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Facing Nolan; Grade: B+

Facing Nolan is a documentary film centered around arguably the most famous pitcher in all of Major League Baseball history: Nolan Ryan! Here in this film we’ll be discovering Nolan’s whole life story from youth, humble beginnings, and his rise as a pitcher in Major League Baseball.

A one night only showing of a Nolan Ryan documentary film?! You bet I was not going to miss seeing this in theaters. In my childhood my dad basically raised me to love Nolan Ryan, considering the fact we’re a household that loves baseball through and through… It’s honestly mandatory to love Nolan Ryan, because if you’re a baseball fan how can one not love Nolan Ryan?! The man is arguably one of the greatest pitchers to ever live hands down, as he’s held many records but also known to have the fastest fastball in major league history.

I think those whom are baseball fans or fans of fascinating documentaries in general, are going to absolutely LOVE Facing Nolan. I knew Nolan Ryan was an incredible pitcher, but the documentary also highlights him as the most fascinating yet the coolest pitcher ever. Like the stories in which are being told in this documentary, it’s honestly like watching one of those Dos Equis commercials… The man is just so damn cool and interesting, it honestly felt like a fictional character in a movie, that’s how cool this man is. Even if you’re well equipped to knowing the history of Nolan Ryan, I guarantee you, you’ll be surprised with new information in which you never knew before about him not only as a pitcher but more so as a man.

One of the main highlights of this documentary for me was Nolan’s relationship with his wife Ruth. Ruth believe it or not gave Nolan the competitive edge that Nolan truly needed to become a fantastic pitcher, without Ruth we may never have gotten to experience a terrific baseball career, she was indeed his rock and more. Truly shows just how important a woman’s love means to a man’s success… Men appreciate the women you have in your life, they’ll take you to greater heights. The balance between going back and forth with Nolan Ryan as a pitcher to knowing Nolan Ryan as a person t’was delightful.

Witnessing a career in which I don’t believe not a single pitcher will ever replicate, was extremely satisfying and exciting to watch. I mean come on: 300+ wins, 5,000 Strikeouts, 383 strikeouts in a single season, and 7 No-Hitters… In Today’s Game: They’ll never be a pitcher even close to Nolan Ryan. Plus: Nolan Ryan was in a golden era, where they didn’t baby pitchers the way they do today. You talk about a relentless pitcher?! The man would have games pitching 150+ pitches… If you’re pitching a really good game, there is no reason to take them out whatsoever as I’m glad Ryan told off the idea of pitch counts, pitch counts are ruining the game.

But as a person: Nolan Ryan is just as legendary as he was a pitcher. He’s an extremely humbled kind gentleman, whom never whined or cried about a thing: He was just grateful for the opportunity to play the game, as he never took it for granted and played till he couldn’t do it anymore. I really enjoyed experiencing little bits of his lifestyle, lived like a true Texan with his own ranch and spending quality time with his family… I tell Florida changed me, because I get excited seeing people live an ole traditional southern lifestyle now

Only real flaw I have with this film is the visuals looks pretty standard to a documentary film and how it was edited felt like a basic documentary as well. It was cool to get a quick little Q&A after the film, as learning the director got inspiration from watching The Last Dance, as he figured he made a documentary about a sports legend as well… I felt this matched up well with The Last Dance just fine, as this would be a cool double feature. It’s a truly entertaining, fascinating, and quite satisfying documentary indeed.

Overall, Facing Nolan was a pretty damn good documentary film. I highly recommend checking this one out if you’re a baseball fan, sports fan, or just a fan of films in general… Nolan Ryan is the real deal, a true Texan icon. -Mitch Smietana

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