Jack Of All Trades is a documentary that will bring a wave of nostalgia to those who collected baseball cards while they were growing up. Aside from that, this film is also about a man’s search for his missing father.
Co-directed by Stu Stone and Harv Glazer, the question that Stone decides to explore is “whatever happened to baseball cards.” It’s a very good question to ask. Some malls used to have card shows all the time but they don’t hold them as often as they used to, if even at all.
This is a documentary film that takes its viewers on a time machine to learn about the history of some of the most famous baseball cards. Using an investigative journalism approach, they give us the story behind the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card and the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card. Stone and Glazer take us to card shows and beyond. It becomes a family affair with Stu’s sister, Karie, joining in. In attending card shows, there’s nothing more disappointing than finding out that your collection isn’t worth what you thought.
This is a film that will appeal mainly to baseball fans but mostly to those of us, including myself, who awaited the release days of the newest series of Topps, Bowman, Upper Deck, Donruss, Fleer, Score, etc. The list goes on and on because the baseball card market got over-saturated in the early 2000s. It reached a point in which only Topps was one of the last companies standing in the card market.
Stone’s dad, Jack, used to run Sluggers. This was before his parents divorced and their relationship became estranged. For Stu, it’s more or less a mission to learn why his dad left rather than to offer whatever insight he can when it comes to baseball cards. It’s because of this that Jack of All Trades feels like there’s two films here–the baseball card documentary and the journey to find his dad. This isn’t entirely a bad thing as the reunion adds an emotional punch to a nostalgic film.
What makes the film so fascinating is that Stone and Glazer both have their own ideas for what the film should be. Most directors would probably leave some of that commentary out of the film but they chose to leave it in the final cut. Whether or not it’s the best decision, it gives viewers insight into their creative differences as filmmakers.
While Jack of All Trades does offer a family reunion, it’s the wave of nostalgia that’s going to make former collectors want to collect again.