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The movie follows sportswriter Al Stump when he is assigned to set Ty Cobb's story down. Stump must either candycoat his subject's life or present an accurate picture of a disgusting man who happened to become an American sports hero.
While the story of Cobb himself is a worthy one (Shelton's treatment, believe it or not, even has its similarities to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane), Shelton shortchanges the very game that made the man famous.
To watch Tommy Lee Jones re-create the persona of the Hall of Famer in Cobb is to encounter the greatest SOB ever to come down the pike -- in or out of the domain of sports. The trek is hardly entertaining.
Most biopics mistakenly try to take us from cradle to grave and end up skimming the surface. The wisdom of Cobb is that writer-director Ron Shelton knows that the close study of a single day can decode a human life.
Cobb cuts right through the winner-take-all ethos of American athletics. It's a raw, inspired, audaciously funny, and unexpectedly moving collaboration between the writer-director Ron Shelton and Tommy Lee Jones.
March 19, 2013
Ty Cobb is such a towering figure in this motion picture that it's easy to overlook Al Stump -- and Robert Wuhl's feisty, witty performance in the thankless role.