film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Fastball 2016 * * * 1/2 Stars


The director of 2016's Fastball is NYC native Jonathan Hock. He's obviously a baseball fan (as am I). With Fastball, Hock is like a telling physics teacher, guiding you through the ins and outs of how a speedy pitch reaches a certain speed. His Fastball is educational and technical without putting you in the forty winks. Time to bring on that stinking cheese!

Fastball with ads, is a docu clocking in at 87 minutes (no puns I swear). Its editing is lightning quick with a clean pace that whizzes by (like I said, no puns). Some documentaries have a self-serving, pretentious vibe but not this one. Fastball features interviews from baseball player legends that are genuine. Their observations of dudes with nasty, high heat are Bible (and that means truth).

With Kevin Costner narrating (why not) and archive footage that is not normally seen (compared to the abundance a la NFL Films), Fastball is a pic that basically fawns about who threw the fastest MLB pitch ever. Vast talks arise in the form of Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Johnny Bench, and Bryce Harper. You just wish Pete Rose with his normally heightened insight, would be in the mix too.

Supposedly hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports (you have the blink of an eye to get it right). With Fastball, you get a clear intuition as to why. Hock is not the most focused of filmmakers but that doesn't mean you're not fascinated or pushed back by what's on screen. In no particular order, he shows you why pitchers like Goose Gossage, Walter Johnson, Aroldis Chapman, and Nolan Ryan were virtually impossible to hit off of. The heightened musical soundtrack in their critical moments just adds to the pain (a good pain at 90-plus MPH). Fastball is well, "ballin".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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