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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The big city?

It isn't often that i disagree with my friend Kevin, but i think he misses a few points in his response to G.D. Gearino's not-so-pleasant critique of Bull Durham in this week's Independent.

Leaving aside Gearino's Raleigh-centric history, many of his points are fair. That Tim Robbins is unconvincing as a major league caliber pitcher is undeniable. That we suspend our disbelief at Robbins' laughable delivery is testament to how well put together the movie really is, though. I do think he misses the point in wondering how Annie can afford her quirky lifestyle on a junior college teacher's salary. I always made the assumption that she was old money who could afford to spend her days not working at all, but instead chose to be a teacher and a baseball groupie. Surely Gearino has encountered a few people like that in his life. And when he calls the dialog "tedious, talky," i can only wonder if he was watching the bowdlerized version that gets shown on AMC on a regular basis.

But his strongest critique, that Durham could, and should, have been a more central character in the movie is not without merit. The tobacco idea blows, but there were other opportunities in the movie to bring Durham more into the picture.

And i also have to disagree when Kevin describes Raleigh as "the small city that desperately wants to be big. Durham, on the other hand, is in many ways the big city -- a world-class employment center, one of the nation's best universities, medical excellence -- that still aspires to be a small city at heart."

I could start counting the ways in which Durham is so not a big city right now, and not finish until the end of the month. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but let's get real. For starters, in the big city, G.D. Gearino's critiques would have sunk below the surface without a ripple.

UPDATE: Michael's comment at the original article is a must read.

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  • It's a movie.

    I think it's fine just the way it is, and we should be glad it had the effect it had.

    Changing the movie in any way may take away the movie audience that liked it.

    By Blogger Tony, at 12:23 PM  

  • Barry: well-reasoned thoughts. My language may have been imprecise, but my intent was to convey that Durham has many of the aspects _of_ a big city without actually being one -- all the while seemingly aspiring to be a small town.

    I left Gearino's other points on subjects like acting quality aside because, frankly, some of them may or may not be valid. But I wholeheartedly disagree with Gearino's it's-not-a-Durham-movie conclusion.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 1:06 PM  

  • I could start listing the number of Hollywood movies that feature people with fabulous homes, ample free time and no obvious means of the income to justify them. But I'd still be typing this comment 8 days from now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:56 PM  

  • I think GD's just bummed that Bull Durham is overshadowing that awesome movie that was set in Raleigh -- you know, uh, uh, ...

    By Blogger Steve, at 3:17 PM  

  • kevin - i think your comment here is much closer to the mark. Durham is a small town (OK, a medium sized town). It has a lot of the amenities you'd expect to see in a big city, like great restaurants, great entertainment (even if you have to drive 15 miles for a lot of it), interesting characters, and even a scene or two. It still lacks a number of amenities that most big cities, and even a few medium cities, have.

    But that's OK.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:17 PM  

  • Durham is actually the typical southern "city"---big enough to actually be called a city, and mimics one well...but doesnt really come close to being an actual metropolitan area.

    and people in southern cities like that amenities...townie feels

    By Blogger Vera, at 3:25 PM  

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