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Hardball (2001)

Hard Ball (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama, Sport | 14 September 2001 (USA)
Trailer
3:00 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Brian Robbins

Writers:

Daniel Coyle (book), John Gatins (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,652 ( 906)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keanu Reeves ... Conor O'Neill
Diane Lane ... Elizabeth Wilkes
John Hawkes ... Ticky Tobin
Bryan Hearne Bryan Hearne ... Andre Ray Peetes (as Bryan C. Hearne)
Julian Griffith ... Jefferson Albert Tibbs
Michael B. Jordan ... Jamal (as Michael Jordan)
A. Delon Ellis Jr. A. Delon Ellis Jr. ... Miles Pennfield II
Kris D. Lofton ... Clarence (as Kristopher Lofton)
Michael Perkins Michael Perkins ... Kofi Evans
Brian M. Reed Brian M. Reed ... Raymond 'Ray Ray' Bennet
DeWayne Warren ... Jarius 'G-Baby' Evans
Carol Hall Carol Hall ... Pearla Evans (as Carol E. Hall)
Jacqueline Williams Jacqueline Williams ... Lenora Tibbs
Freeman Coffey Freeman Coffey ... Darryl Mackey
D.B. Sweeney ... Matt Hyland
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Storyline

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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most important thing in life is showing up See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the league's team names are taken from tribes in Africa. See more »

Goofs

When G baby speaks to O'Neil about re-negotiating Kofi's position on the team, a member of the opposing team misses a catch which hits his chest. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Wilkes: So you work for Smith & Stevens Securities?
Conor O'Neill: Yes.
Elizabeth Wilkes: What deal did you blow?
Conor O'Neill: What?
Elizabeth Wilkes: Well, I'm sure you're not coaching this team by choice.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

References The Matrix (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Hardball
by Jermaine Dupri, La Marquis Jefferson (as LaMarquis Jefferson), Lil' Zane (as Zane Copeland, Jr.), Lil' Wayne, Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble) and Leon Huff
Performed by Shad Moss (as Lil Bow Wow), Lil' Wayne, Lil' Zane and Sammie Bush (as Sammie)
Produced by Jermaine Dupri
Co-produced by La Marquis Jefferson (as LaMarquis "ReMarqable" Jefferson)
Lil Bow Wow performs courtesy of So So Def Recordings, Inc. and Columbia Records
Lil' Wayne performs courtesy of Cash Money Records/Universal Records
Lil' Zane performs courtesy of Worldwide Entertainment/Priority Records
Sammie performs courtesy of FreeWorld/Capitol Records
Contains interpolations of "Love Is Like a Baseball Game"
by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble) and Leon Huff
See more »

User Reviews

Rough head white guy coaches little black kids in Chicago baseball. Very effectively made with some tough bits that are well above average. 4 Flys Out Of Five
19 June 2002 | by Steve-176See all my reviews

In spite of its rather predictable set up Hardball is remarkably effective. It's a terrific example of a mainstream film that squeezes itself sufficiently out of the comfort zone to be both thought provoking and moving without too often lapsing into the triteness we see so often.

Hardball is yet another genre movie about a desperate white guy (Keanu Reeves) forced into coaching a children's sporting team from a rough black neighbourhood. Does he coach a mob of losers to victory? Does he mature while he does the job? Do the children gain valuable insights from their new friend? Does a love interest hover for our desperado coach?

The first third of Hardball shows us Conor O'Neill (Keanu Reeves) in the throws of digging an even deeper hole for himself with bad bets. He's literally on the run from his creditors and is frantic to get one big win to get the ghouls off his back.

We've seen that thousands of times before on T.V. and film but Hardball worked the trick beautifully. A baseball bat smashing a hole in a wall, where a head was a few moments before, can be extraordinarily effective cinema if done right. I was sold. O'Neill's gambling mate Ticky, played by character actor John Hawkes, has a bit of Steve Buscemi look about him and that has to be a recommendation.

Then we meet the children. The film is set in the notorious Cabrini-Green area of Chicago, a high rise low income housing area which is being progressively torn down. Cabrini-Green is now under redevolopment in what's a bold mixed income experiment, incorporating low/no-income citizens into what an area that was always surrounded by prime real estate.

The children are tough talking 13 year olds, but we're soon shown that they're very frightened. Hardball shows their world as being one where they are rightfully scared to be out after dark. One where people sit on the floor in their high rise for fear of bullets coming in through the windows. Again it was very effective film making.

The baseball is little league stuff in every sense of the word. The coach doesn't seem to know much about baseball and his charges, strangely, instantly improve their game on his arrival. There's the designated tear jerking triumphs and I'm sufficiently chump enough to have been sold on that too!

The token woman is provided by Diane Lane and she's O.K. but that whole plot line could and probably should have been left out. But Hardball was strong cinematic fare and well worth a look.

4 Sporting Flys Out Of Five


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Details

Official Sites:

Paramount

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

14 September 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hardball See more »

Filming Locations:

Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,386,342, 16 September 2001

Gross USA:

$40,222,729

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,102,389
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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