Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend a screening of 42. The movie wasn’t the greatest of all time, but it’s definitely worth going to see.
Last weekend, I told my daddy I was planning to see it and asked him if he was going to go see it. He said no to my surprise—my dad is a baseball fanatic. But his reason made perfect sense… Although he is beyond proud of Jackie Robinson, his pioneer move into the major leagues marked the end of the Negro Leagues, in which my dad had always dreamed of playing. My granddad was a manager for a team, and my family is entrenched in baseball. Before dad’s shoe shop burned down, it was ground zero for Negro Leagues memorabilia—the walls were stocked with posters, jerseys, caps, and even flyers from back in the day. My dad, uncles, and aunt all played baseball/softball. My brother played. All my aunt’s grandchildren play. I have played softball and keep wondering when I’ll start back. A couple of the things I’m most looking forward to is taking my dad and son to a Braves game and sitting in the stands when my son starts playing. I say all that to set the tone for why I was so excited to see this movie. Baseball is a living and breathing entity to the Robinsons.
So here goes—a brief review of the movie. Bottom line: Go see it!
- I could just nod my head when Mr. Rickey (and no, it’s not lost on me that Rickey and Robinson make up my dad’s name 🙂 ) told Jack when he was offering him the chance to go to training camp with Montreal: [paraphrased] Do you have the guts NOT to fight back? To win, you will need to be two things: a fine gentleman and a great baseball player. One thing my ma has told her children time and time again is that it doesn’t matter what other people can do and get away with. As a black person you have to be twice as good and you have to keep your hands clean. People will be watching you, and they will punish you to the fullest extent if they can. So it was nice to hear it on the big screen. These folks can scream at you and demean you, but if you fight back, all they will say is “He couldn’t handle it.” And this is a guy who was discharged from the army because he wouldn’t sit in the back of a bus. He had been fighting for a long time, so I found a little inspiration in that he was strong enough to pick his battles.
- I loved loved loved how important his wife was to him. This movie really highlighted how a strong man can lean on his woman to get through trials. She was allowed to be the only wife to go to training camp because Mr. Rickey knew he needed her in his corner. Every time he looked up in the stands for her from the field, my heart melted.
- Even though it was one of the cheesy moments in the movie (that I’ll discuss a little later), I really was moved in the scene when he talked about how his dad was never there for him—he didn’t have good or bad memories because he just wasn’t there, but he vowed to be there for his son. What an image to display on the big screen—a black man who loved and cherished and anchored his family. Thank you, Hollywood!
- Best casting: Alan Tudyk for Ben Chapman, manager of the Phillies. Boy, if no one else was believable as a racist redneck, he definitely was. I mean, his character alone is reason for me not to want my dad to go see this movie. I know he’d be steaming mad at this one crazy azz guy. I did appreciate finding out where this pic came from: It is amazing how the green of money will make folks change their tune, at least in the public.
- I appreciated the story of Wendell Smith, who was a hero and pioneer in his own rite in journalism. It’s amazing to see all the moving pieces that have made history what it is. No man is an island. We all need help along our journey!
- Last (for this post—there were a lot of good moments in the movie) but certainly not least, shout out to the good looking stars of the movie. Boy, Chadwick Boseman is a tall glass of refreshing water. Hubba hubba!! And the Nicole Beharie was gorgeous! Any seamstresses out there need to hook a sister up with some replicas of her wardrobe!
The Not So Good
- There were TONS of cheesy moments where you know good and well it didn’t happen in real life. The cinematic effects were on 10,000 in some scenes. Like gimme a break. Ain’t nobody said that in the 40s in the South. I won’t give examples since I don’t want to be a super spoiler, but I’m sure you will side eye or laugh like I did.
- There was a scene with Rachel and her baby that was super climactic, and I was on edge for the whole scene waiting for something to happen. It never did. Maybe because I’m a nervous, overprotective mom. I am happy nothing happened, but it just wasn’t cool for that scene to do me like that. LOL
Like I said, you gotta go see it. I’ll definitely be purchasing this when it’s released on DVD. Of course there was a little bit of rose tint on the glasses, but it didn’t take away from the reality that you know Jack Roosevelt Robinson went through to become the icon he is. All he wanted to do was play, and play he did!! Salute!