I’ve just about had it with directors who use the mythic mode as an alibi for unshaded characterizations, simpleminded plotting, and swells of artificial emotionality. Barry Levinson’s 1984 film preserves the Arthurian imagery of Bernard Malamud’s baseball novel while stripping away all its darkness and irony; what’s left is a sappy tale of youthful purity (Robert Redford, way too old for this bushy-tail stuff) beset by evil, carnal women (Barbara Hershey, Kim Basinger) who make his bat droop. Salvation arrives in the figure of sexless (and pompous) Glenn Close. A moment or two between Richard Farnsworth and Wilford Brimley recall the verbal skills of Levinson’s Diner; the rest of the film is bloatedly “visual”: blinding backlighting, grandiose slow motion, overstudied montage. With Robert Duvall, Robert Prosky, and Darren McGavin. PG, 134 min.