Baseball Movie Review: Hu$tle

Title: Hu$tle
Other Reviews:
Diamond Hoggers Rating: 6.5/10

This was a Christmas gift. And while we will probably never get the use out of it of the $10 it was afforded for we figured because we love the Reds and because of Pete Rose’s historical signifigance to our favorite franchise, we should probably celebrate it as part of our official collection.

This movie was originall made back when ESPN thought it was going to expand the company into the movie production business. It was aired on ESPN as an ‘ESPN Original’. Aparently they thought that Tom Sizemore as Pete Rose was a good fit. I did not. Sizemore–while capturing the schmuck and shallow points of Pete, actually went overboard at times during this film–tough to do we think but he managed.

This movie didn’t have anything breathtaking as far as behind the scenes historical footage in the movie. Most of the stuff in the film the casual fan would not walk away from feeling informed about the situation. I.E. the ‘Dowd Report’ or the significance of a character like Paul Jansen. All one would know is that Paulie Jansen was Pete Rose’s bitch boy who ended up on the short end of the stick.

Scenes/Stuff I enjoyed:

-The conversation Pete had with former owner Marge Schott, although ol’ Marge wasn’t nearly haggard enough.

-Pete rolling around on the bed in an LA hotel with a buxom blonde, only to throw the blonde in Paul Jansen’s room when Pete’s angry wife shows up knocking on the door. Then, go figure that Pete’s wife gets pissed at Paul warning Pete that he is ‘nothing but trouble’! Again and again in this movie old Charlie Hustle makes his ‘buddy’ take bullett after bullett for him and amazingly he just keeps on taking them.

-Pete watching a basketball game late into the night, only to see the shot he needs to fall not fall and OH GOD HE LOSES AGAIN. God, don’t we know that feeling. We didn’t lose future mortgage payments or anything, but this is one situation where we could relate to Pete.

-Rose actually bets on the Reds to win in the movie, filling out his betting ticket with Cincinnati circled several times. We did not realize that this ever took place, later realizing that he bet on his own team several times. It’s also when he gets completely out of hand. WTF was he thinking?

-Paul Jansen sits front row above the Reds dugout at old Riverfront Stadium (ESPN did a decent re-make of the old stadium we grew up in) and Rose constantly looks at Jansen during games to check on the scores of his bets. Jansen then gives Rose a series of 6 thumbs up (wins) or thumbs down (losses). Oh God what that must of felt like. Suddenly we began to wonder: how does a guy like Rose go through life without a heart attack or any type of cardiac episode? There he is, managing big league ballgames; not the most stress free job to begin with. Then you’ve got Rose betting on the side for ‘fun’ and being chased by shadeface gangster types.

-I heard a few Dave Parker and Eric Davis references.

If I heard Pete Rose (Tom Sizemore) say “Who’s better then us” one more time I was going to pull the trigger.

Stuff I could have done without:
-Rose’s shmuckness was over the top we feel. Now, no doubt he’s a shadeball. But no one could be quite as shady as Tom Sizemore portrayed Rose as, could they?
-The whole thing seemed hurried and had the feeling of ‘could use more detail’. For a movie produced by a network built on sports footage, and archives and such; there just wasn’t enough meat and potatoes here.
-The damn thing just kind of…..ends. I mean, give us a little more, would ya?
-I wish there was more footage of actual downtown Cincinnati. The Queen city has been very kind to us. The downtown is very elegant. Would it have been too much to ask to actually produce the movie there?
This movie will never go down as a classic, but it’s definitely solid. Like the man it was based on, it’s far from unblemished. But it gives you an overall peek into the life of baseball’s all-time hit king, and what a degenerate gambler he was.