TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Amrita
The movie starts with Gus (Clint Eastwood), an old man, trying to urinate properly. He is clearly having difficulty and later has some difficulty seeing. Gus is a scout for the Atlanta Braves. His wall of photographs shows a long and successful career in picking players.
Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) is a hot-shot lawyer on the path to becoming partner at her firm. At her partner evaluation interview, the senior partners inform her that the only competition she has is from Todd, another associate. She dismisses him.
Gus and Mickey eat at a diner. Their relationship is obviously strained. She tries to talk to him, but he is too concentrated on the baseball game on television. She storms off.
At the Braves headquarters, Pete Klein (John Goodman) and Phillip Sanderson (Matthew Lilard) are discussing scouting players. Phillip is very arrogant and believes his computer programs are the best way to choose players. He hints at Gus’s obsolescence in picking players. Gus’s last pick, Billy Clark (Scott Eastwood), has been performing poorly. Pete insists Gus is still very useful to the organization. They decide to send Gus to North Carolina to scout a promising high school player named Bo Gentry. Gus meets Billy Clark after a game and deduces his performance results from homesickness. He arranges for Clark’s parents to visit Atlanta.
Gus goes to his wife’s grave and drinks. He sadly sings “You are my Sunshine." He then goes to an eye doctor and finds out that he might have glaucoma. This is bad news for a talent scout who needs to see players play. Pete visits Gus at home and notices his home in disarray. Pete gets worried.
Pete visits Mickey at work. He expresses his anxiety about Gus and asks her to go to North Carolina. She refuses. Later, Todd (James Patrick Freetly), the other associate, mockingly tells her that it must be good to work hard since she has no family. She puts him down by saying her family is none of his goddamn business.
Mickey goes to visit Gus at his home to make sure he is okay. He insists that he is fine. Later, when Mickey goes home, she gets a call that she will make partner if she can win an upcoming case.
Pete drives to North Carolina. He and other scouts are attending a high school game where Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill) is playing. Gentry is shown to be very arrogant. He and his father have already made big dreams of his playing in the major leagues. Gentry tells his teammates about all the endorsements he will sign and all the girls he will sleep with. He treats his teammates shabbily. He asks “Peanutboy," who sells snacks to ballgame attendants, for a bag of peanuts. The boy throws the bag to him from a distance and Gentry is momentarily surprised. During the game, he hits the ball out of the park several times.
At the next game, Pete sees his daughter has arrived from Atlanta. Mickey has decided to be with her father to make sure he is okay. She decides to work on her trial case on the road. The partners are her firm are unhappy with this decision, but she is adamant she can still to a good job at the client meeting in a few days.
At the game, also present is Johnny Flannigan (Justin Timberlake). Gus recognizes him as a pitcher he once scouted for the Braves. Johnny got traded to the Red Sox and tore his rotator cuff. He is now a scout for the Red Sox and is hoping for a career in broadcasting afterwards. Johnny is immediately attracted to Mickey, but she brushes him off.
That evening, all the scouts are at a bar. Mickey plays pool, and easily beats a local man. When he tries to make a move on her, she turns him down, but he grabs her arm. Gus leaps to her defense and threatens to kill him. Johnny intervenes and diffuses the situation. Mickey becomes angry at Gus for not letting her take care of herself.
As Gentry plays more games, it becomes obvious that all the scouts are very interested in him. Mickey and Gus attend every game, where she takes notes for him. Mickey and Johnny also go on a date. They bond over her loss of her mother and his loss of his career. They go skinny dipping in a river and kiss.
Around the same time, Mickey works on her case from her hotel. However, the partners at her firm get worried at her ability to handle the case and bring Todd on board. It becomes obvious that Todd now has a lead over Mickey to become partner.
At the final game, Gentry gets a curveball and hits to the outfield, where the ball is caught. Gus realizes that Gentry’s hands drift, and he can’t hit a curve. He asks Mickey to make sure of this the next time Gentry is up to bat. The pitcher throws a hook, and Gentry hits it out of the park. Mickey realizes that Bo’s hands indeed drift when he hits. She returns to the bleachers and asks Gus how he knew. He tells her that he can hear the sounds of a pure clean pitch and hit. He says she’ll know what it is when she hears it.
Later at the motel, Mickey and Johnny get closer. She tells him about her father protecting her and her mother by singing “You are my Sunshine." Gus phones Pete and informs him that Gentry is a bad pick. Gus and Mickey also tell Pete what they discovered about Gentry being unable to hit a curveball. He asks them if they’re absolutely sure. He too informs the Red Sox that they should pass on Gentry. However, it turns out that Phillip had his own scout watching Gentry. This scout affirms that Gentry is a good choice.
It’s time for the draft pick. The Red Sox choose first, and they decide on an unknown pitcher. Phillip gets excited and decides the Braves must take Gentry. Pete and Phillip simultaneously try to convince the GM. Pete stands with Gus that they shouldn’t take Gentry. But Phillip makes a stronger point, agreeing to be fired if Gentry is a bad choice. The GM decides to take Gentry.
Johnny storms out of the motel believing father and daughter tricked him. He has been fired. Mickey tries to block his car and convince him that what they had was real. Johnny refuses to believe her and leaves.
Later, Gus and Mickey eat at a diner. She suddenly brings up her childhood. Gus left her for a year when her mother died. Then, when she was thirteen, he shipped her off to a boarding school. Gus becomes defensive and angry that she wants to discuss this in public. When she insists that they discuss it, he leaves and decides to take a bus back to Atlanta. Mickey returns to the motel and discovers that her father has left.
As she is sitting alone sadly in her room, she hears the sound of people playing throwing around a baseball. When she hears the sound of the ball hitting the mitt, she realizes what Gus meant by the fresh pure sound. When she goes outside, she sees the sons of the motel manager, “Peanutboy” and his brother, playing catch. Peanutboy says his name is Rigo. Mickey dons the catcher’s mask and mitt and asks him to throw to her. He’s an incredible pitcher and throws a perfect curveball.
Back in Atlanta, Pete, Phillip, and Gus are with the GM in his office. The GM gently tells Gus that he will enjoy retirement. Gun angrily brushes it off and insists he’s right about Gentry. Gentry is in the field taking batting practice and posing for pictures. He seems to be hitting a homer every time. Pete gets a call from Mickey saying she’s bringing in a prospective player. Phillip expresses amusement at Mickey bringing someone in.
Everyone congregates in the field and Mickey and Rigo come in. Gentry recognizes “Peanutboy” and asks why they’re wasting his time. He agrees to hit but claims it won’t be pretty.
Rigo first throws a fastball, which Gentry swings at and misses. Phillip and the GM are surprised. Gus, Pete, and Mickey smile. Rigo throws another and Gentry misses again. And again. Mickey asks him to throw a curveball. Genry misses. This happens several times.
Phillip’s face looks as though he swallowed an insect. The GM is incredulous at how Gentry can’t hit despite knowing what’s coming. Gentry gets frustrated at being unable to hit and angrily hits his bat on the ground.
Father and daughter walk off, and Gus tells her about an incident in her childhood when she wandered off and he found her with a stranger holding her arm. Gus beat the stranger until he passed out. He then realized she was better off not living with him. She tearfully insists she would have been. The two reconcile. Mickey receives a phone-call from her law firm. Todd didn’t do so well in the presentation. Mickey tosses the phone into the dumpster.
The GM, Pete, Gus, Mickey, and Phillip meet in the GM’s office. The GM hopes Gus will extend his contract. Gus brusquely responds that he will think about out. The GM says he will offer Rigo a contract. Gus immediately says his smart lawyer daughter will be his agent. Pete informs the group that Billy Clark has been batting extremely well since his parents have been in town. Phillip makes a sour comment, and the GM fires Phillip on the spot.
Gus and Mickey leave the stadium. Outside, Johnny is waiting with his car. He apologizes to Mickey. Mickey and Johnny happily kiss and also reconcile. Gus walks home alone.