You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

4192: The Crowning of the Hit King

A hagiographic trip through the career of Pete Rose.

With: Pete Rose, Marty Brennaman, Tony Perez, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose Jr., Paul O'Neill, Anthony Munoz, "Wildman" Walker, Gary Burbank, Ken Fouts. Narrator: J.K. Simmons.

Life conforms to the lines of the ball field in Terry Lukemire’s “4192,” a hagiographic trip through the career of Pete Rose, starting with the baseball great’s formative years in high school and finishing just after hit No. 4,192, which broke Ty Cobb’s Major League record. Those looking for mention of the controversy that earned Rose a lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games, or his five-month prison sentence for tax evasion, should look elsewhere. As for hopes this docu will play far beyond Cincinnati and Philadelphia, where Rose won World Series titles, don’t bet on it.

In fact, the only mention of wagering in the entire film is when Rose and teammate Tony Perez each put up $150 on which man would be the first to inaugurate the clubhouse bathroom in the new Riverfront Stadium. A chuckling Rose tells the story without a sniff of irony.

Director Lukemire turns his camera on Rose and pretty much lets his subject tell his own story; it’s enough to make a viewer wonder if Rose himself financed the project. When other talking heads — including Reds announcer Marty Brennaman and teammates Perez and Mike Schmidt — get the chance to speak, it’s to extoll Rose’s virtues as a ballplayer.

Viewing the docu strictly as a celebration of Rose’s greatness — and as a player, he was certainly that — there are too few fresh clips of his exploits, particularly those from his early career, although the camera does linger on little-seen still photos from that period.

The pic acknowledges Rose’s onfield controversies, including his demolition of catcher Ray Fosse during the 1970 All-Star game (a play that ruined Fosse as a player), but chalks it up to Rose’s competitive fire, which it rightly compares with Cobb’s.

Some of the docu’s better moments include the story behind Pete earning the nickname Charlie Hustle, and an amusing animated sequence that chronicles the star’s move from the Reds to the Philadelphia Phillies. While a clip that features Rose in a 1970s commercial for Aqua Velva at first seems to come out of left field, a present-day shot that shows him wistfully singing the Aqua Velva theme — in tune — shows a man who appears to long for a simpler time, when playing a game well and getting rich from doing it were all that mattered.

The pic’s predictable payoff, in which Rose collects his record-setting base hit — a single — lacks a measure of adrenaline, through no fault of its own; it’s a shortcoming inherent in an achievement steeped in longevity and realized by incremental accomplishment, rather than by the thunderclap of glory represented by a towering home run.

As the docu’s narrator, J.K. Simmons walks the bases of a sandlot ballpark while amiably delivering the kind of rhapsodic prose more appropriate to “Field of Dreams” than to singing the praises of the Hit King.

Tech credits are ill-fitting. Production design of some the interstitials feels more appropriate for a commercial. The camera moves in so tightly on Rose at times that it queasily struggles to focus, and the score’s swelling strings are as relentless as Charlie Hustle on a ball field.

Popular on Variety

4192: The Crowning of the Hit King

Production: A 4192 Films and AK Film Distribution release of a Rivercoast Films presentation of a Barking Fish Entertainment production. Produced by Aymie Majerski. Executive producers, Majerski, Joe Busam, Scott Powers, G. Anthony Huser. Co-producers, Terry Lukemire, Mark Turner. Directed, edited by Terry Lukemire. Written by Ryan Tungate.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Jeremy Whitcomb; music, Robert Pollard, Douglas Thornton; music supervisor, Matt Davis; production designer, Joe Busam; sound designer; Thornton; animation director, Busam; associate producers, Charles Sotto, Greg Cotter, Justin Ashcraft. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2010. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: With: Pete Rose, Marty Brennaman, Tony Perez, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose Jr., Paul O'Neill, Anthony Munoz, "Wildman" Walker, Gary Burbank, Ken Fouts. Narrator: J.K. Simmons.

More Film

  • Stray Dolls Movie

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Acquires Cynthia Nixon's Tribeca Player 'Stray Dolls' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Stray Dolls,” a Tribeca Film Festival entry from up-and-coming director Sonejuhi Sinha, has sold North American distribution rights to Samuel Goldwyn Films. Eyeing an early 2020 release, the film stars breakout Geetanjali Thapa, Olivia DeJonge (Netflix’s “The Society”), Robert Aramayo (young Eddard Stark on “Game of Thrones”) and Cynthia Nixon. Thapa plays Riz, a former [...]

  • Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland. Actors Mick

    'The Burnt Orange Heresy' With Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland Sells Worldwide

    HanWay Films has closed out worldwide sales on “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” the art-heist film that screened in Venice and Toronto. The movie stars Mick Jagger, Claes Bang, and Donald Sutherland. It closed the Venice Film Festival. In addition to North America, where Giuseppe Capotondi’s film will open in spring 2020, SPC has acquired rights [...]

  • Between Worlds Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff to Star in Pulse Films’ Truffle Hunter Movie ‘Pig’

    Nicolas Cage is a truffle hunter who wants his pig back in “Pig,” which started production Monday in Oregon. The film, which Michael Sarnoski will direct from his own script, will also star Alex Wolff (“Hereditary”). Pulse Films, BlockBox Entertainment, Valparaiso Pictures and Cage’s Saturn Pictures are producing in association with Escape Artists and Sweet [...]

  • Sid Haig Dies Devil's Rejects

    Sid Haig, Horror Actor in Rob Zombie Trilogy, Dies at 80

    Sid Haig, known for his role as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” trilogy, died Saturday. He was 80. His wife announced the news on Instagram. Haig had a fall several weeks ago and suffered serious breathing complications after arriving at the hospital. He died of a lung infection. “On Saturday, September [...]

  • France Boasts Europe's Highest Number of

    France Still Boasts Europe's Highest Number of Theater Screens Per Capita

    France, Europe’s No. 1 movie-going nation, still boasts the continent’s highest number of screens per capita, according to a new study conducted by the French National Film Board (CNC). As of last year, France had 2,040 theaters and 6,000 screens – 69 more screens than in 2017. It’s about one screen per 31 inhabitants. Out [...]

  • Arab Genre Film

    Arab Genre Films Get Boost From Beirut's Maskoon Lab (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just as Netflix tries to gain traction in the Middle East by backing local genre series, such as its first Arab original, “Jinn,” from Jordan, and Egypt’s upcoming “Paranormal,” Beirut’s Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival is launching the region’s first platform dedicated to genre films. Five Arabic-language projects, ranging from a zombie comedy to a supernatural [...]

  • Simon Yam in "Little Q"

    China Box Office: Hong Kong Dog Film 'Little Q' Leads the Pack

    As China gears up for a big political anniversary and national holiday, its box office has been dominated by innocuous animal films and local fare capable of keeping censors happy but unable to make that huge of a splash. None of the top four weekend titles has scored more than 7 out of 10 on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content