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What does a biographer do when the truth about his subject is far less pleasant than the legend? That is the moral dilemma at the heart of Cobb, which explores the lives of both baseball's premier hitter, Ty Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones), and the sportswriter assigned to set his story down, Al Stump (Robert Wuhl). Stump arrives at the Tahoe home of the dying Cobb to write the official life story of the first man inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. He finds a drunken, misanthropic, bitter racist who abuses his biographer as well as everyone else. Stump must either candycoat his subject's… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Cobb cuts right through the winner-take-all ethos of American athletics. It's a raw, inspired, audaciously funny, and unexpectedly moving collaboration between the writer-director Ron Shelton and Tommy Lee Jones."
‑ Michael Sragow, New Yorker
"The result, whether Cobb is wailing about greatness or ruminating about the dark circumstances around his father's death, is a performance too operatic and out of control."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Stump is well-played by affable Robert Wuhl, who has the unenviable responsibility of representing the one sane man in Ty's crazy universe."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Baltimore Sun
"The movie never equals the performance, but still fascinating to watch."
‑ Scott Nash, Three Movie Buffs
"Tommy Lee Jones is superb in the title role, but writer-director Ron Shelton unwisely chose to structure the film as a two-character piece, thus placing undue attention on the lackluster character of Cobb's biographer, Al Stump."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Ty Cobb is such a towering figure in this motion picture that it's easy to overlook Al Stump -- and Robert Wuhl's feisty, witty performance in the thankless role."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"This is a messy movie, sometimes repetitive, sometimes too compressed and allusive. But that's like saying Ty Cobb was not a very good sport -- irrelevant in comparison to the horrific fascination of his story."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Cobb's accomplishments on the ball field would make for an absorbing documentary, but it's the passions and pitfalls of his private life that dominate Ron Shelton's melodramatic film."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Massively underrated."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"Tommy Lee Jones gives an uncompromisingly volcanic performance as the psychotic bigot, one of baseball greatest players, known for his aggressive conduct, racism, and sexism."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"[Jones] lets it all loose here. It's the performance of a lifetime: full of menace and venom, eloquence and fire, rot and pathos, crackling rawness and realism."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"It's such a potent and courageous wreck of a movie that it's worth more than most 'successes.'"
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Ron Shelton, whose Bull Durham and White Men Can't Jump were jokey tales of disillusionment set in the sporting world, here redefines the life of an idol with a certain honest savagery."
‑ Tom Hutchinson, Radio Times
"Director Shelton is a master at locker room drama, and helped by a towering performance of snarling egomania and drug-fuelled bitterness from Jones, he tackles the dichotomies of [Cobb] with engaging enthusiasm."
‑ , Film4
"Completely enthralling from first frame to last, Cobb is a fascinating, uncompromising portrait of a rage-filled, contradictory man fighting his own private war with the world."
‑ Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily
More reviews for Cobb on Rotten Tomatoes