Movie Break – “The Hurt Locker”

Yes, it’s Super Bowl weekend, but since I’m not a football fan I’m more excited about the annual Santa Barbara Film Festival, which kicked off last night and runs for 10 more days. First up for me will be tomorrow’s panel discussion featuring the screenwriters of “Up in the Air,” “It’s Complicated,” “Star Trek,” “Precious,” “Inglorious Basterds” and “The Hurt Locker.” Speaking of “The Hurt Locker,” I saw the movie tonight in anticipation of hearing director Kathryn Bigelow talk about it during the festival. Here’s the trailer.
While I don’t think it’s Best Picture material, “The Hurt Locker” is a major achievement for Hollywood. Women don’t get to direct all that often, and they certainly don’t get to direct war movies. If Bigelow wins the Academy Award for Best Director, it just might open up the field for more women, and that would be exciting. Go, Kathryn!
It all makes me wonder….when will baseball have female umpires, female GMs and female owners (not counting women who inherited their stake from a family member)? Soon, I hope.



    Hi Jane,
    Sometimes the similarities between us get scary. Guess what movie I watched last night? Yup, The Hurt Locker!

    I thought it was great, but like you, not best picture material. My young adult kids and friends asked about it and I said “well, it had very little dialogue and not much plot, but it was fascinating and kept you glued to the screen.”

    The scene where they are out in the desert facing off the snipers made being in the army seem really great, and really horrible. I thought Kathryn Bigelow did a great job of showing a side of the male psyche.


  2. rrrt

    I always feel so hopelessly out of touch at Oscar time! I can’t even remember the last “grown-up” movie I watched in a theater – our movie-going seems to always end up being a kids’ movie. Not to mention that it now costs a small fortune for a family of four to see a movie and have a snack!
    Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

  3. scofid

    I really think this was the year that Kim Ng should have risen to the GM ranks, and I hope that she is able to crack the ‘boys club’ in the not-so-distant future. Maybe Oprah should buy the Chicago White Sox! I only say that half in jest because she clearly has the money to pursue team ownership if she so desired. Hopefully more women will choose to pursue careers in management or follow the umpire path to the big leagues to create more opportunity and force MLB to diversify its ranks.


  4. raysrenegade

    I can tell you from experience that the Bomb Disposal Units have that Espirte de Corp most of us wish our teams possessed in massive amounts.
    Not only do these brave souls have talent and nerves of steel, but their dedication to the prevention of further harm to other soliders is a true calling in life.
    The horror of the post is that the mortality rate is high and the perks are few and far between.
    But as someone who walked in Kuwait during the first days of occupation, these guys are truly what saves countless lives every day overseas.
    I still think it is the Best Movie this year, and in my Top 5 of All Time Military movies.
    I have raised a glass in silent honor to these brave souls many a night…… and always will!

    Rays Renegade

  5. Jane Heller

    What a coincidence, Melissa! I, too, thought Bigelow did a great job getting inside the male psyche in the film. And it certainly gave us a suspenseful, almost documentary style picture of an elite unit of the Army. Talk about nerves of steel. My quibble with it was more technical. I couldn’t stand the constant zoom-ins. You see that style often on television now – from “24” to “Grey’s Anatomy” – and it took me out of the story at times. Also I felt the scene where James is running through the streets of Bagdad after trying to find the kid’s house was unbelievable and I’ve read articles by soldiers who said it would never happen. But still, a worthy achievement.

    HAHAHA, Paul! Good one. Or maybe it’s just the title of The Carlos Beltran Story?

    Sue, I consider myself lucky that I do have a “film season” while baseball is on hiatus. I try to see as many movies as I can so that when this festival comes around I can better appreciate what the filmmakers are talking about.

    Don’t feel bad, Cat. I haven’t seen “Star Trek!” (The most recent one anyway.)

    If Oprah were a baseball fan, I bet she would have bought a team, Scott. And there have been plenty for sale. Since she has a swell house here in CA, she could make a bid on the Dodgers if the McCourts have to sell. But I think she’s more focused on getting her new cable network off the ground. Back to baseball, I would love to see more women pursuing careers in management. Right now more young girls dream of being Erin Andrews than Kim Ng.

    I applaud the men depicted in the film, Renegade. How brave they are indeed. And how grateful I am for their service. But for me, the film lacked a good script (I wish there could have been more going on in the car at the end between the two soldiers than, “I hate it here”). And, as I said above, I had trouble with the cinematic style. Still, it deserves to be up there with the best. I’m going with “Precious” though.

  6. travelingbballbabes

    When I played softball in high school, I always thought that being an MLB umpire would be cool. Then I realized that I’d have to be objective and I’m not sure I’d be able to swing that during a Yankees/Red Sox game. So I went to college to play softball while writing instead of umpiring. Oh, well… : )

  7. Erin Kathleen

    I haven’t seen “The Hurt Locker” yet, so I can’t say whether it’s really best-picture worthy or not, but it seems to be a pretty thin crop of nominees this year. Good for Ms. Bigelow if she wins it, though. There were many more female writers and directors in the early days of cinema, before Hollywood completely took over the industry and decided such roles weren’t appropriate for women. It’s taken about 70 years, but it looks like things are right back where they started!-Erin

  8. travelingbballbabes

    If one of those mean, angry managers get into your face, you just punch him in his large gut! That will shut him up and then you’ll develop the reputation of “Don’t mess with Umpire Jane. She will straight f you up!”

  9. bklyntrolleyblogger

    Marge Schott from the Reds comes to mind…even though she showed herself to be somewhat biggoted. There was one female umpire that rose high in the minor leagues. Her name escapes me. Ms. Nancy Ng is currently, I think a good baseball mind I think may yet get a fair shake in the world of GMs.
    There was also the owner of the Football RAMS Ms. Georgia Frontiere R.I.P.
    My personal favorite was Mrs. Joan Payson, original owner of the NY Mets, and a season New York Giants Baseball ticket holder.
    : ) Hope I helped.

  10. Jane Heller

    Serena, I could never be an umpire. I’d start crying the minute some grumpy manager yelled at me. Having to make those split second decisions would give me a breakdown.

    Rooting for the Saints because of their uniforms sounds reasonable to me, Virginia. I guess I’m rooting for them too because the city of New Orleans could use a lift. (They ARE from New Orleans, right? Shows you what I know about football.)

    I just came from the screenwriters panel, Erin, and there was only one woman on it: Nancy Meyers. She said it was a shame that romantic comedies had been pushed aside by the studios and not nurtured the way they were in the past. That’s doubly bad news for me, since that’s the genre I write!

    Marge Schott was not only bigoted but she inherited the team, as did Joan Payson, I believe. I’m hoping a woman will be in a position to put together a group of investors on her own, without a rich husband!

  11. umpireplb

    Jane, thank you so much for posting that wonderful photo of Bernice Gera, a courageous woman who sued baseball in 1972 for the right to umpire professionally. She won her suit and got the courts to throw out the height and weight restrictions that had prevented most women – and a lot of men, too, which they conveniently forget – from joining the ranks of professional umpires. Including Bernice and Pam Postema, who lasted the longest and made it to Triple AAA, there have been a grand total of eight women since 1972 who have gone to umpire school and been “allowed” by the male-dominated baseball hierarchy to umpire pro ball.
    As for women assistant general managers, you omitted the fabulous Jean Afterman of the New York Yankees. Jean was here in Hong Kong yesterday with the 2009 World Series trophy, and she brought it to Sai Tso Wan Field, site of the 2010 Phoenix Cup, host to a women’s baseball tournament featuring the North American Liberty Belles and teams from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong.
    In baseball, change comes sluggishly and incrementally. So we persevere, one lawsuit at a time, until the day when a woman is making the trades and calling ’em like she sees ’em. One day the sight of a woman umpiring behind home plate will become so routine it won’t even evoke any notice, and we will fight no more NOT to be in a league of our own. Thank you for shining a light on this ridiculous, unjustifiable, pathetic paucity of women in those positions in pro baseball.

  12. Jane Heller

    What an eloquently written comment, umpireplb. I’m so glad you reminded me of Bernice Gera’s struggles and ultimate triumph in her lawsuit. I’m well aware of Jean Afterman, having tried to contact her when I was writing my book about being a Yankee fan, and I hope she ascends to the ranks of GM someday soon. I know first hand how baseball is slow to change. I interviewed for a job with the commissioner’s office back when women weren’t being hired for jobs there. It was an interesting experience. Thanks again for stopping by.

  13. umpireplb

    By “interesting” I’m guessing you mean “infuriating.” The more women like you who bang on those doors, Jane, the sooner baseball will wake up and realize it should not and cannot shut us out forever.

    Basketball had Rod Thorne, who actively searched for, recruited, and hired TWO women as NBA referees, one of whom is still in the league eleven years later. Baseball currently has no one with Thorne’s vision and cojones, so we have to keep banging on those doors and knocking them down ourselves – and when we do we’re criticized for being too strident, too demanding. When umpiring and being a general manager are presented to women as careers they might actually enjoy and be good at, that’s when the paradigm will begin to change. Until then, it’s women like you who write about and illuminate this dark corner of baseball’s sad history of shutting women out, and brave trailblazers like Bernice Gera, who will help make our participation a reality rather than a mere novelty.

  14. readbetweenthevines

    Hmm some very interesting points… Can u please check out my blog at if ur a Cubs fan or just baseball fan. I just got it and im an aspiring sports writer that wants some honest feedback, thanks

  15. Jane Heller

    I did mean “infuriating,” umpireplb. LOL. When I went to the Commissioner’s office saying I wanted to work in baseball, it was back in the day when women were relegated to clipping articles from the newspapers and filing them – clerical work, in other words. I was up for a PR job and was told I was the top candidate. I waited…and waited. And months went by and they kept saying they hadn’t made a decision. Ultimately, I had to take another job and the Commissioner’s office ended up not filling the position at all. And so, years later, here I am blogging about baseball.

    I’d be glad to check out your blog, readbetweenthevines. For starters, you need to provide your correct and complete url if you want people to be able to find you!

  16. angelsgirl012

    Ooh! I want to watch that movie 😀

    I too congratulate Kathryn Bigelow for being nominate and I’m glad she’s representing females! It’s a shame that there aren’t many female directors in film and a female leadership/presence in baseball but would like to see many more in the future!

  17. Jane Heller

    I hope more women will fill prominent roles in both baseball and the film industry, Mimi. Change is coming – slowly but surely!

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