Image A Sound B+ Extras B
starring Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Wuhl, Lolita Davidovich
written and directed by Ron Shelton
by Walter Chaw Completely uncompromising in a way that films, especially sports films, just aren't, Ron Shelton's Cobb is one of the most effective hagiographies in film history not for the way that it elevates its subject to sainthood, but for the way that it allows its subject to be one of history's most notorious, relentless miscreants. A malcontent in every measurable way, Ty Cobb--habitual spousal abuser, virulent racist, sadist (Cobb sent twelve men to the hospital one season), alcoholic, braggart, trigger-happy pistol-brandisher, alleged murderer, and so on--also happens to be the best baseball player in the history of the game. (In a modern era where Barry Bonds is making a claim for the best the game's produced while also being, hands down, its biggest jerk and public-relations nightmare, Cobb's transgressions puts all of Bonds's childishness in perspective.) Accordingly, the picture is a beautifully lensed nightmare, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas shot as a road-trip horror film instead of an acid-enhanced carnival ride, where the villain is the devil in Cobb's back pocket.