THE PERFECT GAME
Terrific Climax, But Incomplete and Politically Correct
Starring: Clifton Collins, Jr., Cheech
Marin, Emilie de Ravin, Jake
T. Austin, Lou Gossett, Jr.,
Bruce McGill, Patricia
Manterola, Moises Arias, and
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: IndustryWorks Pictures
Director: William Dear
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Mark W. Koch, Daniel de Liege,
David Salzberg, Christian
Tureaud, W. William Winokur,
and Michael O. Gallant
Writer: W. William Winokur
Address Comments To:Evan Tylor, President
325 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V5Y 1M2
Phone: (604) 876-0547; Fax: (604) 876-0541
In the late 1950s, Cesar Faz, a Mexican immigrant, is a towel boy for the St. Louis Cardinals. Cesar wants a shot at being a coach. When he’s rebuffed, he heads back to Monterrey, Mexico. He works at a steel plant there and tries to drink away his anger for being treated like an unwanted Mexican in America.
Meanwhile, the local priest, Padre Esteban, is trying to find out how to give the children in this impoverished town some hope. He hits upon the idea, while listening to an American baseball game, of having them play baseball.
As an answer to prayer, one young boy, Angel, finds a real baseball outside the church. He tells the Padre that God gave him a baseball, so God can give him a baseball bat because God is all powerful and can do anything. While practicing his throwing, Angel wakes Cesar up from his drunken siesta. The Padre and Angel rope Cesar into forming a baseball team. They have four weeks to become a Little League franchise. Prayers are answered, miracles happen, they defeat the Mexico City team and get to go to America. There, they start defeating each American team on their way to the championship.
THE PERFECT GAME follows the path of many sports movies but fails to keep in mind that you need jeopardy and danger to hold the audience’s attention. So, some of the movie comes off as corny, some as phony, some as politically correct. By the end of the movie, however, everything comes together in a terrific climax.
Director William Deere does a good job of directing the boys. Cheech Marin plays a terrific priest. Clifton Collins, however, does not show a full range of talent and fails to give life to Cesar, who is the most important person in the movie.
Faith in the movie is very strong. Prayers are made in the name of Jesus. Prayers are miraculously answered. When the Padre has to return to Mexico because of a visa problem, a strong black Baptist preacher becomes the team’s spiritual advisor. Eventually, even the Doubting Thomas comes to faith.
Although the faith is so strong, there are some troubling moral moments. Angel walks out on his father, although they’re eventually reconciled. Cesar lies to the team. One of his lies is rebuked, but another is never addressed. Equality of all people is stressed, but often at the expense of showing all white Little League teams, white policemen, and white newspaper editors as being bigoted, mean-spirited racists. The politically correct anti-white race card is played in the first scene and continued throughout the movie. There are other movies dealing with the same issues, like PRIDE and GLORY ROAD, which much more breadth, depth and less racism. There are also several scenes that seem to have politically correct anti-capitalist and anti-American themes.
Thus, THE PERFECT GAME is a mixed bag. The movie’s Christian worldview and ending are inspiring, but there are holes in the acting and the movie’s politically correct, “social gospel” morality.
THE PERFECT GAME is corny up until the end, which hits the emotional ball out of the park. Since audiences are most moved by endings, most people will like this movie. Faith in the movie is very strong. Prayers in the name of Jesus are miraculously answered. Although the faith is so strong, there are some troubling moral moments, including lying and politically correct elements about race and that show capitalism and the United States in an unfair, bad light.