Excellent write-up and review!I bought it on iTunes. I applaud the effort, but ultimately it's trying to do two things at once and fails to do either of them really well. Stu Stone appears well-intentioned, but this film dwells so long on the "I thought I'd be rich on junk wax" messaging that it glosses over the fact that many people did get rich during the baseball card boom and the hobby is still alive and thriving in many environments. Stu reminisces about 1986 Donruss and how he busted 1000 packs and failed to pull a single Canseco rookie, but then reminds the audience over and over again that it isn't worth anything anyway. My response? What do you mean it's not worth anything? By your own admission baseball cards bring you back to the best times of your life, to the childhood and the family with whom you desperately wish to reconnect, and a booming family business. Stu spends the entire movie only recognizing value in terms of dollars and cents, and he misses the very point he was trying to make. A tender moment when he clearly uses baseball cards as catharsis and re-connection is relegated to a brief clip during the end credits, and the climax briefly shows how the hobby brought people together - and still brings people together - before Stu destroys this point for the sake on an end scene with a sense of finality.
A movie about baseball cards and broken families could not be tailored closer to me unless I wrote and starred in it myself, and I'm glad I bought it on iTunes and supported a Canadian documentary film-maker and former baseball card enthusiast. That said, it was such a missed opportunity, since the hobby is the one thread running through so many of the closest relationships in Stu's life - his mother, his sister, and his best friends (who largely make up the film-making team) - but all he sees are his broken dreams of getting rich from the stacks of unopened boxes in his mother's condo. I feel bad for Stu in one sense, since I feel like he ignored how much he has to be grateful for, but I have no sympathy for collectors who stashed cases of junk wax, changing the hobby from a youth-driven novelty to investment-style business, only to find their hoards are barely worth the cardboard they are printed on. When you make it a business you accept the risk that comes with it. If the hobby was responsible for enriching the most important relationships in your life you'd think you could look beyond monetary value and I suspect Stu does have an appreciation for baseball cards that goes deeper than that, it just wasn't captured very well in his story. Jack of All Trades will seem like a must-see for any baseball card collector, but after you watch it you'll feel like you've been shorted a hit.