Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bull Durham (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bull Durham (1988)

In writer/director Ron Shelton's feature debut, a humorous and intelligent romantic sports comedy-drama about a mediocre Carolina minor leagues baseball team - the Durham Bulls; first-time director Shelton, a former second-baser in the minor leagues, had made a prominent career of sports movies that realistically examined the participants' heart, both in terms of sportsmanship and in terms of romance. His writing (and directing) credits have also included: The Best of Times (1986) (football), White Men Can't Jump (1992) (basketball, also directed), Blue Chips (1994) (basketball), Cobb (1994) (baseball, also directed), The Great White Hype (1996) (boxing), Tin Cup (1996) (golf, also directed), and Play It To the Bone (2000) (boxing, also directed):

  • during the film's opening title credits sequence, cultured and literate baseball and sports groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon), a junior-college English teacher and sexually-seductive baseball groupie, provided a lengthy, off-screen speech regarding her beloved team - the Durham Bulls of North Carolina; she described her offbeat 'life-as-baseball' beliefs in a celebrated "The Church of Baseball" monologue (sermon, actually) to the accompaniment of church organ music, as she was preparing to leave her house and walk downtown to the local Durham Bulls ballgame: ("I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. (sigh) But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never borin' (giggle) - which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Makin' love is like hittin' a baseball. You just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hittin' under .250, unless he had a lot of RBIs or was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him. And the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. Of course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe - and pretty. Of course, what I give them lasts a lifetime. What they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade, but bad trades are part of baseball. I mean, who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? It's a long season and you gotta trust it. I've tried 'em all, I really have. And the only church that truly feeds the soul - day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.")
  • after arriving at the ballpark, there were the typical sights and sounds surrounding the game; the new hotshot pitcher for the perennial losing team - the Durham Bulls; making his professional debut was moronic, erratic, dim-bulb young, up-and-coming rookie pitcher-ballplayer Ebby Calvin "Nuke" (or "Meat") LaLoosh (Tim Robbins); his wild pitches knocked down the bull mascot twice (throughout the film) and also sailed into the booth of the sports announcer
  • 12-year veteran journeyman baseball catcher "Crash" Davis (Kevin Costner) was being returned to the A-league to mentor the green young upstart LaLoosh; he had been acquired to teach the clueless LaLoosh (who was being groomed for the major leagues and was worth 100 grand) how to discipline his behavior and improve his concentration, including his erratic pitches
  • after the game, Crash and Laloosh were competing for dating prospects with Annie, both in a local country-western bar and in Annie's living room, where she proposed to "hook up with one guy a season"; she announced that she was deciding between them, but Crash was reluctant to "try out" for Annie as one of her draft picks; as Crash was leaving for the door, Annie asked: "What do you believe in, then?", and he gave a classic, memorable philosophical speech: ("Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hangin' curveball, high fiber, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, over-rated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there oughta be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Good-night.") - and Annie gave a breathless reply: "Oh my!"
  • after Crash left, Annie fooled Laloosh in her bedroom into being intellectually seduced by tying his wrists with ropes attached to her steel-framed headboard, and during his bondage, she read Walt Whitman poetry to him; she had made her choice for the season and told Crash: "I'm committed to Nuke for the season. You had your chance the other day"
  • during an extended road trip on a bus, Crash taught Nuke (now nicknamed "Meat") the lyrics to his butchered version of "Try a Little Tenderness" on the team bus (instead of "Young girls they do get wearied" he sang: "Young girls they do get woolly")
  • in the middle of the night, Crash (and three other players) took a taxi to the city's ballfield, and smashed through a metal gate barrier, found the water control valves for the field's sprinkler system, and soon the entire infield and outfield were deliberately flooded; they then played in the muddy, water-soaked ball field
  • as a way to combat Annie's choice of Nuke for the season, Crash convinced Nuke to rechannel his sexual energy into his pitching and away from her - depriving Annie of sexual fulfillment
  • later during a nightgame, the entire infield met on the pitcher's mound to discuss wedding gifts for the upcoming marriage of the team's devout Christian, Jimmy (William O'Leary) to amoral groupie Millie (Jenny Robertson), punctuated by irate fast-talking pitching coach Larry Hockett's (Robert Wuhl) suggestion: ("...candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern")
  • eventually, Annie began to realize that "Crash" might be a better-suited match for her sexual come-ons. She came to Crash's place and offered herself: "I want you," but when he declined, she flatly stated: "This is the damnedest season I've ever seen. I mean, the Durham Bulls can't lose, and I can't get laid"; she had a chance to sample his beliefs about three-day long kisses at the conclusion of the film when "Crash" was released from baseball playing altogether (although he might be a minor league manager) and he sought to retire with dignity. He looked up Annie and then over a drink, they kissed, and soon made love
  • their love scene during a weekend-long session was exaggerated - they rolled over, tumbled from the bed to the floor, still kissing and locked together, as she grabbed for traction from a nearby table leg - moaning and shaking. Their love-making was followed by a bowl of Wheaties ("Breakfast of Champions") in the kitchen; wearing his oversized sports jacket (while he wore one of her robes), she glowed at him:"God, you are gorgeous...You wanna dance?"; he tossed his cereal bowl into the sink where it smashed into pieces, and he pulled her onto the kitchen table, where they resumed making love after he answered: "Yes"; in the next scene, Annie's arms were tied to the bedpost, as she succumbed to having her toenails painted red by "Crash," and then they were in the bathtub together; they slept until early the next morning when Crash left her bed and wrote a goodbye note before driving off
  • by the end of the film, "Nuke" had been called up and promoted to the majors. Seen one last time and now wearing a T-shirt for the ska-punk band Fishbone, he was being interviewed by TV reporter Raye Anne in a baseball stadium, using words and cliches that Crash had taught him: ("...Anyway, a good friend of mine used to say, 'This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball. You hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.' Think about that for a while")

"I believe in the church of baseball"

Crash's Beliefs and Annie's Response: "Oh my!"

Pitching Mound Discussion

Annie with Crash

TV Reporter Interview


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