Twenty-five years! It seems like yesterday that we saw Susan Sarandon tie Nuke to the bed and force feed him Walt Whitman. But it was twenty-five years ago this week that the romance began.
Bull Durham is the movie with Kevin Costner playing an aging catcher in the minor leagues. It’s a movie that appears to be about baseball life with the hopes and desperate desires of men who want to play ball for a living. And while it is seemingly a men’s movie with all the swearing, ass slapping and drinking and real life baseball lore, it is in fact THE all time best chick flick.
Yes, we love Kevin Costner from the first moment he arrives in the locker room wearing his navy blazer, rumpled white shirt and khakis that are the perfect shade of tan with a hint of olive. He’s a manly man who in the first 20 minutes gives the fabulous, if too artful, monologue about his beliefs which includes, “I believe in the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back…that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap”, and which ends with his belief in “long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days”.
Yes! You had us at “long, slow and deep”—and yes, at the Susan Sontag part too.
But it is a later scene that grabs every woman because we see something we really want.
“Do you want to dance?” Sarandon asks Costner, sitting in the kitchen late at night. He says yes, but surprises her by not by dancing but instead by sweeping all the food and dishes off the kitchen table onto the floor. He spins Sarandon onto that now empty table and they go at it.
Yes, what he does in that scene is part of it; we want a man to want us that much; we want a man who wants to make love a second time and on the kitchen table. We want that kind of passion. But, there is something bigger in that scene that is a woman’s dream come true. What most women desire is not what Costner does, but what Sarandon does NOT do. As all of her dishes and the leftover food crash onto the floor Sarandon allows herself to be swept onto that table instead of diving for a broom, or a dish cloth and saying to her lover, “Hold on a second, I’ll clean up this mess and then meet you in the bedroom.”
No, she is in the moment and desiring this man and this sex more than she desires a clean floor and a neat kitchen. She wants the rapture of this man’s body even with cereal and milk oozing under the fridge. And she is not saying, “Oh dear God that was my mother’s china bowl.” Nope, she’s on that table having a ball.
Oh, to be that kind of woman. We assume the power is in the man, that to be taken so passionately would free us. But what we see in Bull Durham is a woman who CAN be taken. She is not thinking, “When did we last wash these sheets?” while a man is dutifully going at it.
Oh, we may wish for a partner to love us with such sweet abandon, but Susan Sarandon, in Bull Durham, shows us a woman who can abandon herself to pleasure