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Rating: TV 14

Tom Sizemore as Pete Rose
Dash Mihok as Paul Janszen
Devon Bostick as The Kid
Joe Bostick as Limo Driver
Sarain Boylan as Katarina Grant
Carlos Diaz as Mike Bertollini
George DiCenzo as Bartlett Giamatti
Melissa DiMarco as Carol Rose
Paul Fauteux as Tommy Gioiosa
Edie Inksetter as Special Agent Mary ODell
David Macniven
Paulino Nunes as Don Stenger

Special Features:
“ABC Primetime Live” Special With Charlie Gibson

“SportsCentury” Interview With Pete Rose

Bart Giamatti Press Conference — “The Banishment For Life”

Excerpts From Paul Janszen ESPN Interview

Tommy Gioiosa On Pete Rose

John Dowd Interview With ESPN

“SportsCentury” Interview With John Dowd

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 90 Minutes

This movie aired on ESPN in 2004. The following is from the DVD cover:

“Golden Globe nominee Tom Sizemore stars as baseball’s talented and troubled hit king Pete Rose in the ESPN original movie HUSTLE.

Pete Rose earned the nickname ”Charlie Hustle” for his aggressive style on and off the field. Ironically, the same mind-set that made him Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leader ultimately led to his demise.

Shortly after achieving baseball immortality, Rose headed down a dark road that would lead to lifetime banishment from the game he loved.

Based on the facts set forth in the 1989 Dowd Report, HUSTLE chronicles the fascinating inside life of one of baseball’s greatest players.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, this DVD is the hard-hitting story of an American icon’s stunning fall from grace — complete with exclusive bonus footage and interviews from the ESPN archives.”

Hustle is rated TV 14.

The Movie:
I should probably start out by saying that I’m not a baseball fan and I couldn’t care less about Pete Rose. I knew he was banned from baseball for betting on the sport, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. So needless to say I’m not in the target audience for this film. And sure enough I was only moderately entertained by it. It was interesting to see the details behind the scandal, but I imagine baseball fans are going to be a lot more fascinated by this film than I was.

It’s an interesting and unflattering portrait of Pete Rose. He’s shown to be a gambling addict, a manipulator, a liar, and a generally not nice person. Hustle shows his gradual descent from baseball superstar to infamous embarrassment to Major League Baseball. Rose is played by Tom Sizemore, a man who ironically has his own set of self destructive addictions and is in the middle of a career down spiral. Underneath a horrific wig, Sizemore adopts the mannerisms and characteristics of Rose and he makes you totally buy the performance. Rose uses his celebrity over and over again to recruit gophers, raise gambling cash, and generally get himself out of trouble.

The rest of the cast is also decent. Dash Mihok leads them as Paul Janszen, a friend of Rose who does most of his dirty work and betting for him. Janszen is shown as a half-witted patsy who is dazzled by Rose and his fame. With stars in his eyes, he is dragged down by Rose into a shady underworld. Also notable is Melissa DiMarco as Carol Rose. It’s hard to imagine what she saw in Pete, yet she sticks with him through his darkest times.

The movie is directed by Peter Bogdonavich, but this doesn’t seem to make it any better or worse. It doesn’t really stand out from any other TV movie. Since this film is set in the 80’s, there’s a lot of music from that decade featured. It was a nice touch.

In the end, I’d really only recommend Hustle to fans of baseball, Pete Rose, or Tom Sizemore. It’s not remarkable enough to buy the DVD otherwise.

The Extras:
As far as completeness goes, you couldn’t ask for better bonus features than what’s included here. There are a ton of bonus features showing interviews with the real folks involved in the scandal. They include the real Pete Rose, Paul Janszen, John Dowd, and others. It’s kind of nice to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth. Most notable among them is the “ABC Primetime Live” Special With Charlie Gibson. In this interview with Pete Rose, he finally admits for the first time publicly that he lied about betting on baseball. It’s quite pathetic, really. He shows no apparent remorse for what he did, he was shown lying straight faced up until recently, and he begs for a second chance to get into baseball (despite still apparently being addicted to gambling). If you liked the movie, though, these interviews are interesting footnotes to the story. Unfortunately there are no interviews with Tom Sizemore or the other cast and crew about this film.

The Bottom Line:
Hustle is worth checking out if you’re a fan of baseball, you’re interested in Peter Rose, or if you like Tom Sizemore. Otherwise there are other films worth checking out first.