by Melanie Morrow
When I was given the opportunity to visit the set of the movie HOME RUN, my first thought was oh another baseball movie. But after spending a couple of days on location speaking with the cast and crew I realize that this movie is so much more than just another baseball movie. This movie is a sports story, a love story and a story of redemption.
HOME RUN tells the story of Cory Brand (Scott Elrod) a big league baseball player who struggles with alcoholism. His past is riddled with problems including having an abusive alcoholic father. Cory is suspended from baseball when his out of control drinking collides with his rage. His suspension forces him to seek help and Celebrate Recovery is the only option available to him. Through the character of Cory Brand the viewers will realize that personal transformation is possible. This character is a strong-willed, tough know it all who doesn't need anything from anyone--yet deep inside is damaged, scared, unsure and struggling. For years, Cory hides his pain until one day it explodes. He uses anger to cover up what he is really feeling. This character craves approval and feeds this need for approval by playing baseball really well. As the movie unfolds, Cory is eventually forced to deal with his demons.
Can people really change? This movie explores the challenges that Cory Brand faces from losing everything to discovering what really matters. HOME RUN explores this transformation and reveals that there doesn't have to be shame along the journey.
Producer Carol Mathews and her producing partner Tom Newman develop "projects that matter." Carol was inspired to produce a feature film giving hope to those suffering from addiction.
"We want people who feel imprisoned by their choices or habits to know they don't have to carry that burden alone anymore," Mathews said. "We hope people will sit in the theater and see themselves, and will consider that whatever holds them back, God can heal it. Change is possible."
The faith message is developed in this movie by means of the Celebrate Recovery program. Celebrate Recovery was founded in 1991 by John and Cheryl Baker. While John Baker was attending Alcoholics Anonymous he longed for a Biblically based, Christ-centered program. His thoughts were expressed in a 13-page letter to Saddelback Senior Pastor Rick Warren. Warren's response was, "John, you do it." Today, there are 19,000 individual churches and organizations hosting programs worldwide. More than 700,000 people have completed the program. The mission of Celebrate Recovery is to take a lost broken person, introduce them to the saving power of Christ and teach them how to grow into a fully devoted follower of Christ. The door to recovery is opened by spending time together sharing experiences, strengths and hopes with one another and celebrating God's healing power in our lives.
During my visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma I was fortunate enough to attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting. I witnessed people sharing stories of abuse and addiction while being supported by those around them. There is no need to suffer in silence because there are people who love you and will walk with you on your journey. They feel you can love the sinner, not the sin. Real recovery testimonies from addicts are used in the movie HOME RUN.
One of the scenes I had the opportunity to see being filmed in the West Tulsa United Methodist Church was that of Cory and Karen giving their testimony. Karen Brand is played by Nicole Leigh and is Cory's sister-in-law. Cory has no idea of the burden she has carried until the day her secret is revealed. Clay Brand played by Jim Devoti is Cory's younger brother who wants Cory to start making better choices. Dorian Brown plays the girl that Cory left behind and Charles Henry Wyson plays the son that Cory Brand never acknowledged. Vivica A. Fox plays the role of Helene Landy, Cory's go getter agent whose only goal is to get Cory back on the field.
I also had the opportunity to speak with the director and cinematographer David Boyd before shooting began at Driller's stadium in Tulsa. David is known for his work on the television series Friday Night Lights, Firefly and most recently The Walking Dead. David explained that after receiving a call from Carol Mathews, he read the script and thought it was a great story and was excited to be a part of this project. David Boyd's hope is that the viewers walk out feeling encouraged and believing that there is always hope. Transformation can happen.
HOME RUN the movie is a feel good, Christian based family film that will be an inspiration to all. The film gives hope to those suffering from addiction. This is a movie about baseball, love and encouragement. A must see movie that will undoubtedly score big.