Washed out professional baseball player Jimmy Easton is given an ultimatum – he can either spend a year coaching his hometown’s losing college team, or face jail time for his troubled and out-of-control lifestyle. College senior and hot shot ballplayer, Brandon, just wants a chance at the pro’s, but isn’t having any luck getting the scouts to come out to his games. The two butt heads as Jimmy half-heartedly coaches, and as Brandon’s attitude and family troubles get in the way of his dreams. They eventually face off in a climactic run, where Coach Jimmy proves he still has it despite a knee injury. Brandon is eventually given the chance of a lifetime, but more heartache in his life threatens to put a damper on his plans. Jimmy then gets an opportunity to go back to the one thing he loves, playing ball, but will a softened heart and wiser mind keep him in the one place he never thought he wanted to be – home?
After watching the previews for One Hit from Home, my son and I were excited that we were going to be able to review the movie. He is an aspiring filmmaker, and we often watch films with a critical eye, looking at different elements of the film, in order to determine how good a movie truly is. Some of the elements we look at are technical aspects, character development, and the storyline.
Technical Aspects: When we looked at the technical elements, we were, overall, impressed with the film. The camera work was done very nicely. There were several special effects that added to the overall quality of the film. The scenes at the beginning of the film were a bit choppy and unclear, but by the end of the film, they flowed much more smoothly. While we didn’t particularly enjoy the music, it did fit with the overall feel of the film, and added to its emotional impact.
Character Development: The washed out ball-player-turned-mentor is an overused concept character, and we find nothing new in Jimmy Easton, with the exception of him having Christian parents (who are deceased) and a Christian uncle. Jimmy’s uncle and his wife are really the only characters in the film who exhibit true Christian character. Both Jimmy and Brandon are angry, violent, and disrespectful to authority. While their outbursts have ended by the end of the film, neither of them shows any true repentance for their actions. Overall, the characters in the movie are shallow and lack believability, possibly because of the poor acting, but also due to a sub-par storyline. Probably the most distracting is the mismatched characters, and the choice of actors/actresses playing the characters. For instance, Brandon’s sensually provocative girlfriend tries to assure him that everything will work out fine. She recites a Bible verse, hugs him close, and although the viewer doesn’t actually see the kiss between the two, it is suggested. Then there is the hyperactive assistant coach that seems as if he would be better suited for an 80’s summer camp film.
Storyline: As I mentioned before, the washed out ballplayer-turned-mentor has been used in many films. I was hoping for a new twist, but was disappointed to find the climax so vague. We see subtle turning points in the lives of the characters, but no real change of heart in any of them.
There are several disturbing elements in the story, but the low point came when Jimmy, who is overcome with grief, races along the highway, stops in the middle of a desert country road. He then has an out of body experience, where he talks with his deceased father who assures him everything will be ok, and God will give him strength. Early in the film, Jimmy tells Brandon “You can’t trust happiness, everything is only temporary.” At the end of the film, after he has it all figured out, he changes his mind and says, “You can trust happiness. True happiness comes from within, from knowing God always has our back.”
Overall, there were too many disturbing elements in the film for it to be labeled as a Christian film. These include scenes of Jimmy without his shirt on, standing at the door of his motel room while an unknown “lady” pops her head out of the room. Then there are several scenes where Jimmy is drinking alcohol and in a drunken stupor. Finally, we see Jimmy back together with his college girlfriend who is recently divorced from her husband. There are just too many negative aspects of this film for me to recommend it to anyone looking for a good family film.