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Mainstream - Spaceman - the story of Bill Lee

Spaceman - the story of Bill Lee
Josh Duhamel, Ernie Hudson
Written and Directed by Brett Rapkin
FilmBuff 2016
90 minutes

Written and directed by Brett Rapkin and starring John Duhamel (11.22.63) Spaceman is a biopic about former Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher and philosopher Bill Lee. The movie focuses on the more  or less 2 years after Lee was let go by the Expos and tried to get back in the show. The reason Spaceman is a fun movie anyone will enjoy as it is about more than a former baseball player. This movie should not be confused with the documentary Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey also by Brett Rapkin

We have all come to a major crossroad in our life. This is really what this movie is about. Lee (an excellent performance by Josh Duhamel who seems at times to channel his inner Billy Bob Thornton) is a pitcher for the Montreal major league baseball team (aka the Expos)  and once again gets in trouble for defending a teammate. The team lets him go and Lee has great difficulty moving on.

Lee eventually learns he has been blackballed by Major League Baseball and must find something else to do with his life. While he adjusts, he plays for a local Senior league team whose budget is about as big as the movie's so the catcher wears a goalie mask and pads.

Spaceman is as original as Lee himself. This means there are a couple of animated sequences within the movie, one about the pitch Tony Perez hit in game seven of the Red Sox and another about a game with the Longueuil Senators where everybody had smoked some really good stuff.

The movie is low budget and did not get the necessary rights from Major League Baseball. That explains why there are no team logos on any uniform and the teams are referred to by their city of origin. It also explains why there are very few real names used for the characters, the exception being that of Rodney Scott. None of this gets in the way of enjoying the movie.

I found the climax of the movie comes much too close to the end. Lee is on the road, talks to his wife, and is told a few truths. We then see Lee walk on a baseball field and then are told what happened after that until Lee got to be about 65 or so. But I am being a bit picky.

Spaceman is a fun movie if you are a baseball fan. It is also a fun movie even if you are not a baseball fan. HOWEVER

Whoever was the technical advisor on Spaceman should be shot, quartered, dipped in boiling oil, crucified, and forced to watch Waterworld 24/7. There are more wrong elements in Spaceman than there are MLB players this season. Minor details such as having bottles on Molson Canadian on a Montreal Expos' manager desk can be forgiven even if Molson Canadian was NOT available anywhere in the province of Quebec before, during, and after Bill Lee's years with the Montreal Expos. Having Bill and his ex-wife repeatedly talking on Swedish model telephones that were never available in Canada is another. Yet another is having Canada Customs agents dressed up in full RCMP regalia.

What broke this camel's back is having a scoreboard with “Maison” for Home “Clients” for Visitors, “Greve” for Strike, and “Tour de Batte” for At Bat, and “Dehors” for Outs is just IGNORANT and LAZY. A simple phone call to any sports journalist or baseball fan in Montreal would have given that stupid, moronic, thick as cement cretin the correct vocabulary instead of either relying on a dollar store English - French dictionary or Google translate.

As much can be said about all the Quebecois characters being played by Europeans with a Parisian accent.


Richard Lanoie

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