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Friday, April 16, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW
The Perfect Game
In '57 These Little Leaguers Were Giants Among Men


Clifton Collins Jr. as Cesar Faz and two younger members of the cast in William Dear's "The Perfect Game", which opened today across the U.S. and Canada.  
Prelude Pictures

By Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW 
Friday, April 16, 2010

The Monterrey Industrials.  If you've never heard of them or their story, then "The Perfect Game" is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with these legendary Little Leaguers.  Released today across the U.S. and Canada, just a day after the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the barrier of racism in America's major leagues of baseball, William Dear's film more than adequately tells this little-known story in American sports history.

It was 1957 and the Industrials were scrapping their way to the top of Little League baseball in Mexico and on to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where they became Little League World Champions, thanks to the game pitched perfectly by Angel Macias.  He allowed no hits, runs, walks or errors.  Which means no one from the opposing team ever reached first base in any of the nine innings in which they batted.  It is a feat that hasn't ever been duplicated in Little League World Series history.

While W. William Winokur scripts this story well enough, the film is tarnished by bad editing, which isn't difficult to discern while watching "The Perfect Game", which had its share of production nightmares.  It isn't difficult to tell what is shot on a studio lot and what isn't.  Even though some of the background atmospherics are distracting, the heart of a true story about love, perseverance, courage and victory in the face of racism, poverty and language barriers is otherwise undiluted.

The actors central to this warm, triumphant sports drama rise to its grand occasion, with Clifton Collins Jr. leading the way as Cesar Faz, the demanding coach who shapes the team and keeps them disciplined.  Cheech Marin has a small but valuable role as Padre Esteban, a composite of the real Mexican priest who guided the team and had a great sense of humor doing so.  Jake T. Austin displays charisma and intelligence in this enjoyable and entertaining David-vs. Goliath sports story.

"The Perfect Game" is for children to enjoy and cherish, but adults will be won over by its appeal and sensibilities as well.

With: Patricia Manterola, Louis Gossett Jr., David Koechner, Emilie De Ravin, Bruce McGill, Jansen Panettiere, Ryan Ochoa, Moises Arias.


"The Perfect Game" is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association Of America for thematic elements.  The film's running time is one hour and 53 minutes.


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Read more movie reviews and stories from Omar here.

Read Omar's "Far-Flung Correspondent" reports for America's pre-eminent Film Critic Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times - here



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