Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Apr 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Strikeout

film_PERFECTGAMESappy filmmaking bobbles great story in 'Perfect Game'
A wonderful true story lurks inside the family-friendly baseball movie, The Perfect Game. In 1957, a motley group of street kids from a working-class industrial area of Monterrey, Mexico, not only shaped themselves into a baseball team with the heart and chutzpah to earn official Little League franchise status, they also became the first foreign team to advance all the way to the top in the Little League World Series across the border.

The facts of the story ought to be foolproof: plucky underdogs overcome financial and physical hardships (on average, these kids were 35 pounds lighter and six inches shorter than their U.S. counterparts), blatant racial prejudice, and impossible odds—to show their Yankee opponents how America's Pastime is played. But the facts of the story aren't enough for writer W. William Winokur (adapting the script from his non-fiction book) or director William Dear, who leave no shameless cliché, nor sentimentalized Hallmark Moment unexploited in their quest to turn this interesting material into a treacly greeting card.

Cut from the majors before he can advance beyond towel boy status for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cesar (Clifton Collins Jr.) returns to Monterrey to work in an iron foundry, drink and sulk, until spunky little Angel Macias (Jake T. Austin) pesters him into coaching their makeshift sandlot team. Cheech Marin plays the twinkly, baseball-crazy, homily-spouting local priest, discussing God and miracles without a trace of irony.

All the young actors playing the Mexican teammates are charming, but their road to the Series is entirely populated by stereotypes: snooty rich kids, ignorant rednecks, noble Negroes, a disillusioned father determined to spoil his son's dream, a sassy cub reporter (Emilie de Ravin) covering the story. Plot points ring alarmingly false, from an extraneous relationship between Cesar and a local woman (they scarcely even have a conversation, yet we're supposed to care about the progress of their fledgling romance), to the clumsy device by which all the Mexicans speak Spanish-accented English among themselves. This is OK until they get to the U.S., when Anglos and Latinos speaking the same language have to pretend they don't understand each other. (In one scene, Cesar actually says, "(The kids) don’t speak English.")

film_perfect_gameToo bad the film is such an unimaginative disservice to such a great story. Still, its fundamental message about tolerance, sportsmanship, and dreams might be appreciated by very young children who are hearing it for the first time.

THE PERFECT GAME ★★(out of four)

With Clifton Collins Jr., Cheech Marin, Jake T. Austin, and Emilie de Ravin. Written by W. William Winokur. Directed by William Dear.

An IndustryWorks Pictures release. Rated PG. 113 minutes.

Watch movie trailer >>>

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise