views updated

61* ★★★ 2001

Crystal's nostalgic and meticulous telling of the 1961 home run race between Mickey Mantle (Jane) and Roger Maris (Pepper) clears the fence. Pepper and Jane are excellent as the “M & M Boys,” and the rest of the solid cast is up to the task as well. The fine script mixes the baseball action with the behind the scenes material well. Crystal and writer Steinberg take great pains to show the tremendous pressure and outside distractions with which both players had to contend. With the exception of a few sportswriters (the obligatory villains), most of the characters are fleshed out nicely, instead of becoming a checklist of familiar names. Baseball geeks will find nits to pick, but for the most part, the baseball scenes and historical facts are right on the mark. Crystal's daughter plays Mrs. Maris. 128m/C VHS, DVD . Thomas Jane, Barry Pepper, Chris Bauer, Christopher McDonald, Anthony Michael Hall, Bob Gunton, Bruce McGill, Richard Masur, Bobby Hosea, Donald Moffat, Renee Taylor, Joe Grifasi, Michael Nouri, Paul Borghese, Jennifer Crystal Foley, Seymour Cassel, Peter Jacobson, Robert Joy, Pat(ricia) Crowley, Robert Costanzo; D: Billy Crystal; W: Hank Steinberg; C: Haskell Wexler; M: Marc Shaiman. CABLE