...shining light on the media, one review at a time
When the lazy days and sunny skies of summer roll in, America turns to its national pastime—baseball. Okay, baseball is no longer the favorite activity for most Americans in their downtime. Watching movies or TV is now among the top relaxation choices for many people. Why not hit two balls with one bat and watch A Mile in His Shoes, the ready-made film for family baseball, movie-watching fun.
Life isn’t looking so good for semi-pro baseball manager Arthur “Murph” Murphy. His job is anything but secure with his team on a losing streak that has him scratching his head and searching for new talent. On his way to scout a prospect, Murph’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere turns out to be a remote farm where Murph finds more than just a phone to use.
He discovers the hope for his ball team when he looks out the window and sees young Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a bucket. The eighteen-year-old boy is “special,” Murph tells Mickey’s overprotective parents. Mickey, his parents tell Murph, has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. Undaunted, Murph cannot disregard the talent Mickey has shown, and the manager throws every sales pitch he can think of at the parents who do not want their son to leave.
Getting the permission of Mickey’s parents to let him try out for the baseball team is only the beginning. But Mickey has more to offer than his parents and even Murph can see. He’s about to show himself, the team, and the watching fans that “disability” is sometimes a misnomer that actually means a greater ability to conquer and inspire.
If movies like A Mile were more common, watching them could easily become the favorite pastime for families. The film combines enough story to please those who do not love sports and enough sports to please those who do not love movies. Best of all, A Mile features a plot that is accessible and safe for all ages.
Positive messages, unsullied by any offensive content, pack the film. Amid compassion, honesty, and friendship, the most powerful theme that emerges is the importance of seeing gifts and strengths where others see only disabilities. While not actually a Christian film, a couple characters are purported to be Christians, Scripture is quoted, and Bible reading is emphasized.
The production quality of A Mile is on-par with an average, unremarkable TV movie, but does what it needs to in order to support the inspiring story. Dean Cain as Murph is responsible for making the film greater than it could have been, as he is obviously the star in more than just title.
Playing the lead in a run of quality, family-friendly movies, seems to agree with Cain, since his acting chops grow with each role he takes on. His confidence and ease in front of the camera, as well as his deep understanding of the character, allows Cain to make something special out of a role that could have been one-dimensional in another actor’s hands.
A Mile is undeniably a sports movie and has some of the predictability that typically goes with that genre. At the same time, the film offers a few twists, as well as stronger characters and broader messages than many sports flicks, providing plenty of interest and entertainment for sports-phobic viewers. Ultimately, A Mile is a resounding home run for family-friendly entertainment and the value of all human life.
Check out these similar titles:
The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend (L.A. Film Partners, 1991)
Game Time: Tackling the Past (Proctor & Gamble Productions, 2011)
One Hit from Home (Pure Flix, 2012, recommended for teens and adults)
For more ideas, visit our What to Watch page!