Everyone’s Hero

Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Dana Reeve, and Rob
Reiner star in a film written by Robert Kurtz, Jeff Hand, and
Howard Jonas and directed by Christopher Reeve.

Reviewed by D.J. Palladino

Maybe there is a fine line between hope and neurotic
self-delusion. To me, they seem miles apart, but to the makers of
this film, “never give up” means ignoring those you might hurt in
the meantime. This handsomely animated film, which the late
Christopher Reeve is credited with directing, echoes the mindset of
a certain presidential administration. The story opens in the
middle of Depression Brooklyn with a sandlot game being chosen up
and our hero Yankee Irving being the last kid picked. So far, this
is the clichéd baseball story, and its usefulness is
obvious — baseball helps kids negotiate between the fantasy fan
world of play and everyday reality. But Yankee is told by his
teammates not to swing when he comes up to bat, because he is small
and has a minimal strike zone and the bases are loaded. He ignores
his team, swings away, and loses the game. In other words, Yankee
Irving is a jerk proudly listening only to himself. The movie,
sadly, rewards his heedless go-it-alone philosophy. It’s the Dick
Cheney story for the kids.

It’s not accidental that Yankee has a talking ball and bat that
only he can hear. He deserts his parents, throws himself from
moving trains, and wins a game for the real Yankees. It’s good that
American movies insist that dreams are worth following; we need
nonconformists. But this film says it’s better to be crazy
confident than sensitively connected to a group, and we can’t
survive too much more of that.


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