Bull Durham: To the True Meaning of The First Fight Scene
The theme of this paper is to dissect the first fight scene; in the
movie Bull Durham, between Crash Davis; who is played by Kevin Costner; and
“Nuke” LaLoosh; who is played by Tim Robbins. The fight takes place in a bar
scene between these two men who have never met before. The reason for the fight
is that Crash Davis is talking to a women by the name of Annie Savoy who is
sitting at one of the tables. Nuke already believes that Annie is going to be
with him all season long, but Crash believes otherwise.
In the beginning of the scene Nuke is dancing with all of the women in
the bar while Crash is sitting alone in the corner of the bar. Crash then
orders a drink for Annie, and is then asked by Annie to come over and sit by her.
Crash introduces himself to Annie and tells her that he is the new catcher on
the Durham Bulls baseball team. At the same time Nuke comes over and ask Annie
to dance, but Crash stands up and says that she is dancing with him. When Crash
stands up in front of him, Nuke takes this as a challenge and he asks Crash if
he wants to take it outside. At this point Nuke still does not know that Crash
is his new catcher. While Nuke is waiting for Crash outside, Crash begins to
wonder how he is going give Nuke his first lesson to make it to the majors.
When Crash finally comes outside he sees that Nuke is standing in the
middle of the street. Nuke is not alone he has the entire baseball team
standing behind him. First, Crash says that he does not want to fight him.
When Crash says this everyone else begins to tease Crash. Next, Crash tells
Nuke to throw the first punch, but Nuke refuses to. So instead, Crash tells
Nuke to throw a baseball as hard as he can right at Crash’s chest. When Nuke
hears this everyone around him including himself begin to laugh, because they
know how hard Nuke can throw and that it could kill Crash if it hit him in the
chest or the head.
During this entire time Crash is keeping a cool head. He knows that the
chance of Nuke hitting him is very small. Also, he tells Nuke that he won’t be
able to do it because he is beginning to think about it. Crash goes so far as
to say that Nuke’s aim is so bad that he could not hit water if he fell out of a
boat. Crash also says that his million dollar body could do it, but its his
five cent head that is holding him back. Finally, Nuke becomes so upset that he
throws the ball at Crash, but misses and ends up breaking a window. Crash looks
at the hole that Nuke just made and say ball four. When Crash says this, Nuke
comes at him and tries to punch him. Before he can, Crash punches him right in
the nose and causes him to fall to the ground. After Crash knocks him to the
ground, he introduces himself to Nuke as his new catcher and helps him up. In
the end, Crash invites Nuke back inside for a beer and to talk.
The number of communicational concepts that appear in this short
interaction is very high. The mental distractions that are present in this
argument are factual distractions and semantic distractions. A factual
distraction occurs when someone focuses so intently on details that they miss
the main point. This is exactly what Crash’s intentions were when he was trying
to make fun on Nuke in front the rest of the baseball team. Nuke was so angry
at Crash for calling him names and insulting him that he could not hit Crash
with the baseball. The other mental distraction that occurs is semantic. A
semantic distraction occurs when someone over responds to an emotion-laden word
or concept. Crash also brings this upon Nuke when Crash says to Nuke “Your just
pissing away that million dollar body of yours with that five cent head.”
Another very common event in today’s society is stereotyping. The
stereotyping that occurred in this engagement was categorizing or when someone
looks at another person and they think they know what kind of person they are.
When Crash stands up to Nuke in the beginning of the scene, Nuke thinks that
Crash is just a washed up old man who could not hold his own in a fight. Nuke
also thinks that because of his size and weight advantage that he will
automatically win any fight. Another stereotyping of Nuke is that he believes
that Crash is saying these things because the has been drinking and when people
drink they cannot control themselves in a fight. Nuke’s beliefs made him asks
Crash if he wants to take it outside. More categorizing occurs when Crash first
sees Nuke, Crash is thinking that he is just a immature man who thinks that one
day he will be in the Majors. Crash also thinks that he should be respected by
Nuke just for thinking that he is older. Crash also believes that the is a
better man and that Annie would rather be with him than Crash. Just because he
thinks that he is older and more mature. Both of these men’s first impressions
of each other are very close.
Another problem with listening is ourselves. One of Nuke’s big problems
was experiential superiority. Which is when someone looks down on another
because their experiences with life is not as good or as extensive as his own.
When Crash stands up to Nuke, Nuke automatically thinks that he is better, since
he is younger and is going to be in the majors. At the same time Crash thinks
he is better since he is older and more mature. Besides experiential
superiority another problem with ourselves is defensiveness. This is a
characteristic of people who act threatened, as if they must defend what they
have said or done. Both characters display this feature while talking with
Annie. First, Crash displays this when he tries to defends his claim, when Nuke
comes up to Annie and asked her to dance right in front of Crash. Nuke then
displays this characteristic when Crash stands up saying that Annie is going to
dance with him. Nuke then retaliates by asking Crash if he wants to go outside
and fight about it. Nuke also experiences this feeling when he is being
pressured by Crash to throw the ball. Because of Crash, Nuke is feeling
pressure in front of all of his teammates and friends. Because of Nuke’s
attitude he could not refuse to go after Crash with vengeance.
Besides the men’s verbal actions there nonverbal communications are just
as important. During the entire conversation Nuke tried to show a
higher status. He was constantly either crossing his arms or standing with his
head and shoulders back. The was especially evident when they were outside of
the bar. Crash took on an entirely different approach to the situation. When
Crash came outside his kinesics were in a likely manner. Crash came out and
wanted to talk the situation over instead of fighting. Crash had his arms open,
tried to look Nuke in the eyes, and had a smile on his face; yet they all went
unnoticed. When Crash realized that he was not going to get out of the
confrontation, he decided that he would have Nuke throw a baseball at him since
he new Nuke could not do it. Another nonverbal action that is only seen by the
audience occurs when Nuke has left after asking Crash to step outside. At this
point Crash has a look on his face of wonder and fright. How is he going to get
out of this without getting killed. The nonverbal communication between the two
men start the entire conflict, not only in this one sequence, but throughout the
Another nonverbal communication that could be seen in both characters
was nervousness. When Nuke told Crash that to come outside, nervousness could
instantly be seen in his face. Crash was both nervous and scared. He was
wondering how is he going to survive this situation without having to fight Nuke.
Nuke started to become nervous when Crash started to make fun of him and call
him names. Since Nuke was standing outside by all of his friends he had to hold
up his reputation as a bad guy.
One small hand shake that took place after Crash punched Nuke had a lot
of meaning. First, Crash introduced himself and changed the entire
meaning of the confrontation. Nuke just believed that he was some guy that
wanted Annie, but in the end, he realized who Crash was and what he stood for.
After Crash introduced himself he tells Nuke that this is his first lesson
“Don’t think, you’ll only hurt the tea.” Nuke respects the way that he went
about getting his point across. He could of either been beat up very badly or
he could of been killed by the baseball.
When Crash stands up and grabs Nuke’s arm he is trying to defend his
asking of Annie to dance and instantly invades Nukes space. Nuke’s attitude
towards this is not to back down, but to stay where he is and to fight about it.
When Crash grabs Nuke’s arm he is also using touch to get his message across.
By grabbing the arm Crash instantly places more emphases on his words.
Not only were there misunderstandings in this conversation, but if they
had not happened the argument never would have taken place. The first
misunderstanding was that Nuke did not know that Crash was his new teammate and
catcher. Another misunderstanding was that they both did not know that Annie
had already choose which man she was going to take under her arm for the season.
The misunderstandings that occurred in this confrontation, tells us that
one main problem is men and the way that they act towards each other. Also, if
humans would try to communicate instead of fighting changes could be make.