Was all set to see another standard Hollywood violent action movie but switched to 'Running the Bases' in hopes of seeing something different, something with more heart in it. Great decision! Well acted, drama, humor, true to life story, realistic high school baseball, excellent cinematography, and, yes, realistic portrayal of people dealing with very hard life challenges, making them question God. Highly recommend this movie, especially if you played in high school sports (I played Little League), but it's a really great movie whether you played sports or not. The story highlights interactions between coaches and players, players and players, and parents and children. Your heart will be moved.
Running the Bases
Drama / Family
Running the Bases
Drama / Family
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When a small-town baseball coach gets the offer of a lifetime from a larger 6A High School, he uproots his family and leaves the only home he's ever known. But as a man of faith, he soon faces extreme opposition to his coaching methods from the school superintendent.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
November 01, 2022 at 01:25 AM
Baseball, Win at All Cost, Family, Gospel
Every bad Christian movie rolled into one
The atheist critics who normally make fun of Christian movies have really been sleeping on Running the Bases. This movies has everything: Confusing storytelling, bad acting, sports, Christian persecution complex, a nonsense legal storyline, time jumps where the old actors look nothing like the young ones, god killing your brother as part of his grand plan, forgiving your mean dad, an ending where everybody claps. It's technically adept in the sense that you can understand the dialog and tell what's going on in any given scene, if not so much scene to scene, but everything else is terrible. It's amateurish, confusing, offensive & self-righteous. It's worse than God's Not Dead in every way, though having a less compelling actor as the villain will mean it's forgotten.
We open with a dude standing on a baseball field for a few seconds talking about God and before we even get a grasp on what's going on, we cut back 20 years to 2 twin brothers, Luke & Joshua, and this girl they hang out with, Jessica. They play high school baseball & are about to get scouted by Evangel College's team and hope to go pro someday. Then, during the big game where they are getting scouted, Joshua drops dead while rounding third. Luke gets told by the doctor he has the same heart condition & can't play baseball anymore. He get accepted to Evangel (both my parents are alums) & we see him hanging out by the baseball field, talking to the coach & helping out a bit, before deciding to run around the bases.
Then, we cut to him & Jessica getting married, when we had never established that they were in a relationship, then we cut forward 20 years again to him coaching high school baseball and his son, also name Joshua is on the team. He's now played by a guy who's always inexplicably doing a Clint Eastwood impression. It seems like they should have established how he got this job when he never played beyond high school & didn't finish his senior season. It's plausible in a small town, but seems like it needs explaining a lot more than a lot of what they do show. A big shot superintendent from Texas comes to recruit him to coach at a bigger school for more money. This character is always overdressed & speaks in sinister tones for no reason, so you know he's going to be the villain, but it takes a while for this to happen.
So Luke tells his family about the job offer. Adult Jessica looks nothing like teen Jessica. At first they are mad because of their deep ties to their hometown that apparently happened off screen, but Luke says God wants him to take this job, so they are off to Texas. Joshua laments as he's being dropped off to school that he can't play baseball because tryout never happened, but Luke says he made it happen and he's on the team. This seems like the sort of thing that would be clear ahead of time when your dad is hired to be the big shot head coach & you were the star player at your old school, but whatever.
So then we meet the important characters: The principle, the athletic booster & the football coach, who seems like he'll be major rival, but never really is significant. Then, we meet the baseball players, who include the superintendent's son, a mean kid, and miscellaneous. Also, we meet the assistant coach & groundskeeper.
We do a bit of establishing coaching & ball playing, then the other kids ask Joshua why he & his dad run the bases after practice & he explains that they do it to honor God & his late uncle. The mean kid says mean things about the late uncle, a fight ensues. Then, Joshua invites baseball friends to spend the night at his house, superintendent's kid starts asking Joshua about the Bible & next thing you know, he's getting baptized at their church, apparently the next morning because the next scene takes place on Monday & makes it clear the fight was the previous Friday. The mean kid's dad wants Joshua off the team & both of them ended up suspended for several games.
So then the superintendent is mad that he hired Luke to win games & the two best players are out. Note it wasn't previously established the mean kid was a top player & there's been no indication that they've lost any games. They are just behind in points in one game that's currently happening. After the game, coach runs the bases.
Next, the superintendent catches his kid with a Bible. That's bad, because his wife died even though she prayed. Then we see him fuming to some people who we are never told who they are, but I assume it's the school board. He wants to fire Luke. We establish there's a city law that no religious activities are allowed on city property with a $250/offense fine. It's mentioned the city rezoned a church to force them to relocate so they could build a football stadium. They won't fire him, but say to make sure Luke is aware & they'll monitor the situation. The superintendent's buddy is on the council & really excited about all the money they'll make from a champion high school baseball team. How this works isn't explained. Is he a developer who would build the new ballpark that will somehow result if they win? Is high school baseball a big tourism draw? They don't say.
Superintendent tells Luke that it's not the hillbilly town he came from & he can't do that religious stuff here. Here, again, being suburban Texas. Luke keeps running the bases anyway, but when he goes to pay the fines, he finds they were already paid. Then, there's a big game where we're told if they win, the team will be state champions. I think that's not how it works. There are championships and such that are never established. This is just a local game. I don't think the writers know baseball any more than they know things like law. The cops show up & arrest Luke when he runs the bases before the game. He collapses, but the EMT tells him he's OK. (Apparently, just cleared in the ambulance with no doctor for a suspected heart attack.) Then, then superintendent fires him.
Luke gets hauled off to jail. He befriends an inmate about to be taken to prison & gets a visit from the athletic booster & a lawyer who tell him he has a strong civil rights case, but he doesn't want to sue anyone. He gives his buddy his Bible, but the guards say he isn't allowed to take it to prison, then some other inmates beat Luke up because they hate religion. This seems to go one for at least a few days. I guess he doesn't get an arraignment.
The presumed school board fires the superintendent & his buddy chews him out for losing a bunch him a bunch of money & neglecting his son. We find out the older Joshua declined going to Evangel & instead, wrote them a letter asking them to accept Luke & that the local athletic booster paid for Luke's college, which somehow means this was all God's plan. This is based on a letter that was in an open envelope in Luke's possession, so it's weird he didn't know.
Then, we go back to baseball. All the kids are running the bases together when the cops pull up, but it turns out they are just delivering Coach Luke, who got released. I guess you can get arrested for violating a municipal ordinance when we've been told the penalty is a fine, but if the guy who called the cops gets fired, then they let you go. I'm not a lawyer. Coach Luke gives a speech about Jesus, then both teams run the bases together & the superintendent shows up to apologize to his son. Then, we cut to 8 months later & they won the championship & have a fancy new baseball diamond to play on. It's right next to the football stadium, so presumably built on the same land taken from the church, but that isn't mentioned. Also, we found out the superintendent's son stole his dad's credit card to pay the fines.
The story is a complete mess with lots of ideas about how schools, the law, Texas culture & baseball work that don't match reality. Hell, even its take on Christianity is baffling. People don't get baptized a few hours after first hearing about the Bible. Most preachers wouldn't allow it even if they wanted. The persecution is manufactured to an unusual degree with it being based on a pretend law & a ritual that isn't recognizable as religious without a whole story going along with it. It's about how he's called to coach at public school to lead his players to religion explicitly while structuring the story to remove him actually doing anything controversial to achieve that until the very end, when he gives his big speech. It skips over what seem like important plot points while lingering on things that aren't important, like who the players are dating or a bunch of jailhouse drama. There are a bunch of weird acting choices that the director should have called for another take on. It takes every stereotypical way Christian movies are bad & rolls them into one package that fails to even be as engaging as the movies it's ripping off. The old couple behind me who needed to repeat all the dialogue out loud really loved it, though.
Exceptional film... Watching it is a gift to your heart!
This movie honestly is one of the best films I have seen this year! It has something for everyone and keeps your attention from beginning to end. The story was excellent and the characters were realistic with heart that draws you in. Acting was A+ and casting was perfect across the board. One way I know a movie is exceptional is if it can make me cry... I cried! This movie was not only entertaining but it masterfully wove real life principles of faith, courage, forgiveness, redemption, and hope throughout. It also has some twists, turns, and surprises too. This film shines and is a must see for all!!