Combustible Celluloid Review - Facing Nolan (2022), n/a, Bradley Jackson, Nolan Ryan, George W. Bush, Robert Goldman, Mike MacRae, Joe Posnanski
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With: Nolan Ryan, George W. Bush, Robert Goldman, Mike MacRae, Joe Posnanski
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Bradley Jackson
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 102
Date: 08/30/2022

Facing Nolan (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Mound Bites

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Bradley Jackson, the documentary Facing Nolan, on the much-feared pitcher of four major league teams, is a bit of myth-making, but it's also highly entertaining. Ryan seen today, in his seventies, is droll and no-nonsense, and isn't particularly interested in either confirming nor denying his legend. The film covers his many records — including 27 years played, 5,714 career strikeouts, and 7 no-hitters — and tries to make a case for him as the Greatest of All Time, without acknowledging his flaws. (I checked out several lists of the greatest pitchers, and Ryan usually ranks somewhere in the bottom teens; Bill James has him at #25.) Despite his many records, his aggressive approach resulted in many walks and losses, and several low-ranking stats, including a 3.19 ERA. But plenty of great baseball footage full of familiar faces (Pete Rose, Rickey Henderson, Roger Clemens, etc.), footage of Ryan with his family, and interviews with a jovial President George W. Bush make this a thoroughly pleasing experience for any baseball fan. The 2022 Blu-ray, distributed by Kino Lorber, includes a Q&A with Ryan, Tom House and Pitching Ninja, a Q&A from SXSW, clips, and a trailer.

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