Filmsite Movie Review
Bull Durham (1988)
Pages: (1) (2) (3)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

Crash's Statement of Beliefs - and His Reliving of the Old Days in the Majors:

As Crash was leaving for the door, Annie asked: "What do you believe in, then?" He offered the female baseball devotee a list of his beliefs in a classic, memorable philosophical speech - rattling off what his interests were, including a kiss-related sentence. He boldly opted out and walked out on her offer to be the baseball player she would choose to bed that year:

"Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hangin' curveball, high fiber, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, over-rated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there oughta be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Good-night."

His speech was followed by Annie's classic, breathless response: "Oh, my!" She followed after him to the door as he walked out, and pleaded: "Crash, wait! All's I want is a date. I'm not gonna fall in love with you or nothin'." He still dismissed her: "I'm not interested in a woman who's interested in that boy. Good night." He also bid goodbye to LaLoosh: "See you at the yard, Meat." Annie was slightly astonished and miffed: "Damn, nobody's ever said no to a date with me before." LaLoosh zeroed in quickly: "He's crazy. I want you bad."

Back inside the house, LaLoosh was already undressing in Annie's bedroom when she enticely urged him to slow-down (to the tune of Édith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" playing on a 33 rpm long-playing record on her phonograph player). She urged: "I wanna watch." She implied that she could teach him some useful techniques for both on- and off-the-field - and integrate both his emotional and logical-thinking sides that were completely out-of-sync:

"When you know how to make love, then you'll know how to pitch."

He was instructed to put his shirt back on and then to again remove it, but this time more slowly. She also instructed him to take off his shoes and socks before his pants. He followed her advice, laid on her bed with only blue-and-white striped briefs, and was sexually tantalized by her question: "Have you ever been tied up in bed?" She also removed a piece of rope from a bedside drawer - to tie him up.

On the deserted streets of downtown Durham (except for a few black men), "Crash" was mostly alone as he strolled along. He noticed a sidewalk trash can with discarded brown cardboard rolls inside. He reached for one long roll and assumed a batting stance. He watched himself swinging the roll as if it was a baseball bat in the reflection of a hardware store window.

Annie's Intellectual Seduction of LaLoosh:

Both of LaLoosh's wrists were bound by ropes attached to Annie's steel-framed headboard - and he whooped it up: "Bring it on, baby! I heard about s--t like this." But she surprised him by making him her captive playmate and audience to teach him "life wisdom" and to undergo various initiations, in order to expand his mind with her intellectual lessons. She began by reading excerpts from the poetry of Walt Whitman (whom she called a pitcher for "The Cosmic All-Stars"):

''I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
(skipping ahead)
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also...."

He impatiently interrupted her: "Are we gonna f--k or what?" She chuckled and continued:

"It is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
(skipping far ahead)
Love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love, hot and enormous..."
(Walt Whitman, "I Sing the Body Electric" from his collection of poems titled Leaves of Grass (1855))

Pre-Game Ball Player Conversations:

The following day in the Durham Bulls' training and physical therapy room before their next game, the team's clean-cut, devout, believing Christian, Jimmy (William O'Leary), stood up on one of the stools and announced that he would be conducting a daily chapel worship service in the locker room at 3:00 in the afternoon before batting practice. One of the other players, Bobby (David Neidorf) spoke out: "Loosen up and get laid." Jimmy was cordial: "I know y'all think I'm pretty square, but uh, I believe what I believe."

LaLoosh entered, obviously frazzled and exhausted after his night with Annie, and Bobby reacted teasingly: "Jesus, Ebby, you look like a truck ran over you, man." LaLoosh responded that he had been give a new nickname by Annie: "Nuke - call me Nuke." Larry congratulated "Nuke" for scoring with Annie: "That's great, that means you're gonna have a great year. Is she, uh, as good as they say?" Nuke couldn't really brag, however:

"No, man, we didn't f--k. No, she read poetry to me all night. It's more tiring than f--king. (groaning) 'Limpid Jets of Love.' (to Crash) Hey, Crash. Does that mean what I think it means? 'Limpid jets of love.'"

Crash provided Nuke with Lesson Number Two:

"Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the Show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press will think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the Show, however, it means you're a slob."

The Love Triangle - Crash and Annie and "Nuke":

During the ball-game, "Crash" (# 8) came to bat, and after swinging wildly at a breaking ball, he coached himself: "You're thinking too much, Crash. Get out of your f--kin' head. Don't let him in your kitchen." After another foul ball and a wild pitch, he kept talking to himself: "Annie. Annie. Annie. Who's this Annie? Jesus, get out of the box, you idiot. Where's your head? Get the broad outta your head!" He called a time-out, and caught himself being distracted. He began to settle down and told himself: "All right, you've seen all his pitches. You've seen 'em all. Shorten up, Crash. Bring me the gas, kid. Bring me the gas," but then struck-out. Annie sent him a coaching note from the stands that read:

"Dear Crash, you have a lovely swing but you're pulling your hips out too early. I'd be happy to meet with you tomorrow at the batting cage to discuss it. Annie."

In the dugout, Crash responded by scrawling out his own personal note to be delivered back to her: "Let's f--k sometime." As she read the note outloud back to Annie, Millie obviously rephrased the words: "I wanna make love to you, Crash." Annie responded with her catch-phrase: "Oh, my!"

The next day at the batting cage, Annie swung at practice balls thrown by an automatic pitching machine while Crash watched. He flirtatiously and abruptly asked: "So is this gonna happen? Us?", but she had already made her choice: "I'm committed to Nuke for the season. You had your chance the other day." And then she explained her rationale for selecting the young prodigy-pitcher ("a young, wild, dim pretty boy") as her sexual conquest for the season:

"Young men are uncomplicated. And he's not dim. He's just inexperienced. It's my job to give him life wisdom and help him get on to the major leagues."

Crash realized that they both shared the same goals - to teach "Nuke" how to improve his professional career: "That's my job too." Annie admitted that she had looked up Crash's home-run hitting record: "You hit 227 home runs in the minors...You hit 20 more this year, you're gonna be the all-time minor-league champ. The record's 246." Crash responded: "Well, 247 home runs in the minor leagues would be a kind of dubious honor."

When he persisted in asking her for sex: "Last chance, your place or mine?," she asserted her faithfulness to monogamy: "Despite my rejection of most Judeo-Christian ethics, I am, within the framework of the baseball season, monogamous." He challenged her to pay attention to him and not to the younger "Nuke":

"The fact is you're afraid of meetin' a guy like me, 'cause it might be real, so you sabotage it with some, uh, what is it, some bulls--t about commitment to a young boy you can boss around. That's a great deal. I know women like you. (chuckles) I know women like you. You're a regular patron saint, you know. Stray cats, lost causes or 6' 3'' homeless studs."

She wouldn't allow him to get away with his degrading characterization of her as a particular kind of woman. She cocked her head to the side and retorted: "Oh Crash, you do make speeches."

In the next scene in her darkened bedroom, Annie finished making love and cried out: "Crash, that was fabulous," but it was "Nuke" she was in bed with. Nuke asked her about the embarrassing name call-out, but she cleverly disavowed her mistake:

"Listen, sweetheart, you shouldn't listen to what a woman says when she's in the throes of passion. They say the darndest things....Honey, would you rather I'd be makin' love to him usin' your name, or makin' love to you usin' his name?"

At the Ball Park - "Nuke's" Losing Game Against Fayetteville:

At a microphone set up at home plate, the Mayor (C.K. Bibby) of Durham introduced the afternoon's theme event - 300 Little Leaguers poised for "Cash Drop Night." Shortly later, 1,000 $1 dollar bills were dropped onto the outfield by a helicopter, to be scooped up by the young players.

As Millie surveyed team prospects sitting on the bench, one of the superstitious players Jose (Rick Marzan) was rubbing his bat with a string of chicken bones - a voodoo practice that he believed would improve his hitting: "Chicken bone cross. Takes the curse off the bat that brings me hits." He called himself "a switch-hitting witch." Desperate team-member Bobby (in a batting slump), wondered if it would improve his game too, and begged to spread the magic to his bat:

"I am zero for 16. A big f--king donut hole for 16. I can't remember the last time I had a base hit. Come on, man. Let me have some of that stuff... Jose, come on. Just touch my bat once. Come on, just once. I won't bother you the rest of the day. I swear to God. Just touch the bat once."

The game against the Fayetteville Generals commenced with "Nuke" pitching to the opposing team of batters, but his performance was lackluster. Crash called a time-out and conferenced with him on the mound. He offered Lesson Number Three:

"Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls. It's more democratic."

"Nuke" was uncertain about being coached by his minor-league catcher, and muttered gruffly to himself: "What's this guy know, anyway? If he's so great, how come he's been in the minors for 10 years? If he's so hot, how come Annie wants me instead of him?" Crash turned back to "Meat" (his preferred nickname) and added some more pitching advice: Lesson Number Four:

"You don't know s--t. All right? You wanna make it to the Show, you'll listen to me. Annie only wants you 'cause she can boss you around. Got it? So relax. Let's have some fun out here. This game's fun, okay? Fun, God damn it. And hey, don't hold the ball so hard, okay? It's an egg. Hold it like an egg."

"Nuke" was again disgruntled with Crash and thought to himself: "What's he know about fun? I'm young. I know about fun. Old man, he don't know nothin' about fun." When "Nuke" kept shaking off Crash's 'deuce' signal for a curve ball and wanted to throw a fastball instead, Crash became incensed. He called time-out again and strode to the mound, where "Nuke" was irate: "I wanna bring the heater. Announce my presence with authority." Crash warned about the current slugger, Burt Crook: "This guy's a first-ball fastball hitter, he's looking for heat." After agreeing that "Nuke" could throw a "heat" (fastball) pitch, "Nuke" asked himself: "Why is he always calling me Meat? I'm the guy driving a Porsche."

As payback, Crash told the opposing hitter what pitch was coming up next - and the result was a solid home-run to right field. The ball hit the Bull sign in the outfield - the mascot snorted steam as its eyes lit up red, and a sign promised: "HIT BULL WIN STEAK." Crash laughed at 'Meat': "You havin' fun yet?", and admitted that the hitter was tipped off: "He did know...I told him." This illustrated another of Crash's playing tips: Lesson Number Five - Never shake off the catcher, or he might tip off the hitter on what pitch was coming next.

'Meat' resumed pitching after reminding himself of Crash's first lesson: "Don't think, just throw" - and miraculously, his game started to improve. He threw an effortless strike and marveled at himself: "God, that was beautiful. What did I do?" - a turning point in his education. However, he was still very erratic during the rest of the game. "Nuke" threw another wild pitch that struck the bat rack, and "Crash" hit a home run (after his bat was blessed by Jose) - it was his first of the year. But overall, it was a losing effort for the Bulls: Fayetteville 14, Durham 2.

After the game, manager Skip told Crash (as he was shaving) that he was frustrated with his failing team: "I don't know what to do with these guys. I beg. I plead. I try to be a nice guy." Crash suggested a different strategy: "They're kids. Scare 'em. That's what I'd do." Skip took Crash's advice - he entered the shower room, angrily threw an armful of bats onto the floor - and yelled out: "Everybody into the shower! Anybody ain't in this shower in ten seconds gonna get fined $100." He then ripped into the players:

"You guys, you lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you?...Lollygaggers!"

The team's record so far in the season was 8 wins and 16 losses, and the manager asked himself: "How'd we ever win eight?...It's a miracle." He then gave them a simple quote about the fundamentals of baseball, before the team's 12-day road trip (via bus) commenced the next day:

"This is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. You got it?"

Skip then called Bobby into the office to reluctantly fire him for the long-running slump he was experiencing: "This is the toughest job a manager has. But the organization has decided to make a change. They're releasing you from your contract....Sorry."

Lessons From "Crash" on The Bus Trip:

The players assembled at 6:00 am for the bus' departure around dawn, for a five-hour trip. Annie forced "Nuke" to wear a black garter belt under his uniform to correct his throwing posture, reorient his head and have him pitch from the proper hemisphere of his brain:

"Honey, I want you to wear these when you're pitching on the road...They're garters. They're gonna hug your waist and snuggle and kind of dangle off your thighs and buns in such a wonderful way. It'll help you see things differently. Plus, it'll remind you of me, which is a lot nicer than thinking about all those nasty hitters...You've been pitchin' out of the wrong side of your brain. This will help put things on the right side."

"Nuke" was reluctant: "Big-league pitchers don't use these," but stuffed the garters into his coat pocket anyway.

During the long bus trip, "Nuke" (in an Iron Maiden T-shirt) strummed a guitar while singing his butchered version of "Try a Little Tenderness" (instead of "Young girls, they do get wearied," he sang: "Young girls, they do get woolly, 'cause of all the stress"). Crash became disgusted when "Nuke" was loudly playing a guitar and singing the wrong lyrics. He confiscated the guitar and corrected him: "Stop it! It's not ''woolly.' Nobody gets 'woolly.' Women get 'weary.' They don't get 'woolly.' Nobody's got 'stress,' they're wearing a 'dress.' God damn, I hate people that get the words wrong."

Crash then explained how "Nuke" was wasting both his time and talent on material things (for example, a Porsche 911 with a quadrophonic Blaupunkt), rather than concentrating on his game:

Nuke: "How come you don't like me?"
Crash: "You don't respect yourself, which is your problem. But you don't respect the game, and that's my problem. You got a gift."
Nuke: "What do I got?"
Crash: "You got a gift. When you were a baby, the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You got a Hall-of-Fame arm, but you're pissin' it away."
Nuke: "I ain't pissin' nothin' away. I got a Porsche already. I got a 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt."
Crash: "Christ, you don't need a quadraphonic Blaupunkt! What you need is a curveball, huh?"

Crash gave a nostalgic and pleasure-filled recollection about his short-lived, brief tenure of glory days in the major leagues (dubbed "The Show") to his younger teammates, including the sullen but spoiled hot pitcher "Nuke":

Crash: "In the Show, everybody can hit a fastball."
Nuke: (scoffing) "How would you know? You've been in the majors?"
Crash: "Yeah, I've been in the majors....Yeah, I was in the Show. I was in the Show for 21 days once. Twenty-one greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the Show. Somebody else carries your bags. It's great. You hit white balls for batting practice. Ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains."
Another player Deke (Danny Gans): "They're really hot, huh?"
Crash: "Yeah, and so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the Show. Exploding sliders. (To Nuke) You could be one of those guys. Nuke could be one of those guys, but you don't give a f--k, Meat." (They briefly scuffled together)

A Losing Streak During Games on the Road:

During a montage, the team's bus drove through the countryside, and stopped to order take-out at a restaurant. Lunch bags were tossed up to the windows. At the ball park in a game against Winston-Salem, Max Patkin performed his clown routine in the stands. In the locker room, "Nuke" hid Annie's garter belt in his bag. During the game, one of his pitches resulted in a double to left. The game was being broadcast back in Durham by sports announcer Teddy on WRDU radio through a relay system - his female assistant (Antoinette Forsyth) listened on a telephone, wrote down each play on a sheet of paper (i.e., DOUBLE TO LEFT), and held the pad of paper up for Teddy to add sound-effects (the crack of a bat, crowd cheers, etc.) for his play-by-play analysis ("Double off the wall by Higgins").

Afterwards, the bus rolled on to another city during the evening, and arrived for their next game in Greensboro, NC. Teddy was again broadcasting the game:

"The Bulls will attempt to end a six-game losing streak against the Greensboro Hornets with Nuke LaLoosh on the hill."

Teddy the announcer editorialized about "Nuke's" and the team's poor performance - "Nuke" was pulled from the game and hit the showers after failing to control his pitching:

"That closes the book on LaLoosh today. Five earned runs, five hits, five strikeouts, five walks and five wild pitches. It's time to tell it like it is, sports fans. And this is the most wretched road trip I've seen in 20 years. And possibly the worst Durham team in half a century. Is the modern-day athlete a pale imitation of the great old warriors? Only Crash Davis stands out this year. Beggin' the question, what are these boys thinkin' about? 'Cause it sure ain't baseball."

After the game, the team was driven to a hotel, where another bus of young female ice-skaters ("Holiday on Ice") was also unloading baggage in the parking lot. The players all thought the same thing: "One night with some of these skaters, we can get right back on track." When one of the players said they'd be better off with a 'rainout' to cancel a game, Crash wagered: "Hundred bucks says I can get us a rainout for tomorrow."

During an inspired scene in the middle of the night, Crash (and three other players) took a taxi to the city's ballfield, and smashed through a metal gate barrier. Crash found the water control valves for the field's sprinkler system and soon the entire infield and outfield were flooded. The group drank from a sixpack of beers as they watched: (Crash: "Oh, my goodness! We got ourselves a natural disaster") - to the tune of Los Lobos' "I Got Loaded." Once a quagmire of mud developed, the players slid on the water-soaked, slippery surfaces - both headfirst and around the bases toward home plate.

During another montage, to the tune of "Try a Little Tenderness" (performed by Dr. John and Bennie Wallace), "Nuke" experienced a slow-motion nightmare while sleeping on the bus (on the way home) - imagining himself being mocked on the mound during a night game when he was wearing only the garter belt over his jock strap. When he awoke, he was startled by the dream: "I was playing damn near naked." Crash commiserated: "I know. I have that dream all the time, too." The road trip had been a disaster - Nuke's record was one win and six losses.

Back in Durham, NC - More of Annie's 'Life's Wisdom" for Nuke:

Annie was sitting on her blue Volvo's hood, awaiting the team's arrival in the stadium's parking lot. After "Nuke" collected his baggage from under the bus, he walked over to Annie (as Crash observed them together) - to the tune of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved." After a hug, she drove them away, and he told her how exhausted he was: "What a trip. I was lousy. I mean, I was worse than lousy. Every time I pitched, it was like throwing gasoline on a fire." She thought his tiredness was a good thing:

"Physical exhaustion can be spiritually fabulous. What you need is a good game of catch."

In Annie's backyard in an improvised playing field, she urged Nuke to pitch to Millie who was outfitted as a catcher and crouching at home plate, shouting and pointing to her open crotch: "Baby, come on. Fire one in here." Before he pitched, Annie taught Nuke about the breathing habits of the South American lava lizard, and also preached awareness of the chakra connections between his feet and his testicles:

"Will you just give it a try and lean in?...Now, I want you to breathe through your eyelids....Like the lava lizards of the Galpagos Islands. You see, there are some lizards have a parietal eye behind their heads so they can see backwards. Haven't you ever noticed how Fernando Valenzuela, he just doesn't even look when he pitches? He's a Mayan Indian. Or an Aztec. I forget which one. I get 'em confused...Stand up for a second. Now, I want you to be aware of the chakra connection between your feet and your testicles....Your right leg and your left testicle and your left leg and your right testicle."

Nuke lobbed an easy pitch to Millie, prompting Annie to accuse him of "patronizing" her. He was deliberately being easy on her: "If I throw too hard, I'm gonna hurt the girl." His second pitch was wild and broke one of Annie's windows, but she congratulated him nonetheless: "That was much better. Did you see that? Because your delivery was fully integrated because you weren't thinking about it, 'cause you were pissed off at me. Now, that's progress." Nuke was only interested in sex, however - and picked her up to go inside ("Let's go inside and make love and fall asleep until it's time to go to the ballpark"). However, she wished to stop having sex with him, and instead channel his sexual libido and energy into his game-playing:

"Or we could just take all that sexual energy and kinda hold onto it for a few hours and then rechannel it into your pitchin' tonight. You're a powerful young thing, Ebby Calvin."

That evening in the locker room, Crash discovered Nuke putting on the garter belt over his underwear - and called it "very hot!" Nuke nervously described the reasoning for it:

"Annie says it'll keep one side of my brain occupied while I'm on the mound, thus keeping my brain slightly off-center which is where it should be for artists and pitchers....She also said I should throw whatever pitches you call for."

Crash then slightly rotated the garter belt for a proper fit: "The rose goes in the front, big guy."

Previous Page Next Page