Preview: Home Run @homerunthemovie

Last year, I had the honor of receiving an invitation to preview this new movie. Home Run will be released on April 19 at a theater near you. At the time that I previewed Home Run, we were told the movie wasn’t finished. When you read this review, please keep in mind that my review is based on the preview and not the finished product. On April 11, I will be featuring an interview of actor, Scott Elrod (pictured below), and on April 18, a special guest post from Celebrate Recovery.

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Home Run is not your typical baseball movie and quite different from some Christian movies. The acting and storyline intensely engaged me in spite of the obvious Celebrate Recovery plug in the beginning of the movie when the camera focused on the brochure. It’s a baseball story, a recovery story, and an emotionally stirring story about the cycle of abuse without the cheesy acting.

Professional baseball player, Cory Brand (played by Scott Elrod) has a drinking problem. He drinks on and off the job. His agent, played by Vivica Fox, points out the thousands and millions of hits his sometimes violent behavior earns online through social media. When Cory becomes violent in an out-of-control rage over the umpire’s call at a game and hits a bat boy, it earns him a suspension. Cory is forced to attend a Celebrate Recovery 12-step program and coach the bat boy’s little league team in Cory’s home town. The funniest line came when Emma, Cory’s old girlfriend and assistant coach, insists he leave.

The people in the town are the salt of the earth,” she says, “and would not tolerate an alcoholic coaching their children.” She says this as two dad’s approach them in the field. “See,” she says, “volunteers are coming to fill the vacant coach spot.”

Instead, the two dads practically drool over having a professional baseball player coaching their team. The remark from Emma shows just how misguided we are when it concerns celebrities and sports. We still support a player or celebrity in spite of dangerous, addictive behavior, like alcoholism while feeding their narcissism by being one of the thousands of hits on places like YouTube. Hits equate to popularity. Confusion, however, came in a conversation between Emma and Cory.

First contact with Emma after seeing Emma’s son left me confused. I didn’t understand until deeper into the movie that Emma’s son was Cory’s son, too. Emma and Cory were high school sweethearts. The silent communication between Emma and Cory as illustrated by facial expressions and broken sentences were too vague. Instead of heightening the suspense, I waited in slight frustration to hear confirmation of my suspicions. It should have been a little more obvious.

When Cory attends his first Celebrate Recovery meeting, a porn addict tells his story. Cory’s line, “Still can’t believe people talk like that in church,” made me reflect on the plastic smiles I think some of us wear in church to hide our amazing testimonies. After eight Celebrate Recovery meetings, Cory is no longer required to attend; now it’s voluntary. Cory experiences various internal struggles in trying to deny his alcoholic cravings, still getting drunk, and through his struggles Cory hears his father berating him. They are memories of growing up with an emotionally and physically abusive father that continue to encourage his alcoholism. Cory hasn’t been impacted by the meetings and attends because it’s required until the eighth meeting.

As Cory attended the eight meetings, the movie shared stories of addictions. Jaye Lene Long, the coordinator, later explained the stories were true. The actors and actresses in the movie were not professional actors, but real Celebrate Recovery people telling their stories. John Baker of Celebrate Recovery made a cameo appearance. This added touch of realism made the story feel like a carnivorous worm eating away at my gut, and in several instances, I clapped my hands over my mouth when I thought I knew to what explosive end the story line would take me.

It’s a beautiful story of a baseball player struggling with unresolved pain and a drinking issue, in love with the mother of his child and dealing with the awkwardness of being an absentee dad. The romance becomes a side plot to the real story of Cory and his brother and their abusive father. Overall, I gave this movie five stars. The impact of it on this culture will be fantastic.

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