Saturday, April 16, 2016

A to Z Challenge: The Natural

As someone who grew up a baseball fan I of course had watched The Natural not long after it came out.  You might remember that's the one with Robert Redford as a baseball player named Roy Hobbs who makes a splash when he's young by striking out "The Whammer" (a thinly-veiled Babe Ruth) in a field.  A black widow takes notice of this and lures him up to a hotel room, where she shoots him.  Years later, he gets a shot at the majors and takes a struggling team to the playoffs with a homemade bat.  At the end of the movie he faces a pitcher who is sort of like a young him, who smashes his homemade bat, but fortunately a bat boy has made his own bat to loan him.  Hobbs hits a home run that smashes a light in a shower of sparks. It's been parodied I think a half-dozen times on The Simpsons.  After the game, he ends up retiring and riding off into the sunset with an old flame and her son, who is presumably his love child.

The primary difference between the book and movie is that ending.  The ending in the book is really depressing.  Instead of hitting a home run, Roy Hobbs strikes out.  And then it's found out that he took money to throw the game, so he's left as a disgrace.  He ain't having a catch with his son in a golden-lit field at the end, that's for sure.  I guess as a kid it was a lot better to have seen the movie than to have read the book.  I mean how depressing would that ending be when you're a kid?  Even more so than when you're an adult.

Of course you probably don't like baseball or anything so you don't care.  I'm just saying.

Fun Fact:  As well as The Simpsons, The Natural has also been parodied on FX's Archer, where he's shot by a black widow because of his lacrosse prowess.

Bonus Fun Fact:  In the movie, The Whammer is played by Joe Don Baker, who starred in a terrible movie called Mitchell that made for a great episode of MST3K--the one where they switched from Joel to Mike as the guy marooned in space.  Baker has been in a lot of other stuff, notably as the CIA agent in the Pierce Brosnan-era Bond movies, but that's what I remember him most for.

1 comment:

  1. The headlight came back! lol

    I haven't watched that movie in ages...I didn't ever realize it was based on a book. Not sure I want to read the book if it's such a downer ending :(

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