Everyone’s Hero Delivers a Home Run
By Pamela K. Taylor
Disney gave us talking mice, talking cats, and talking pigs. Pixar gave us talking ants and talking fish. Now from Christopher Reeve comes talking bats. Not the little animals that fly at night, but a baseball bat. Babe Ruth’s favorite baseball bat, to be exact.
Everyone’s Hero tells the story of diehard Yankees fan, 10 year-old Yankee Irving, the proverbial loser – always last chosen, always striking out, always made fun of. After a particularly disastrous game, Yankee finds, Screwie, a bitter National League washout who advises him to find a new hobby.
To make matters worse, Yankee’s father is unfairly fired from his position as janitor at Yankee Stadium after Lefty MaGinnis, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, steals Babe Ruth’s bat, Darlin’, sinking the Yankees hopes of defeating the Cubs in the upcoming 1932 World Series.
Yankee, with the help of Screwie, Darlin’, a trio of friendly hobos, and the athletic daughter of a Negro League player, tracks down Lefty, rescues Darlin’, and treks from NY to Chicago to return the bat to his all-time hero. Along the way, he and his friends learn some important lessons about baseball, and life, and become heroes, each in his or her own right.
Everyone’s Hero, though at times a bit pedantic, gets an awful lot right. It’s a boy’s story through and through, all about baseball and childhood heroes, but Yankee is rescued from bullies and taught how to watch the ball by a smart, strong, snappy girl who’s sure to please female viewers.
Though most of the characters are white, Yankee encounters a black baseball team whose players are funny and clever without speaking Ebonics. The film also avoids the saccharine sweet dial-a-race multiculturalism that is so prevalent in children’s programming these days, while at the same time offering positive characters from a variety of backgrounds.
The humor is decidedly juvenile, ranging from farts and boogers, to a hilarious train-top chase scene where the villain performs Matrix-like moves to avoid signs, tree limbs, and other obstacles. It’s a relief to see a film where violence is not considered a laughing matter, and even less so sexual innuendo.
Best of all, it’s a story with many heroes. Babe Ruth is an awesome slugger, and a warm, caring, generous man. Yankee saves the day, but not without a lot of help from a variety of friends.
Diehard baseball fans may quibble with the stretching of facts – the Yankees actually swept the World Series in 1932, and the last second substitution of a ten-year-old during a World Series games is not only against the rules, but the sheerest of fantasies. But then again, it is a cartoon about a talking bat and ball.
Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.