The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit

Thương hiệu: Ron Shelton
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Knopf (July 5, 2022)
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Thông tin sản phẩm The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit
Thương hiệu Ron Shelton là cái tên nổi tiếng được rất nhiều khách hàng trên thế giới chọn lựa. Với kiểu dáng đẹp mắt, sang trọng, sản phẩm The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham: Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit là sự lựa chọn hoàn hảo nếu bạn đang tìm mua một món Arts & Literature cho riêng mình.
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Product Description

From the award-winning screenwriter and director of cult classic Bull Durham, the extremely entertaining behind-the-scenes story of the making of the film, and an insightful primer on the art and business of moviemaking.
“This book tells you how to make a movie—the whole nine innings of it—out of nothing but sheer will.” —Tony Gilroy, writer/director of
Michael Clayton and The Bourne Legacy

The only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the church of baseball.” —Annie in Bull Durham

Bull Durham, the breakthrough 1988 film about a minor league baseball team, is widely revered as the best sports movie of all time. But back in 1987, Ron Shelton was a first-time director and no one was willing to finance a movie about baseball—especially a story set in the minors. The jury was still out on Kevin Costner’s leading-man potential, while Susan Sarandon was already a has-been. There were doubts. But something miraculous happened, and The Church of Baseball attempts to capture why.
From organizing a baseball camp for the actors and rewriting key scenes while on set, to dealing with a short production schedule and overcoming the challenge of filming the sport, Shelton brings to life the making of this beloved American movie. Shelton explains the rarely revealed ins and outs of moviemaking, from a film’s inception and financing, screenwriting, casting, the nuts and bolts of directing, the postproduction process, and even through its release. But this is also a book about baseball and its singular romance in the world of sports. Shelton spent six years in the minor leagues before making this film, and his experiences resonate throughout this book.
Full of wry humor and insight,
The Church of Baseball tells the remarkable story behind an iconic film.


"If you loved Bull Durham, you obviously must read Ron Shelton’s book about how it was made. Less obvious, but equally true: if you simply love movies, you must read it. No insider has ever written so well, and so revealingly, about the script-rewriting, the studio-fighting, the actor-coddling, the entire sausage-making process of any movie." --Daniel Okrent; author of Last Call, The Guarded Gate, and Nine Innings

"I am among the legion of fans who loved the romantic comedy (and semi-autobiographical) movie
Bull Durham, written and directed by Ron Shelton. His new book, The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham, is an enchanting education on how Crash and Nuke and Annie -- and Shelton -- and their madcap medley of co-characters overcame real and fictionalized obstacles to populate a variety of ballparks and bedrooms and, in dramatic fact, triumph over the snooty `suits' in Hollywood suites." --Ira Berkow, Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist and author of Baseball's Best Ever: A Half-Century of Covering Hall-of-Famers

The Church of Baseball is a heart pumping ride, from pitch to script to screen to the Oscars, as Ron Shelton turns his minor league love triangle into the greatest sports movie of our time. No filmmaker has given such an unfiltered glimpse into the storytelling process. Shelton has a mutual love for filmmakers and ballplayers—the grunts who take field and the management that controls their dreams. While chasing through the white knuckle pace of movie production, Ron Shelton somehow finds that strand of DNA in all of us that roots for the man at the plate as he chases love, success, good scotch, high fiber, and the hanging curveball.” --Jason Reitman, writer-director of Thank You for Smoking; Juno; Up in The Air; and Young Adult

"In 1988, Ron Shelton wrote and directed
Bull Durham, maybe the best baseball movie ever. Now he tells the story of how that classic was made and the book is as funny, tough and touching as the picture. Home run." --David Thomson, author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film

"THE CHURCH OF BASEBALL is one of the best books ever written about the making of a movie. But it’s much more than a first-rate insider’s take on the business. It’s a book about the human comedy. Ron Shelton’s perceptions about people and predicaments have a novelistic richness. You don’t need to know a thing about movies or the infield fly rule to savor THE CHURCH OF BASEBALL.” --Peter Rainer, Author of
Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era; Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism

“This book tells you how to make a movie – the whole nine innings of it – out of nothing but sheer will. And it’s Ron Shelton so you can’t stop smiling even when it all goes sideways. It’s always fascinating to hear how great films fall together, this time you’ve got the guy who called the game spinning the yarn. Major League stuff.” --Tony Gilroy, writer/director of
Michael Clayton and The Bourne Legacy

"Rookie of the Year. A brilliant first book details the author's first movie, BULL DURHAM...At age 76, Ron Shelton has written his first book, and the biggest question upon reading it is, What took him so long?
The Church of Baseball details the production of 1988’s Bull Durham, which Shelton wrote and was his directorial debut. It’s a remarkable account of how the Hollywood sausage is made, but it’s also a touching account of the author’s relationship with baseball...The movie, of course, ultimately became a classic. This book? Every bit as good."--Mark Bechtel; Sports Illustrated

The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham is a fraught, rollicking and gossipy romp through the funny-in-retrospect ordeal of fighting for a cinematic project that seemed as unlikely to succeed as a Class A shortstop making it to the Show." --Elizabeth Nelson,The Wall Street Journal

"…an exceedingly enjoyable memoir of the making of “Bull Durham,” and a reminder just how well that film’s baseball scenes have held up through the years…Thirty-four summers after “Bull Durham” first hit theaters, its influence is still apparent." --Mike Vaccaro; New York Post

"...a reflective, first-person account of how he conceived the characters and story and then managed to bring it to life as a first-time film director. Shelton takes readers through the writing of the script in detail, highlighting his aims in each scene. That’s followed by his selling the script to a studio, with himself attached as a neophyte director, and then hiring a crew, casting and shooting the movie, and navigating the editing process. The entire tale is colored by his continual clashes with studio executives on the oddest things imaginable....Told purely from the creator’s perspective, this book is a lively, witty master class in screenwriting and film direction, much in the cheeky spirit of Bull Durham. VERDICT Highly entertaining and informative look at a popular film classic, this book should find wide interest among film and sports buffs." --John Maxymuk; starred
Library Journal review

"Shelton’s fabulous CHURCH OF BASEBALL [is] about so much more than sports…The book, just like Bull Durham, the classic film he wrote and directed in 1987, will stand the test of time… That there was a demand for this fabulous tome speaks to the enduring appeal of his classic… Shelton reveals studio heads originally didn’t even deem [Susan Sarandon] worthy of an audition because she wasn’t regarded as “hot” enough. In the best traditions of books about the movie business, the glimpse behind the curtain reveals this and so many other gossipy nuggets that reinforce the old William Goldman line about nobody really knowing anything in that town... “Perhaps Bull Durham has resonated all these years because it is about loving something more than it loves you back,” writes Shelton. “It’s about reckoning. It’s about loss. It’s about men at work, trying to survive in the remote outposts of their chosen profession . . . It cannot be dismissed that it’s also about the joy of playing a game for a living. It’s about team and connections and risk and reward.” The book, like the movie, is about all of that and so much more." --Dave Hannigan, 
The Irish Times

“‘Bull Durham’ fans, rejoice at ‘Church of Baseball… Shelton’s breezy behind-the-scenes recap.” --Douglass K. Daniel,
AP News

"Ron Shelton hears America singing, schmoozing, and swearing. His writing-directing debut, Bull Durham (1988), transported fans into the offbeat mystique and comic muck of baseball…Shelton’s new memoir, The Church of Baseball, does for filmmaking what Bull Durham did for the national pastime: it demystifies the craft, pillories the business, and celebrates the calling with wit and passion…Shelton’s prose is as natural as his dialogue, and he conjures characters with casual mastery…The book takes us inside his screenwriting process as his characters emerge with distinct voices and signature first lines…In The Church of Baseball, as in Bull Durham, Shelton riffs on life in the American grain, and scales the heights of the homegrown surreal. Like Mark Twain, he reveals an unsentimental education that reads like a robust and impudent yarn." --Michael Sragow, Air Mail

"It’s a detailed, nostalgic and, at times, uproarious inside story of the making of Bull Durham, and an account of Shelton’s life in and out of baseball, which led him to write and direct the movie." --Peter Moore,

"A marvelous book about a classic movie that is guaranteed to send fans back to the Church of Baseball to hear their favorite sermon one more time" --
Booklist, starred review

"In this spectacular debut, screenwriter and director Shelton reflects on the deeply personal passion that brought his canonical sports film, 1988’s Bull Durham, to life…Shelton produces a work that’s humanizing and intimate. In addition to his fascinating analyses of the script’s genesis…readers will revel in Shelton’s own accounts of playing baseball professionally in the minor leagues in the 1960s. As he writes, it was the “fragile and absurd... wondrous and thrilling” world he discovered there that ignited his dreams to write the film. The result is an immensely moving look into the mind behind the masterpiece." (July)
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"A filmmaker’s memoir about the making of one of the best sports movies of all time. Shelton’s book is not simply a jaunty recollection of his directing debut, with all its attendant breakthroughs and headaches. The author, who displays sheer, unadulterated love for his subject, also delivers a savvy, unusually informative tutorial on how to take a motion picture from the concept stage to script development, casting, production, and post-production. Shelton examines all of this in a charismatic style that decodes jargon and engages from first page to last. There’s plenty of gossip (mostly generous), surprising insights, useful screenwriting strategies, and tips for would-be directors on how to combat studio meddling. Even certified film buffs who have read numerous how-to books by those in the industry will find the author’s advice sound and clarity refreshing. “Making a good and successful movie is a minor miracle every time,” he writes in the introduction. He goes on to prove his point several times over, chronicling a montage of maddening impediments, unexpected reversals, scheming, happy accidents, and the unpredictable alchemy that is screen chemistry… He set about demystifying a game that clings to its mysteries like pine tar to a bat only to rediscover that some of those mysteries are real—and poetic. Fans of the film will have new reasons to appreciate it—and the team that made it." -
-Kirkus Reviews, Starred review

About the Author

RON SHELTON's Bull Durham launched a writing-directing career that includes White Men Can't Jump, Blaze (1989), Cobb, and Tin Cup, among other films. He also directed Jordan Rides the Bus, a documentary about Michael Jordan's year in the minor leagues. A former professional baseball player, he holds degrees from Westmont College and the University of Arizona. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Forbidden Fruit

Bible stories were a big part of my growing up. The dramatic tales of Moses parting the Red Sea and coming down from the mountain and Jesus routing the money changers in the temple and the whole fantastic narrative still live loudly in my DNA. I took the required courses on the Old and New Testaments at the evangelical college I attended, perhaps the most rigorous classes I’ve ever taken, but by that time I was moving away from religious dogma and discovering that the universe of the secular (a pejorative word to Baptists) was infinitely more attractive. But the Bible stories still resonate.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the Garden of Eden by God as the one thing forbidden to Adam and Eve. Even as a child I felt like the game was rigged. We’re taught that we are created human and therefore flawed, so of course we’re going to eat the apple. Growing up in a family in which movies, drink, and cursing were forbidden, it was inevitable that I’d become a moviemaker who loves his cocktails and curses like a longshoreman. Clearly, it was preordained in the Book of Genesis. My parents broke the movie rule a couple of times (the rules of forbidden behavior were dictated by my father’s job at an evangelical college rather than his own private beliefs). On one occasion, he and my mother packed my brother and me in the car and drove to the drive-­in theater in Ventura to see Winchester ’73, a Western about the invention of a rifle that changed the West. Directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart, the movie has become something of a classic, though I remember little as a five-­year-­old other than how cold it was in the car and that we were sneaking around on God by driving to another town to watch it. That was more exciting than the movie.

Another time in Whittier, where my mother’s parents lived and the rules were looser (they were English and not evangelical), we went to see Here Come the Nelsons, an Ozzie and Harriet feature about a girdle salesman. When you see very few movies, the details remain vivid—­the climactic scene has a dozen girdles tied together between two trees across a road and the crooks escaping in a car can’t break through the girdles. I loved it.

The third movie I saw was in Taft, California, a tough oil town thirty-­seven miles southwest of Bakersfield. It was my father’s hometown, and my brother and I were staying with my grandparents when my grandmother took us to see a movie based on a best seller about a preacher, A Man Called Peter. This book was wildly popular in the evangelical world and had been read by everyone in every church I attended as a kid. This was also the only time my rock-­ribbed Baptist grandmother had ever been in a movie theater, though we suspected later that year she went to see Oklahoma! (they were from West Texas, and Oklahoma was close enough) but was afraid to confess it. So, my brother and I sat in the theater watching this weeper (the preacher dies) and when it was over we all sat for the second feature because it was unthinkable to pay for two movies and not sit through both. On came Ma and Pa Kettle in Waikiki. The title sequence had hula girls and my grandmother was mortified that she’d ruined us; she covered our eyes and ushered us out of the theater into the searing Taft sun. At ten years old, I had glimpsed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the hula girls looked pretty good, even if viewed in grainy shots of a tourist luau, circa 1955.

The illicitness of the darkened theater and a deep-­red curtain drawn to reveal larger-­than-­life images accompanied by an orchestral score was overpowering. Even if the images were Ozzie and Harriet stretching girdles across a road and the good Reverend Peter Marshall expiring too young.

We didn’t get a television until I was twelve, and that family purchase was triggered not by the desire to see the shows everyone was talking about—­Superman and Perry Mason and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, among others—­but because of baseball. Eddie Mathews was the star third baseman of the Milwaukee Braves but, more important, he was our hometown hero from Santa Barbara—­and the Braves were in the World Series. This is more than anecdotal history; it’s the first great moral crisis I saw my parents confront. The Braves were down two games to one with the critical fourth game landing on a Sunday in Milwaukee, late morning on the West Coast. The first three games we listened to on the radio. To stay alive, the Braves had to win on Sunday, but we had to be at the First Baptist Church at the same time. After Sunday school, when we trudged upstairs in our scratchy wool slacks and clip-­on ties to the weekly interminable eleven o’clock service, where the Reverend Gus Gableman, the least charismatic Baptist preacher in history, would drone on in a deathless monotone, something happened as startling as the events that overtook Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. My father swept us boys up and rushed us to our big dented Buick station wagon. My mother, late in pregnancy with what would be her fourth son, watched us go silently, which meant she had signed off on this intervention—­her will mattered and was respected by all of us. Something was afoot.

My father raced us home nervously, saying nothing. We understood the gravity of the moment but didn’t yet know the stakes. We were being taken out of church, and God could strike at any moment. The Rapture might be upon us and we knew that meant all Christians would be lifted into the clouds and the pagans would be left behind, eternally damned. But given my father’s sudden apostasy, would our Buick station wagon be lifted as well, or had we forfeited a life believing in Jesus for . . . we didn’t even know what. What if, God forbid, my father and mother were lifted up into the sky to meet Jesus, and my two little brothers and I, because we hadn’t yet been baptized and received Gus Gableman’s warm hand of fellowship, crashed in the driverless Buick? Maybe I could climb into the front seat and manage to slow down the car before it hit a light pole and save us from a terrible death? Maybe I’d just be postponing the inevitable because the Rapture had passed us over? Maybe a forgiving God would put skipping church on this morning in the same category of sin as seeing Winchester ’73 at the Ventura drive-­in or the girdle movie with my mom’s parents, who weren’t even Baptists? Surely God knew we had watched A Man Called Peter in Taft—­that must be worth something—­even if we saw the hula girls in the title sequence of the second feature. These were eschatological questions my father was wrestling with, and, as the oldest son, I empathized and sweated with him. Even if I didn’t know the issues, I felt them. I felt him.

My father, still silent, led us straight into the house, where a man from Ott’s department store (buy local, my parents taught) was just finishing installing a television set. Surely God would strike now. But he didn’t—­he strung us out—­and when the TV was turned on and the black-­and-­white image came into focus, it was—­we’d completely forgotten, given the spiritual crisis—­the World Series. Game Four. The installer was a man we knew; he’d had a brief minor league career that hadn’t worked out and now he was making do, and he understood the moment. He just said, “Eddie—­I know,” as he left. We watched the game in terror, aware that Eddie was having a terrible series. But after the team tied it in the bottom of the tenth, our hometown hero hit a towering two-­run homer to win the game. A great weight lifted up out of the room, my father looked around, his shoulders lightened, and we started going to church less and less.

The seed for the Church of Baseball was planted.


In my California childhood I was able to play all sports year-­round, like most kids, but it was baseball that most captured me. My father had played in college and my mother had gone to Jackie Robinson’s high school in Pasadena a couple of years after the great player, so we were fans of Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. My father’s name, Rathburn, was vaguely referenced as having been inspired by some far-­off, never-­seen-­nor-­heard-­of Texas relative; he went by Rath. Growing up in the redneck oilfields near Bakersfield, my father’s hero was, somehow, Duke Ellington. When Rev. Gableman would regularly warn the congregation about the “passions of our flesh, carry­ing out the desires of the body and the mind,” because we were all “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), I thought he was talking about me and my younger brothers. It takes a while to sort these things out. My mother was an inspiring mix of inquisitive, tough-­minded, nonjudgmental, and forever forgiving. Nonetheless, she never forgave Dodgers manager Leo Durocher for switching to the Giants. Rath and Peg were a formidable team.

Beyond baseball the TV provided all the classic Westerns of the period, which we faithfully followed: Have Gun—­Will Travel, The Rifleman, Maverick, and Gunsmoke. The small-­screen Westerns would in time lead to the big-­screen ones, and I fell in love with all of them.

In high school, I started sneaking into movies with my buddy, often not knowing or caring what was playing. We liked the challenge of getting in for free. Without my identifying it, the illicitness of watching movies remained intact—­we weren’t supposed to be there. But the range of movies I was sneaking in to see was a helluva lot more compelling than what I’d been exposed to as a child. Suddenly I was seeing movies over a wide range of genres—­The Hustler, Dr. No, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I wasn’t a snob about my moviegoing and was happy to see an Elvis Presley movie if Ann-­Margret or Stella Stevens was in it, but movies like Robert Rossen’s The Hustler stuck with me. Still does.

My college curriculum was built around how to be done with classes by 2 p.m. so I could head to basketball practice (in the fall) and baseball practice (in the spring). A brilliant English teacher turned me on to books, and fortunately I could fit a literature major into my sports schedule. Eighteenth-­century English lit first got my attention and I became a Jonathan Swift junkie for a while, then Pope, then, when Albert Finney starred in Tom Jones just as I was reading Henry Fielding, it was becoming obvious to me that I was getting hooked on storytelling. My father, with his West Texas background, was a born storyteller. He could spin a two-­hour tale about a five-­minute trip to the grocery store to pick up a quart of milk. As we stood around the kitchen, his retelling of the simplest shopping errand would include a bit of a mystery about why the car wouldn’t start, and a fellow he ran into in the parking lot whose brother had survived a plane crash, and the guy who restocked the dairy section whose son was a local football star, and the clerk at the checkout stand about whom an epic tale of immigration might emerge—­or just a great joke—­and then the seven-­minute car ride home with the inevitable flat tire because we always drove on bald tires unless we could afford recaps. Sometimes he forgot the milk. Most of his stories were about playing in a jazz band with Ray Ellis in London during the war when they were nineteen. All of his tales were full of details, sometimes more details than could be absorbed. Names, places, images, sounds—­he didn’t spin short stories but great rambling novels.

The novels of the great British writers led me to the Americans—­Fitzgerald and Hemingway and the gang. But the first writer I flipped for was Lewis Carroll. I consumed all his nonsense verse and read everything about his strange and tortured life. But, most important, I began writing reams of my own nonsense verse. When I walked around campus reciting Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”—­“ ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe”—­people just stared. I tried it with my baseball buddies as well and they cautioned, “Don’t say that in public. Makes you look nuts.” Around this time it was becoming clear that I was living in two different worlds—­the intellectual (or at least academic) world and the sports world—­but it made no sense to me that they were distinct. They were dependent, connected, they fed off each other. At least I thought so.

The good English teachers at the college had assigned Albert Camus to make sure we weren’t just spoon-­fed the Christian apologists J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus and the prescient The Plague were different and didn’t offer answers that evangelicals always wanted to make sure we were embracing. They called Camus an existentialist although he denied it. I read that Camus was a serious soccer player, a goalie whose passion for the game was intense and pure. Camus said he got tired of debating Roman Catholic seminary students because he wanted them to convince him that their Judeo-­Christian ontology was the only path forward, but he usually ended up convincing them of his bleaker view. Besides, if I could’ve added a footnote to his words, I would have said that it’s more life-­giving to be in the midst of a game stopping shots on goal and then going out for some beers to relive the game with your colleagues. The world doesn’t need more seminary students who bail out on their own convictions at the slightest challenge. Camus was an athlete—­why didn’t they teach that in class? And then I discovered Samuel Beckett’s love of cricket. Of course. I began to think that Camus and Beckett were labeled “absurdists” not in spite of loving sports, but because of it. Sports is both absurd and ordered, and full of unknown consequences. A game means nothing and it means everything. And then I found Walt Whitman, who didn’t write of soccer or cricket. He wrote of baseball and called it “our game, the American game.”

Foreign films entered my life in college and some landed more than others—­Fellini, Truffaut, and Kurosawa were big. I caught up on the films I’d missed and looked forward to the new ones coming out. The British directors like Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson, and Richard Lester, to name a few, captured my imagination. But it was also a time to catch up on classic American films I’d missed: the works of Billy Wilder, silent films with Keaton and Chaplin and Lloyd, and the talkies of Laurel and Hardy, which I can watch forever. Nothing about going to movies was intended as preparation for a writing career or anything to do with film. I played baseball and intended that to be my career if I possibly could make it work.

It was in college that I realized how much I didn’t like most sports movies, although, upon reflection, three of the greatest of all sports movies came out at this time. More on that later. I’d played enough sports by then that I felt sports films got it all wrong. Their attempts to be inspirational felt cloying and false. When you actually play the game, there is little that is inspirational going on. It’s a competition; it’s physical; it’s a chance to test yourself. Sports movies all seemed to be made from an outsider’s point of view. They didn’t want to make a movie about what was going on inside Eddie Mathews’s head before he hit that home run. They wanted to avoid his serious drinking problem, his marriage struggles, even the bar fights defending his Black teammate Henry Aaron. What happens on the field is the least interesting part of the game.


So sánh