Bull Durham – 12:01 – tape 1735

First on this tape, presented by Moving Pictures, it’s Bull Durham, so we’re still delving into Kevin Costner’s back catalogue. Plus there’s Tim Robbins from The Player a little while back.

Susan Sarandon loves baseball. It’s her religion. “Every player I slept with had the best year of his career.”

Tim Robbins is the new pitcher, on his first professional team. He’s thick as two short planks, and his technique is terrible, but he has a really fast pitch.

Kevin Costner is the veteran player. He’s been traded to the team so he can mentor Robbins. There’s a famous speech he gives, when Sarandon asks him what he believes, and he reels off a bunch of stuff, including “I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone” which caused much amusement when Costner would go on to star in JFK playing a man who believed the exact opposite. It’s almost as if he’s pretending.

I seem to remember enjoying this when I saw it first time, but I find that the actual sporting content (and there’s a lot of it, as Sarandon and Costner try to get the immensely stupid Robbins to pitch properly) quite dull. I’ve never had the sporting tendency – in my family it’s my three sisters who got that, being fanatical football supporters, and I’ve never had the slightest interest in sport. Plus, the faux philosophy is annoying me a bit.

And the ridiculous arguing after a dodgy call just looks stupid.

God, now Costner is drunk and winding up Robbins.

The most religious player on the team is getting married to the team groupie. I hope it lasts.

At least Costner and Sarandon are together in the end, although, as we all know, it was Sarandon and Robbins who ended up together in real life. I should at least praise Robbins’ performance here, as he really does seem like the dumbest person on Earth.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 6th February 1994 – 22:20

After this, recording switches to The Movie Channel for an extra movie that wasn’t originally on my database. And it’s a movie I do have recorded on another tape, that I’m not going to get to for at least another year.

It’s called 12:01 and all I know about it is that it’s some kind of time travel story.

I get a definite Back To The Future vibe, as our hero wakes up, and there’s a TV news story about a particle accelerator.

There’s a lot of things happening in the opening, and as well as the Back to the Future thing, I’m also thinking Groundhog Day, as our hero, Jonathan Silverman makes his way to work, having a series of small encounters.

His coworker is Jeremy Piven. He is a fount of bad dating advice.

He’s lusting after Helen Slater, but rather than talk to her like a human being, he gibbers. Did this ever used to be charming or amusing?

Martin Landau is the head of the company.

I’m not saying that this film is in any way predictable, but as soon as I saw that snowglobe at the edge of the desk, I knew it was going to be smashed. I’m thankful it only took seconds.

Slightly more unexpected is when, after work (when apparently the entire company leaves work at exactly the same time) Slater is gunned down by dodgy looking people in a truck.

Sure enough, at midnight, he’s fiddling with his lamp when he gets a shock, and wouldn’t you know it, time repeats. After a lot of confused wandering around he finally works out what’s happened, thanks to the newspaper explaining the plot for us. He wasn’t really paying attention to the TV earlier, though, when the same thing was explained. The movie is not taking any chances that we might not know what’s happening.

Something has gone wrong with the particle accelerator. Landau says “In 40 years something has gone wrong with every damn project I’ve ever worked on.” That seems to suggest the problem might be with him, doesn’t it?

The second day also ends with Slater’s murder, but this time, since he had earlier phoned the police to ask about the investigation into her murder, he’s arrested, and in a cell when time bounces back, sharing the cell with Danny Trejo.

On the third day he’s more prepared, and this time he manages to stop Slater being shot, and she finds evidence that her colleague has been sabotaging the experiment. There’s even a car chase.

But then he takes her somewhere in the country, and because it all has to be about his leching after her, they end up in bed. I guess this also follows the Groundhog Day model, although this time it doesn’t stop the repeat.

The next day seems to be going smoother, until Landau spots Silverman’s login downloading proof of the crooked scientist, and he’s arrested. Then, after Slater bails him out, they’re accosted by the killers, and friend Jeremy Piven is shot. Then they go back to his house, and the crooked coworker, Denk, is there. He says that Landau is in the house, and that he’s working with the Department of Justice because Landau is the one firing the accelerator. They don’t believe him of course, but inside the house, Landau shoots Denk and then Slater and Silverman, and the day resets.

The next day things seem to go even worse, as Landau spots Denk’s phone calls on the system, and his goons kill him. But finally there’s a climax at midnight in the lab, and Landau gets zapped by the accelerator, the only acceptable end for a villain in this kind of thing.

Well, this isn’t a terrible movie, but it really suffers in comparison to its closest analogue, Groundhog Day. In fact, the comparison is slightly driven home on this tape because, when the movie ends, they play a trailer for Groundhog Day. I had assumed this one was just a TV Movie rip-off, but that’s less clear when there’s only a few months between the release of Groundhog Day and this film. And this is based on a short story from 1973, whose writer considered suing Groundhog Day for plagiarism, although they never filed a suit.

My biggest problem with this movie is the facile motivations of the lead character. He’s really only interested in getting together with Helen Slater, a woman he’s only ever seen, and never spoken to. And there doesn’t seem to be any reason for her to be interested in him at all, apart from the usual movie trope of them being thrown into an adventure together. It just feels like a lazy placeholder.

Of course, Groundhog Day has exactly the same motivations, but at least the underlying character arc for Bill Murray is that he has to stop trying to find the ‘trick’ that will make Andie MacDowell fall in love with him, and just become a better person.

After this, the recording continues with the US Top Ten, and an extended preview of the American version of The Vanishing.

Then the tape ends during Candyman. This one was definitely directed by Bernard Rose.

In the adverts, there’s a couple of adverts, one for Bird’s Eye and one for Knorr, that seem to hit exactly the same sweet spot of awkward racism. It’s made slightly worse by having them run consecutively.


  • Slim-Fast – Cheryl Baker
  • Flash
  • Ambrosia Devon Custard
  • Rice Krispies
  • Chicken Tonight
  • Lunn Poly
  • trail: The Movie Show
  • trail: Groundhog Day
  • Mars
  • Salon Selectives
  • Spain
  • Crest Complete
  • Philadelphia
  • Day Nurse
  • Bird’s Eye Vegetable Cuisine
  • Knorr Stir Fry
  • Ambrosia Devon Custard
  • trail: Tomorrow on the Movie Channels
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • trail: The Extraordinary
  • Coming Up: The Vanishing
  • Cadbury’s High Lights
  • Butlin’s Holiday Worlds
  • Philips
  • Chicken Tonight
  • Bounce
  • Sky TV Guide
  • Sanatogen
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Toyota
  • trail: Passenger 57


  1. On the bright side, it could have been about cricket… Which summons up a British version with I don’t know, Idris Elba in the Costner role and Joanna Lumley in the Susan Sarandon only as a cricket groupie in middle England I had terrifying visions of Fiona Shaw in “Three Men and a Little Lady.”

  2. 12:01 had been made as a short film 12:01 PM, starring Kurtwood Smith, three years before. I haven’t seen the TV movie, but the short is fantastic, genuinely haunting. It sounds like they, er, bulked out the remake with sci-fi clutter. The original is well worth your time, though.

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