody can say anything bad to anyone else on the field.
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The mayor of Chicago, school chiefs and coaches were angry about the kids in the movie using extreme language. After protests and saying it was "overly negative", the distributors decided to edit/dub all of the lines with the word "f*ck" to get a PG-13 rating. See more »
Hard Ball is a slice of life film about an aimless young man given the opportunity to make a difference in the life of ten young boys from the projects of Chicago. Conor O'Neill (Keanu Reeves) is an addict to gambling and this weakness lands him in a spot of trouble where he has to pay off two bookies and needs money fast. He reaches out to an old friend, who's in business, for cash and agrees to coach a little league team for the money.
The film goes on to tell the story of O'Neill and the boys as they change each others perspectives and end up helping each other become better people. John Gatins (Coach Carter, Flight) begins his writing career with this as his second feature film. It is a straight forwards predictable story but it has a special quality about it.
The film stays away from making things bigger than they are and opts for a realistic outlook on the lives of the characters involved. Keanu Reeves gives a performance that not many would attribute to his successful career, but is a performance that shouldn't be overlooked. Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Fruitvale Station) is a one of the kids and gives a performance that foreshadows his career to come.
Hard Ball, while not an Oscar worthy film, is one that will lift you up without asking for the suspension of belief. You don't need to put aside unrealistic happenings in the film because it doesn't try to be something its not. This film is there to give you insight into a story that you don't see everyday. It leans towards reality rather than entertainment and achieves both.
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