The Scout, originally released in 1994, was directed by Michael Ritchie (Cops & Robbersons, Golden Child, Fletch). The film stars: Albert Brooks (Al Percolo; Brooks also co-wrote the screenplay), Brendan Fraser (Steve Nebraska), Diane Wiest (Doctor H.
Aaron), and Lane Smith (Ron), with Michael Rapaport (Tommy) and Tony Bennett in smaller roles.
After his latest prospect flakes out, Al, a baseball scout, is sent to South Central Mexico as punishment. Convinced his luck couldn't get any worse, Al scouts a baseball game and sees Steve Nebraska in action – a terrific pitcher and batter. He convinces Steve to come back with him and signs him to the Yankees for a cool $55 million. However, Steve has a lot of psychological problems from past conflicts that, if left unresolved, could jeopardize both his dreams of playing professionally and Al's career.
I had seen The Scout before when it first released on video, and I remember liking it. However, in viewing the film again seven years later, it's easy to spot some problems. The main one is that the film tries to be both a movie about the relationship between Steve, a troubled young adult with no parents, and Al, a surrogate father figure, as well as a movie about baseball. Neither half is ultimately satisfying, as the "perfect game" baseball ending feels tacked on, while Steve's problems are never (fully) fleshed out. The performances are decent, however, and there are some laughs in the film, it just doesn't feel as complete as it should.
The Scout is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. The transfer contains very few print flaws: I noticed some small specks and some light grain during the film. Also, there was a touch of edge enhancement and some minor pixelation. While decent throughout, the transfer is never crisp and many scenes are too soft. Colors and flesh tones are muted occasionally, but are usually natural and accurate.
The Scout is in Dolby 4.0 Surround and Dolby 2.0 Stereo Surround, both in English. The film is mainly dialogue driven, and as such, the surrounds have very little to do. The surrounds are employed for the film's music, however. Dialogue throughout the film was easy to understand, though on occasion, it sounded flat. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.
Extras include a 5 ½ minute featurette, the 2 minute "Baseball Strike Newscap," eight TV spots, and trailers for this film, Airheads, Bedazzled, and Monkeybone.
I was rather disappointed in the extras, as they're all entirely promotional and try to capitalize on the baseball strike ("The Scout won't strike out!"). Even the "Newscap," really had little to do with the baseball strike: the main focus was on how the producers got several baseball stars to appear in the film.
The Scout is a movie not without some problems, as is the DVD. With mediocre picture and sound quality, as well as a lack of substantial extras, even fans might want to pass on the disc, despite the low $19.99 MSRP. Give it a rent if you're interested in the film or a fan of the actors, but others might want to pass. Rent it.