David Gritten reviews Trouble with the Curve and Sightseers

By David Gritten, Friday 30 November 2012

Saga's film expert, David Gritten reviews Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Trouble with the Curve and takes a look at the British film, Sightseers.

Trouble with the Curve

He’s been involved in the film business for almost 60 years now, so Clint Eastwood must surely know that old show-business adage “Leave them wanting more.” These days, Eastwood cuts a venerable figure at age 82, but I rather fear he’s in danger of leaving us wanting less from him.

His last directing efforts – Invictus, J. Edgar and the dismayingly uneven Hereafter – all left a lot to be desired. And this return to acting, following a four-year break after Gran Torino, is again a distinctly mixed blessing.

I say this as one who has revered Eastwood over the years. In many respects, he’s the greatest and most enduring movie star of the past half century. Others have come and gone, but he remains. No-one plays macho men with comparable economy and conviction. Behind the camera, he’s a sensitive, thoughtful director, as evidenced by such films as Mystic River and Flags of Our Fathers.

Trouble with the Curve is a baseball movie, with Eastwood playing a grouchy veteran scout uncomfortably reminiscent of the curmudgeon he played in Gran Torino. Eastwood’s Gus Lobel travels to high schools in North Carolina, living on the road and eyeing up potentially promising talent.  As you’d imagine, he’s an old-fashioned guy, whose experience tells him the quality of a pitch by the sound it makes when it connects with the bat. Not for Gus the statistics-based Moneyball approach to the baseball, beloved by computer geeks; he likes to go and watch games, the better to judge a player’s character.

It doesn’t help that he’s gradually losing his sight. And his workaholic lawyer daughter (Amy Adams) is worried enough about him to join him on the road, which cramps his style. She tentatively embarks on a romance with a younger scout, played by Justin Timberlake, who offers weak jokes, then grins contentedly at his alleged wit.

This is pretty creaky stuff, though the modest, slightly shabby world of minor league baseball is captured knowingly. And admittedly it’s a story with a good heart. Trouble with the Curve is best viewed as an Amy Adams movie, and her previous performances in films as varied as Enchanted and Junebug have already marked her as an actress always worth watching. She’s the best reason to see Trouble with the Curve, for all its dollops of sentiment and predictable narrative. It’s a pleasant enough experience, though it never hits one out of the ballpark.


I won’t even pretend that Sightseers is targeted at a Saga-generation audience; its tone is hinted at by its grisly deaths being played for laughs, which marks it as an example of post-Quentin Tarantino film-making.

Still, it’s rather droll in parts, and its British director Ben Wheatley is a man to watch – a film-maker with a definite assured style.

The plot doesn’t amount to much – Chris and Tina (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram) a homely thirtysomething couple from the West Midlands, take a road trip around Britain in his caravan, taking in such delights as the Crich Tramway Museum and the glorious Keswick Pencil Museum. What Tina doesn’t know is that Chris is a man on a short fuse, and people who annoy him tend to meet their maker in bloody fashion. It’s this uneasy mix between banality and murderous violence that gives Sightseers its distinctive flavour. 

Wheatley shoots British landscapes intriguingly, lending them a dark, rather austere quality. He’s a talent, beyond question. But Sightseers is very much an acquired taste.

Read David Gritten every month in the the Out There section of Saga Magazine - full of unmissable events, book reviews, art, music, special offers and a whole lot more. Find out why we're the UK's best-selling magazine: Subscribe here now.


  • A scene from the film 'Silver Linings Playbook' by JoJo Whilden 2011 © The Weinstein Company

    David Gritten reviews 'Silver Linings Playbook'

    Saga's film expert enjoys an unconventional romantic comedy.

    Read on

  • A scene from the film Amour

    David Gritten reviews Amour

    Michael Haneke's unflinching but rewarding Amour asks tough questions about how a couple is affected when one becomes ill.

    Read on

  • The Sapphires_Dave (Chris O'Dowd), Gail (Deborah Mailman), Kay (Shari Sebbens), Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell)

    Argo, The Sapphires and Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

    Quentin Falk reviews the strange but true story of Argo. Plus, toe-tapping feelgood comedy The Sapphires and a look at the fascinating documentary celebrating the work of special effects legend Ray Harryhausen

    Read on

  • A scene from the film Wallenberg

    War DVDs

    Quentin Falk reviews four war-related films available from today.

    Read on

  • A scene from the film 'It Always Rains on Sunday'

    It Always Rains on Sunday

    This re-released thriller reminds us that not every film from the Ealing Studios was a comedy.

    Read on

  • Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall ©2012 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.  All rights reserved.

    Skyfall review

    Quentin Falk marvels at how Dame Judi Dench as M 'effectively pinches the whole film'.

    Read on

  • A scene from the film Frankenweenie

    Reviews: Frankenweenie and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

    Thinking of taking the grandchildren to the cinema during the half-term holiday? Quentin Falk reviews two animated films that will entertain you too

    Read on

  • A scene from the film On The Road © Gregory Smith

    Quentin Falk reviews On The Road and Private Peaceful

    Kerouac's Beat classic, On The Road, is finally brought to life on the big screen, while Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo's tale of two brothers during World War One, proves you don't need a Hollywood budget to evoke the terrible realities of that conflict.

    Read on

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Encore theatre tickets

    Great deals and exclusive offers for Saga customers on West End theatre tickets, including matinee club offers, meet the cast events and 2 for 1 deals.


  • Saga Book Shop


  • Saga Shop

    Fantastic prices and free standard P&P to UK mainland deliveries.



Type your comment here

 characters remaining.

The Sessions and Django Unchained reviews

Saga film critic David Gritten reviews The Sessions and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

Saga Magazine makes the perfect present

Treat yourself or a loved one...

Take the hassle out of Christmas shopping by ordering a gift subscription to Saga Magazine for just £19.95 and we’ll send you a box of Guylian chocolates – absolutely FREE!

Saga Magazine

3 issues for £1

For more fascinating stories and insightful articles, why not try Saga Magazine for just £1 for 3 issues.