The Comeback Kid

I tried to avoid the rain as I walked over to the office and printed out a calendar and the A’s schedule to try to plan out the baseball season. I also printed out tax forms and tried not to get too discouraged about that task. I sat down at the library and watched “The Comeback Kid,” a TV movie starring John Ritter and Susan Dey. Ritter was supposed to be a minor league baseball pitcher on the downside of his career, although he looked like he couldn’t throw a baseball very well. His team was the San Jose Stallions, and I tried to look for any signs that the movie was filmed in San Jose. Ritter sure didn’t look like a character named Bubba, although maybe I’ve been influenced too much by “Police Academy” and “Forrest Gump.” He did outrageous things on the field, like stopping to kiss Angela Aames, and off the field, like starting drunken fights. I don’t know how he avoided jail after assault and battery and causing a lot of damage. Susan Dey doesn’t appear until about 15 minutes into the movie. Thankfully, this was before her bleached blonde look in “Looker.” She is maybe too tightly wound, as Bubba suggests, and doesn’t say much about her past. Her name is Megan, and her first encounter with Bubba comes when she is jogging. In these romantic comedies, I don’t see how the man tries to win the woman over by being a pest. Some aspects of Ritter’s character seem far from what he really is, although I don’t know that I had much of an impression of him in 1980 from “Three’s Company.” The story is predictable, and the children are not great actors, although Kim Fields made a name for herself. It’s really quite a burden for Ritter to carry this movie, which is thin in content. The quality of the video was a problem. It looks like the lighting of many scenes wasn’t right. Megan’s idea of a good field trip is a visit to Fort Ross. Reading about it, it didn’t seem bad, especially if you bring food. The plot takes a truly bizarre turn with a tragedy involving one of the children. Talk about a terrible change in tone. This entire movie feels like it is nearly out of control for much of the duration, and at that point, it is. Bubba attempts a return to the baseball team just as the kids’ track meet is coming up. The story is a recycled Bad News Bears setup, although a more recent reference point would be “McFarland, USA.” James Gregory is one of the good actors in the cast as the manager of the Stallions. Patrick Swayze is one of the ballplayers, and he isn’t seen much, but he is hilarious. There is a cheapness to the production, from the way it is shot to the wardrobe. The story is rather stale. You watch a movie like this because of the stars, John Ritter and Susan Dey. I wish John Ritter were still around after seeing this movie and thinking about “Bad Santa.” Susan Dey is past sixty now, and I liked this glimpse of her playing an everyday woman, working and trying to make good use of $650, in a role before “L.A. Law.” I wonder what happened to some of those kids in the movie. According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 6, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” premiered on NBC in 1963. In 1980, Georgeanna Marie Tillman of the Marvelettes died at age 35 of lupus and sickle cell anemia in Inkster, Michigan. In 1993, Dizzy Gillespie died of pancreatic cancer at age 75 in New Jersey. Also in 1993, Bill Wyman announced that he was quitting the Rolling Stones.

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