Updated: Jan 31, 2021
This January, the Cubs DNA team is taking a closer look at baseball movies: picking the classics, unearthing some overlooked titles, debating top flicks, and making recommendations. January is a slow month for baseball, so let's bridge the gap with Baseball Movie Month.
Today, we discuss 42, the 2013 adaptation of the Jackie Robinson story. Starring the late Chadwick Boseman as Jackie and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, this is a modern day movie approach to one of baseball's greatest stories of triumph.
42 is a solid baseball movie. The story is one we've all heard before, but well told. It could easily be a paint by the numbers flick about racial inequality, but it's a bit deeper than just that. It goes a bit deeper into Jackie Robinson's personality, and how Branch Rickey basically hired him to not to have the guts to fight back. To me, that's the most interesting part of the story. Obviously it's really awesome to see Jackie have great success in the MLB despite all of the terrible things he has to endure. But then to take it the extra mile and maintain his cool and mental toughness throughout that year, that's the great story in all of it, and that's what 42 excels at telling.
Chadwick Boseman passed way too young. This movie was early in his career, but showed that he had fantastic promise. He began to just scratch the surface of that as Black Panther in the MCU.
Baseball fan or not, 42 is a must watch movie. Especially in these racially charged times, 42 tells a story that is particularly relevant. Sometimes we need the guts not to fight back, to not escalate things. I give 42 a 9/10.
If there was ever a baseball story to tell, Jackie Robinson's story is the one to be told. 42 does it extremely well touching all the points you'd expect. Most importantly, 42 captures the most important story of the Negro Leagues; perseverance in the face of extreme adversity. Chadwick Boseman played the part superbly and demonstrated the person that Jackie Robinson was. 42 is easily one of my top baseball movies. I give it a 9/10
• 42 owns the record for highest opening weekend gross for a baseball movie, with $27 million.
• In the movie, Branch Rickey deals with Dodger players threatening to walk out if they have to play with Robinson. He threatens to trade them to Pittsburg. In real life, Branch Rickey would later go to Pittsburg himself, in 1951.