For baseball fans, the question that this documentary delves into is an age-old one: Which hurler threw the fastest pitch in the history of the game? Was it Walter Johnson nearly 100 years ago? Maybe Bob Feller? Nolan Ryan? Or how about contemporaries like Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman? "Fastball" interviews both baseball greats and scientists in order to find out the "answer".
What this film does so well is that it knows the ultimate answer to its thesis query will be "we are not sure...but here are some fun guesses". There is no way to definitively prove anything. So, a large part of this documentary is spent talking with players who actually competed against the legends being debated. Guys like Joe Moran, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, and Nolan Ryan are given prominent interview footage in order to hear there opinion on the matter. This is much-needed for "Fastball", as the main question needs to be as much narratively-driven as scientific proved.
That isn't to say, however, that "Fastball" is all fluff...far from it! It does its best to include as much scientific analysis as possible, such as showing the methodology of the crude devices that once test the speed of pitches from Johnson, Feller, and Gibson, as well as the much more refined radar guns of today. A good solid half of "Fastball" concentrates on the scientific aspect of things, trying to quantitatively discover the fastball ball ever thrown.
Overall, baseball fans will really enjoy "Fastball" for a number of reasons (and I haven't even yet mentioned the great narration from Kevin Costner!). It tries its best to answer the question scientifically, but is also smart enough to realize that people's opinions have just as much weight in the discussion as due the numbers. This leads to a great melding of stats and stories that make "Fastball" multi-faceted enough to appeal to all crowds. Highly recommend as the start of another baseball campaign commences!
Action / Documentary / Sport
Action / Documentary / Sport
The essence of baseball is the primal battle between the pitcher and batter, but the magic of the game arises from that confrontation, only 396 milliseconds in the making. The mysteries and memories of Baseball's greatest heroes are revealed in FASTBALL, featuring interviews with dozens of former players, from legendary Hall of Famers to up-and-coming All-Stars, including HANK AARON, NOLAN RYAN, & DEREK JETER, and narrated by KEVIN COSTNER. Based on the original idea by the film's producer, Thomas Tull ("Dark Knight") who also produced the Jackie Robinson biopic "42," FASTBALL is peppered with archival footage of baseball's greatest moments plus original high-speed 4K footage and motion graphics that unlock the secrets hidden within a ball traveling over 100 mph. While players, historians, and scientists might disagree on who was actually the fastest pitcher in history - and yes, the film does the physics and concludes with a clear verdict - FASTBALL tells the story of the game itself.
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June 20, 2016 at 11:54 AM