Being yourself doesn't pay in baseball
Loves: A good bio-pic
Likes: baseball, Josh Duhamel
Dislikes: promise unfulfilled
Writer/director Brett Rapkin, who's been behind a number of sports documentaries--including one on Lee--took Lee's story and dramatized it in Spaceman, putting Josh Duhamel in Lee's salt-and-pepper beard. After establishing Lee's confrontational personality quickly--via an opening-titles montage and a capsule of the end of his MLB career--the film focuses on Lee's next phase, as he confronts the possibility of living without baseball and his crumbling personal life. It was an interesting choice, focusing on the less glamorous and less public portion of his story, as it risks creating a bit of off-balanced pacing, as the file fires out of the gate, only to settle in for less dramatic elements. However, it does the trick of humanizing a very out-there guy.
As interesting as Lee is as a person, the movie does drag in the third act, without the kind of payoff a sports movie demands, the result of the large time gaps in Lee's true-life story. There are moments of interest throughout, including a subplot about Lee's stint with an amateur senior team in suburban Quebec, and a meta moment in which the film chronicles the origin of the book the movie is based on, but they aren't enough to overcome a plot progression you'll likely see coming.
Spaceman, arrives on one DVD, packed in a standard keepcase. The disc has a animated menu with options to watch the film, select scenes, check out the extra and adjust the languages. Audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, while closed captioning is available in English.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty standard when it comes to the film's dialogue, keeping it clear and well-defined, but the music and effects take advantage of the additional channels, with powerful bass effects and solid emphasis of the music in the surrounds. Overall a nice sounding movie.
Spaceman is not a bad film, it just doesn't offer enough of interest to justify its feature-length status. Duhamel is undeniably likeable enough as the lead, and the film is certainly well-made, but as the clock ticks down, the movie struggles to maintain your focus. It does look and sound nice, but there are no real extras, so you either have to be a big fan of Lee or Duhamel to want this film in your collection.