STILL, WE BELIEVE – THE BOSTON RED SOX MOVIE, now on DVD, is not so much a documentary about the baseball team. It’s about the long suffering Boston Red Sox fans in the grandstands and in front of their TV sets, who stoically endure loss after loss. That is precisely what transforms this otherwise generic franchise documentary into a more revealing and heart warming anatomy of a true flesh and blood baseball fan, Red Sox fan.
Shot in chronological order from the first game of the 2003 season, to the fateful playoff encounter against the New York Yankees, the movie presents the deepest held feelings of eight lifelong fans from various walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. The movie even includes a bar owner transplanted to California who still eats, drinks and breathes Red Sox in his every waking moment. The DVD also follows the team, however, during the season, and includes some spontaneous comments by players, front office honchos and the reticent general manager. Although the movie could have generated more excitement, is a movie that anyone can understand and appreciate, even those who are not Red Sox fans, Yankee fans not included.
(B, L, A) Light moral worldview celebrating the game of baseball and its fans; a few light obscenities and vulgarities; alcohol use; and, nothing else objectionable.
Until last year, the last time the Boston Red Sox won a World Series was 1918. Living in the shadow of the legendary New York Yankees while suffering the paralyzing “curse of the Bambino” has taken its toll on over generations of die hard Red Sox fans.
STILL, WE BELIEVE – THE BOSTON RED SOX MOVIE is not so much about the baseball team, however, as these long suffering fans in the grandstands and in front of their TV sets who stoically endure clutch loss after clutch loss. That is precisely what transforms this otherwise generic franchise documentary into a more revealing and heart warming anatomy of a true flesh and blood baseball fan, Red Sox fan, or otherwise.
Shot in chronological order from the first game of the 2003 season, to the fateful playoff encounter against the New York Yankees, the movie presents the deepest held feelings of eight lifelong fans from various walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, even including a bar owner transplanted to California who still eats, drinks and breathes Red Sox in his every waking moment. On the other hand, it was also smart not to make the entire movie solely about the fans, but to create a fitting background tapestry by advancing the action with the actual progression of the play season depicting the suspected cursed team’s nail biting ups and downs, and including spontaneous comments by such players as Kevin Millar and Nomar Garciaparra, various camera shy front office honchos, and the reticent “wiz kid”, General Manager Theo Epstein.
Even so, the focus always reverts back to those faithful fans. Among them are: Paul “Angry Bill” Constine, a regular caller to talk radio playing endless psychological games with himself to avoid getting excited, while desperately wanting his team to come up a winner; the bubbly and seemingly inseparable friends Jessamy and Erin who call themselves “professional fans”; Steve Craven, a fireman with Boston Ladder 37 who watches the games in his easy chair at the station without missing an at bat as he races back and forth to various disasters around Bean town; and, Dan Cummings, the young paraplegic who damaged his spinal chord in a diving accident, but who is as energized about the Sox finally winning the Series as his firm belief in walking again some day.
Unfortunately, the movie is not without a few production elements of dubious value either, such as the often used distracting partition of the screen from one half to multiple blocks imitating magazine comics, to the fast motion establishing shot of the stadium at the beginning of each season game resulting in a much too symmetrical splitting of the story. The worst offense in this type of a sports documentary, perhaps, had to be its failure to generate more than a moderate level of energy. Setting all that aside, STILL, WE BELIEVE is a movie that anyone can understand and appreciate. For that to happen, it is definitely not required to be a Boston Red Sox fan to enjoy this movie. Just being a human being was enough.
Included in the DVD release are scenes from the movie’s world premiere featuring the eight resilient, and in an unexpected way, very real and charming Boston fans. One can only wish that we could have been with them to share in the full range of their emotions when the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004.
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