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This is far from the case. It is a movie about individuals trying to do the work they love while being frustrated by irrational human attitudes and biases. It is a movie about adapting to the perception that your world is changing and the change will be good for others, but not be good for you. It is as good a movie ever made about finding your goals and persisting in reaching them, even as the value of the goal recedes before you.
And it is hilarious. It is done with sly humor as well as laugh-out-loud wild humor.
I grew up in a segregated South so I really get what this movie is all about. Its replicates a piece of history not covered in the social studies books. The costuming and musical score is worth it even if you decide you don't like to movie.
I remembered this well from when it came out in 1976, and I enjoyed it just as much now in 2018. One little error -- most of it was filmed in Georgia, and in one scene that is supposed to be outside of St. Louis, there's moss in the trees!
Billy Dee Williams was cast perfectly here as Bingo Long...suave, sophisticated, and that drawl. James Earl Jones may have overacted a bit...or was this just exactly how he wanted to play the character. Richard Pryor was good here, although he was better in other films. Stan Shaw was excellent as a young baseball player. Ted Ross is notably menacing as "the bad guy", and Mabel King is comical as his fellow-owner nemesis.
The funny thing is, I'm not much of a sports fan and almost never watch baseball on television or in person. But I tend to like many (though not all) baseball movies. And I really like this one. It's just downright entertaining, and while you'll laugh...it's not really a comedy.
Charming, irresistible entertainment, and you don't have to necessarily be a baseball fan in order to enjoy it. Granted, it gets nasty at one point (for a PG rated film), and gets somewhat serious as well, but it never becomes so ugly that you can't still stick with it. It gets most of its juice from the dazzling performances of its stars, Williams and Jones. Jones appears to be having a grand old time, and co-star Richard Pryor unsurprisingly steals many of his scenes as a ballplayer who thinks that his key to success is passing himself off as Cuban and joining the white league. (There's a hilarious payoff for him near the end.) There's some more than respectable recreations of the period, a jaunty score (by William Goldstein), and wonderful old-time songs (belted out by Thelma Houston). The fair amount of familiar faces in the cast also includes stuntman Jophery C. Brown, Tony Burton of the "Rocky" franchise, Stan Shaw ("Snake Eyes"), DeWayne "Otis Day" Jessie ("National Lampoon's Animal House"), Mabel King ('What's Happening!!'), Sam Laws ("Hit Man"), Ahna Capri ("Enter the Dragon"), Joel Fluellen ("Porgy and Bess"), and Jester Hairston (John Wayne's version of "The Alamo").
Although it has a rather lengthy running time (at 111 minutes), this movie never feels that long, due to an entertaining narrative and characters, and many scenes that hold ones' attention. It's intelligent, making some points about race relations and the way that athletes are treated, but never gets heavy-handed about it, while remaining engrossing both comedically and dramatically. It doesn't seem to be remembered by many nowadays, which is just too bad.
Ken Foree of future "Dawn of the Dead" fame makes his film debut as a muscle man.
Eight out of 10.