The Church of Baseball: The Making of Bull Durham; Home Runs, Bad Calls, Crazy Fights, Big Swings, and a Hit

Knopf. Jul. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780593319772. $30. FILM
This book on the classic, irreverent 1988 baseball film Bull Durham reflects the perspective of one man: Shelton, the film’s writer, director, and one-time minor-league infielder. It is a reflective, first-person account of how he conceived the characters and story and then managed to bring it to life as a first-time film director. Shelton takes readers through the writing of the script in detail, highlighting his aims in each scene. That’s followed by his selling the script to a studio, with himself attached as a neophyte director, and then hiring a crew, casting and shooting the movie, and navigating the editing process. The entire tale is colored by his continual clashes with studio executives on the oddest things imaginable. Shelton survived the ordeal to go on to direct a number of successful movies, mostly about sports. Told purely from the creator’s perspective, this book is a lively, witty master class in screenwriting and film direction, much in the cheeky spirit of Bull Durham.
VERDICT Highly entertaining and informative look at a popular film classic, this book should find wide interest among film and sports buffs.
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