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''Bull Durham'' is a 1988 Sports/Romance comedy by Ron Shelton.

It's the Carolina Leagues and the last-place Durham Bulls are working out a rookie pitcher Ebby [=LaLoosh=] (Creator/TimRobbins). [=LaLoosh=] has a "million-dollar arm and a five-cent head," so the ownership sends down "Crash" Davis (Creator/KevinCostner), an aging catcher who'd been working his whole adult life to make the Majors, [[TheMentor to teach and guide the new kid]]. Angry he's been ''sent down'' instead of up, Crash almost refuses to take the assignment to help the new "[[NewMeat Meat]]".

Mixing into the conflict is Annie Savoy (Creator/SusanSarandon), long-time resident of Durham and a long-time fan of baseball. A sports groupie, she takes it upon herself to latch onto a promising new talent every year and train him on the mysteries of baseball, sex and life (the coaches don't mind: every rookie she beds has a great season). She spies both [=LaLoosh=] and Crash and invites them to compete for her affections: Crash, every bit her spiritual and intellectual equal, notes he's too old to "try out" for anything and leaves her with [=LaLoosh=] by default, whom Annie quickly beds and nicknames "Nuke".

Now with Crash and Annie teaching him - sometimes in conflict, but more often than not in concert - Nuke goes through the trials and errors of a pitcher: knowing when NOT to shake off a catcher's sign, the value of a rain-out, how bondage and poetry improve sex, how to hold a ball like an egg, how NOT to think when pitching, how to have actual fun during a game, and which way a garter belt ought to be worn ("Rose goes in front, big guy.") But while all that's going on, Crash and Annie get to realizing that the two of them might be perfect for each other, [[LoveTriangle except that she's with Nuke]]...

Critical reception for ''Bull Durham'' was mostly positive when it came out and was a moderate success, but in the years since its release the film has been re-assessed as a full-out classic among sports film: critics, sports columnists, and baseball fans argue it may be the best baseball movie ever.

Costner's next film would be another iconic baseball film, ''FieldOfDreams''.

!This movie contains examples of baseball and sex, and a few of these tropes:

* AllMenArePerverts
-->'''Annie:''' A guy will listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay.
* AllWomenAreLustful: Annie and Millie, although Annie tempers hers with roleplay.
* [[TheArtOfBraRemoval The Art of Gartered Stocking Removal]]: Nuke has as much trouble with Annie's garters as most men do in the standard version of the trope.
** [[spoiler:Crash doesn't.]]
* AsHimself: Max Patkin receives this credit.
* TheBechdelTest: It has two women (check) who are friends and who chat (check) about baseball... except that their baseball talks are about their relationships to the men who play baseball. (Ummm...) It ''might'' pass the test, considering that Annie and Millie are complex and likable characters.
* BigGame: Subverted. In a baseball season even in the minors, there's no one big game outside of the playoffs, and the movie ends well before the season does.
* BittersweetEnding: The movie [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic ends on a rain-out]] and Annie returns to her home to find Crash having played his last game, hitting his record-setting home run for another team. Crash reveals he's quitting as a player, while Annie reveals that she's quitting too (just boys, not her love of baseball). [[spoiler:Crash then reveals he might get a coaching job in California, suggesting that managing is his ticket to The Show.]]
-->'''Annie''': Walt Whitman once said, "I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us." You could look it up.
* BookEnds: "La Vie En Rose" plays while Annie has Nuke tied up in bed and reads poetry to him towards the beginning of the film, and it plays when she says goodbye to him towards the end. (But neither scene opens or begins the ''entire'' film).
** The Bulls manager releases a player at both ends of the film, using a boilerplate speech both times.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: An in-universe example. Millie reads Crash's note to Annie as, "I want to make love to you." What he actually wrote was, "Let's fuck sometime."
* BrainsAndBondage: Annie reveals in one scene that in her day job she's an English prof at a community college. She's very given to quoting famous poets, and the first night she and Nuke Laloosh were together they didn't even have sex: she just tied him to the bed and read Creator/WaltWhitman to him all night. [[spoiler:When she and Crash Davis ''finally'' get together it turns out she also likes being on the receiving end.]]
* BrickJoke: At one point, Crash teaches Nuke all the cliches he's going to have to tell reporters when he gets to the majors ("We gotta play it one day at a time"). At the end, when Nuke is in the majors, and speaking to a reporter, he's using them all.
* CallBack: Nuke has trouble with women's underwear. When Crash finally has sex with Annie, he immediately unsnaps her garter, causing Annie to breathe, "Oh, my!"
* TheCameo: some of the background characters were real-life persons involved with the Durham Bulls organization when the film was made.
* CaptainObvious
-->'''Nuke''': A woman's pu ... pussy ... um, well, you know how the hair is kind of in a V-shape?
-->'''Annie''': Yes. I do.
* CatchPhrase: To this day, minor league pitchers want to "announce my presence with authority!"
** Annie says "Oh, my!" several times in the film.
* CentipedesDilemma: One of the best examples of this. Nuke has ''no'' control when he thinks about what he's doing. He can't even hit Crash in the chest from five feet away when he thinks about what he's doing. Once he learns how to focus on something else, his control greatly improves.
* ChainedToABed: Part of the light bondage Annie uses on Nuke.
* ClusterFBomb: Half the dialog is spiked with profanity. If you ever watch ''Bull Durham'' on a basic cable channel, you're missing probably thirty percent of the movie.
** There's also the PrecisionFStrike for when the F-word helps make a point:
-->'''Crash''': Never ''fuck'' with a winning streak.
** There's apparently one word [[spoiler:"cocksucker"]] you're never supposed to say to an umpire.
-->'''Millie''' (listening to a game on the radio as Crash gets thrown out): Must have called him a [[spoiler:cocksucker]].\\
'''Annie''' (sighs): How romantic.
* DancePartyEnding: Annie and Crash over the closing credits.
* DeadpanSnarker: Crash. (He's played by Creator/KevinCostner. So, of course.)
* {{Deconstruction}}: Before this, sports movies had clean-cut heroes, outright villains, and every problem resolved by a BigGame that saves the day. This movie dumps ''all of that'' for serious character development and introspection, and that winning the game is unimportant compared to coming to terms with who you are. By playing by none of the rules, ''Bull Durham'' is considered one of the best sports movies '''ever'''.
* EthicalSlut: Annie probably isn't this, as she beds one player per season, but Millie is. She's cheerfully unembarrassed when the manager catches her and Nuke together in the opening scene.
* FourthDateMarriage: Millie, Annie's friend and fellow groupie, has basically slept with half the Carolina League right up until she tries hooking up with the overtly religious Jimmy. After just one night, the two of them get engaged.
* GloryDays: Crash once spent 21 days in the major leagues (what he calls "The Show".) He's spent the rest of his minor league career ''hoping and praying'' to earn his way back ever since.
-->'''Crash''': Yeah, I was in the Show. (''all the rookies perk up'') I was in the Show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the Show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, ''the ballparks are like cathedrals'', the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains...
** In a non-sports way, Annie. She keeps wanting to relive the magic of seducing and mentoring a hotshot ball player every year... but even she realizes she's getting too old for that now.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex
* GretzkyHasTheBall: Mostly averted, but early in the film Nuke is said to have compiled 18 strikeouts and 18 walks in his first start. This would require a mathematical minimum of 126 pitches (already a high count for a rookie in the minors) and in reality probably more than 200 pitches (an absurdly high number).
** Unless the major league team is desperate, it's unlikely a AA pitcher would get called up to the majors.
*** It's not that uncommon (the Baltimore Orioles actually keep a lot of major ready stock at their AA club in Bowie, less than an hour away, for convenience, while piling organizational depth at AAA Norfolk), but the Bulls of that time (and in the movie) are an A ball club, and that's definitely a stretch.
* InformedAbility: Let's just say that while Costner does a pretty good job playing a ballplayer, some of the others don't. Tim Robbins is a big tall guy who fit the physical profile, but his pitching motion is a pretty poor imitation of the real thing.
* IronicEcho: When they first meet, Crash taunts a half-drunk Nuke into starting a fight outside a bar by challenging him to nail him with a fastball. Nuke smashes a door window instead and Crash punches him out. After Nuke gets called up to the majors, he finds Crash (who knows it means the end of his stay on the team) getting drunk and taunting Nuke with baseball stats. Trying to get into another fight, Crash smashes a nearby mirror, forcing Nuke to punch Crash out. Crash then [[SecretTestOfCharacter uses the moment]] to see if Nuke punched with his throwing hand (he didn't)... showing that [[WellDoneSonGuy Nuke has the instincts not to fuck up his career]] if he ever gets in a bar brawl.
* MagicFeather: Annie encouraging Nuke to wear garters to help him play better. Discussed by Crash later in the movie:
--> '''Crash:''' If you think you're winning because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you're wearing women's underwear, ''then you are!''
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Annie. It's subverted a bit in that she does what she does because she enjoys it; she's not just a character-building device for the male characters.
* AManIsNotAVirgin
* MeaningfulName: Annie gets her name from the nickname given to baseball groupies.
** Everyone gets a nickname - like "Nuke" and "Crash" - they deserve.
* {{Mondegreen}}: Nuke botches the lyrics to "Try a Little Tenderness". "She may get wooly..."
--> '''Crash''': Goddamn, I hate people that get the words wrong.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Nuke [=LaLoosh=] was based on Steve Dalkowski, a legendary minor league pitcher who like Nuke could throw it fast... and throw it wild, which is why Dalkowski never made the majors.
** Crash Davis got his name from the real-life Lawrence "Crash" Davis, who did make The Show as a second baseman for the Philadelphia A's in the 1940s. He got a quick bump in celebrity when ''Bull Durham'' became a hit.
* NotWearingPantsDream: Annie tries to get Nuke to focus his energies elsewhere by insisting he wears a woman's garter belt. He has a horrifying nightmare of being on the mound wearing ''just'' the garter belt (and a jock strap), and refuses to. When he finally relents, Crash is the one who spots him trying it on... and doesn't mock Nuke for wearing it. He even tells him "Rose goes in front, big guy."
** Oh, Crash mocked him, all right-- he was just snarky about it. Slapping him on the ass and saying, "That's ''really'' hot."
---> '''Nuke:''' This underwear feels kinda sexy. That don't make me queer, right?
* TheObiWan: Crash. The rookie players flock to his leadership and wisdom real quick, except for Nuke, who eventually comes around when Annie insists on him following Crash's advice... and it actually improves his game.
** Annie's insistence on Nuke following Crash's advice comes back to bite her on the ass when Nuke's re-channels his sexual energy into his pitching, which helps him go on a fantastic winning streak. Annie, [[CatchPhrase being monogamous in the framework of the baseball season]], starts getting ''very'' sexually frustrated... even though [[NiceJobBreakingItHero she's the one who suggested]] the re-channeling before the streak. But when Nuke admits to Crash that he's thinking about having sex with her just to get her out of his hair, Crash basically says, "Are you crazy? Never [[DoubleEntendre ''fuck'']] with a winning streak." So Nuke stays out of Annie's bed, and when Nuke tells her why, [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge she gets pissed off at Crash]].
*** And Crash calls her on it, pointing out that Annie (as much an expert on baseball as he is) should know full well that winning streaks are rare, so when someone is on one, you respect it (i.e., abide by whatever is "maintaining" it). Annie quickly realizes he's right... [[SlapSlapKiss and also realizes she really loves Crash]].
* OneHundredAndEight: In the opening narration Annie connects the 108 beads in a Buddhist rosary with the 108 stitches in a baseball--except that she confuses the Buddhist rosary with a Catholic rosary (59 beads).
* PrecisionFStrike:
** "Don't ''fuck'' with a winning streak."
** Straight-arrow Christian Jimmy gets what counts, for ''him,'' as a precision F-strike when he sees the "special wedding cake" the boys get him:
---> '''Jimmy:''' Oh, my ''Lord!''
* SeductionProofMarriage: PlayedForLaughs. One scene has EthicalSlut Milly trying to pick up various members of the Durham Bulls at batting practice. One DeadpanSnarker responds to her "I'm Milly," with "I'm married."
* SpiritualSuccessor: Loose Example to Slap Shot. The mood of the two movies was different. But both are pretty accurate depictions of minor league sports life and star an aging veteran who recognizes that their chance for a job in the big leagues has passed, but holds onto the life anyway. Both are also looking to coaching as their ticket instead.
* WrongNameOutburst: Annie calls out Crash's name during sex with Nuke.
** Annie smooths it over by telling him it's better she call out Crash's name while fooling around with him than calling his name while fooling around with Crash.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue
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