CST Throwback Thursday – Film of the Week

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by Steve Farace,

It’s the middle of March and for me, that means it is almost the best time of the year – baseball season! One of my favorite baseball players of all-time that I never got to see play was Jackie Robinson. To this day I remember doing book report after book report about Robinson and his struggles when it came to breaking the color barrier in baseball. Since it is that time of the year again, I thought it would a good time to throw it back to 2013 and talk about 42.

42 takes us through Robinson’s journey from playing in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs all the way through his first season in the Major Leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Some of you reading this will be able to think back to when Jackie Robinson burst onto the scene, but for others (including myself) I have to imagine what life was like back then. A bathroom for whites and a bathroom for blacks. A water fountain for blacks and a water fountain for whites. Imagine that? Nope, neither can I. Let’s get to the film.

Chadwick Boseman plays Jackie Robinson and does a damn fine job doing so. He and Nicole Beharie (Rachel Robinson) go through such a wide range of emotion and they absolutely nail it every single time! They go from rolling with the punches to nervous to happy, sad, angry and everything in between. Boseman gives such a great performance that it’s as though he has jumped inside your body to force you to feel what he is feeling. Ok, that last sentence got away from me a little, but you get the point.

With a movie like 42, you are bound to have some scenes that are tough to watch. Scenes, where Robinson is intentionally stepped on or beaned in the head with the ball and when their seats on a flight out were given to white people instead, are just 3 of the tough scenes to watch. The toughest scene is without a doubt when Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk), who is the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is standing out on the field absolutely lambasting Robinson while he batted by calling him the n-word every other sentence.

Do you know who also gives a very good performance in this one? Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey), who was the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers and had the foresight to see a player for his skills and not his color. He believed in Robinson and made shockwaves all around the league. Ford has some classic lines that get you fired up.

If you have yet to see this film, do yourself a favor and get that situation rectified. It doesn’t matter if you love baseball or you are not smart enough to love baseball, you will enjoy 42. It is a movie that I will always stop on while flipping the channels. It’s also one of my go-to “already seen” flicks on Netflix. What can I say? I love baseball and I love Jackie Robinson.

The Verdict – 5 out of 5 stars