My family and I decided to spend a rainy Friday night at the movies and check out 42 – a movie I’ve been waiting to see since I heard it was being filmed. The highlight of the evening should have been the movie itself – but it wasn’t. My wife let me know that our two daughters were eager to see the movie just as much as myself and that meant the world to me. Whether it was for Jackie’s heroics or baseball, I was rubbing off on them in a small way and that is why being a father is the best job in the world – you see yourself in your kids.
After getting settled I tried to remember every Jackie Robinson fact I ever read about. Would I know every fact thrown into the movie? Can I predict what’s going to happen next before the movie shows it? Why is this even important? Because even though I am a huge Mets fan, my favorite player of all-time is Jackie Robinson. I could write a book on why, but you wouldn’t read it. I’ll keep it simple – I have more than one image of Jackie stealing home hanging in my house because it always reminds me that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. In Jackie’s case, steal home and then add being the first black man in baseball – it doesn’t get any tougher than that.
Watching the movie, I felt waves of emotion. Anger, excitement, love, sadness – every nerve was hit. Watching his rise from the Monarchs to the Dodgers, you couldn’t help but hope he made it to the big leagues, even though you knew the history – the movie was just that good! My daughter kept asking me questions throughout the movie and wondering if everything was real and if certain events really did happen. My daughters knew about Jackie Robinson, but I don’t think they had any idea just how bad it was for him to be the first black ballplayer in the Major Leagues. If you have children, you would be doing them a favor by taking them to a showing of “42”.
One of the coolest parts for me was Jackie’s arrival at Ebbets Field. I know it’s all CGI or whatever they call it, but damn it looked real and how it reminded me that I was born just a mere 40 years too late. Being able to watch a game at Ebbets Field is something I’ll never be able to do of course, but if time travel was possible, it would be stop number one. That was real baseball, for the common man in the famed city of Brooklyn. Could you imagine the sights and sounds of baseball back then? All I know is what I’ve read in books and actual events told to me by lucky fans who were actually able to attend a game there. I have to think it was Brooklyn’s version of Shea Stadium. Everyone said it was an old rundown park in the end, but it was their old rundown park – and I say the same about Shea to this day.
The movie kept to Jackie’s true story as well as I could remember. I’ve read a ton of books about him and felt they couldn’t have made it better if they tried. The only comment I will make is they cast Chadwick Boseman to play Jackie – and he did a great job – but his voice was deeper then Jackie’s and if you’re a nutty fan like myself, you’ll know he actually had a pretty high pitched voice. But that’s being too picky.
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy “42”, you don’t even have to be a Dodgers fan – just be a fan of overcoming the odds and watching the Good Guy win. Do yourself a favor and catch this movie in theaters before it’s gone – watching it at home just won’t be the same.