High & Outside: A Baseball Noir | Chicago Reader

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98 minutes · 2017

Drama, Sports
A washed-up baseball wannabe (Phil Donlon) refuses to let go of his dream to follow in the footsteps of his father (Geoffrey Lewis), and winds up crashing against the bitter reality of his own limitations. In a telling scene he begs the wife he’s separated from to come back while his stripper girlfriend is asleep inside the house. Director Evald Johnson, the son of a former MLB player and coach, has a great feel for the athletic milieu. In fact, much of his movie has the feel of one of those dramatic documentary series that are so popular on streaming services—with lots of slow-motion, time-lapse, and slick drone cinematography. He overplays the son’s comeuppance at the end, but there are some memorable vignettes throughout. It’s a pleasure to watch David Yow (front man of noise-rock band the Jesus Lizard) underplay the role of the father’s caretaker, and watching the great character actor Lewis in his last role might be worth the price of admission.

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