The Perfect Game

Last updated
The Game
Perfect game.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Dear
Written byW. William Winokur
Produced byDavid Salzberg
Mark W Koch
Christian Tureaud
Jason French
Starring Clifton Collins Jr.
Cheech Marin
Moises Arias
Jake T. Austin
Ryan Ochoa
Carlos Padilla
Jansen Panettiere
Carlos Gómez
Emilie de Ravin
CinematographyBryan F. Greenberg
Edited byChris Conlee
Music by Bill Conti
Production
companies
IndustryWorks Pictures
HighRoad Entertainment
Prelude Pictures
Lone Runner Entertainment
Independent Producers Alliance
Distributed by Lionsgate
Image Entertainment
Release date
  • March 21, 2009 (2009-03-21)(Guadalajara)
  • April 16, 2010 (2010-04-16)(US)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$3,878,993

The Perfect Game is a 2009 American drama film directed by William Dear, based on the 2008 book of the same name written by W. William Winokur. [1] The film is based on the events leading to the 1957 Little League World Series, which was won by the first team from outside the United States, the Industrial Little League of Monterrey, Mexico, who defeated the heavily favored U.S. team. [2] Mexican pitcher Ángel Macías threw the first, and so far only, perfect game in championship game history.

Contents

Plot

César Faz (Clifton Collins Jr.), moves to Monterrey, Mexico, after he is let go by the St. Louis Cardinals from his job as a clubhouse attendant. There he meets local children being led by Padre Esteban (Cheech Marin), enjoying baseball; he takes pitcher Ángel Macías (Jake T. Austin), under his wing and brags about his own pitching skills and how he used to coach the Cardinals. Ángel convinces César to help recruit and coach Monterrey's first-ever Little League team. With César's skills and Padre Esteban's support, the boys hone themselves into a competitive team worthy of international competition. At the final game of the World Series of Little League, Monterrey defeated the team of West La Mesa, California, 4–0. Enrique Suárez (Jansen Panettiere), hit a grand slam home run, and Ángel Macías pitched a perfect game, a feat that has not since been repeated in Little League World Series history.

When the team arrives in the United States, they are met with racism, a language barrier, and visa troubles. Though the underdogs, the team scores a series of victories that endear them to the media, and new fans. They befriend a sports reporter, Frankie (Emilie de Ravin), and the groundskeeper, Cool Papa Bell (Louis Gossett Jr.), who then assist the boys in reaching the final game.

Cast

Actor Jake T. Austin in 2008 Jake T. Austin 2008.jpg
Actor Jake T. Austin in 2008

Background

The film is based on a true story about a group of boys from Monterrey, Mexico, who became the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series in 1957. Their team was Industriales de Monterrey, nicknamed "Los pequeños gigantes" (The little giants). Before traveling to the United States, the Little League team of the Industriales de Monterrey Baseball Club, played two seasons on the local 4 team Little League circuit before qualifying, as the second Little League team coming from outside of the United States and Canada; they participated in the southern area regional tournaments, which qualified them for the Little League World Series, held every August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Industriales won all qualifying tournaments, to many rather unexpectedly, and advanced to the Little League World Series as the first Mexican team. There, they made it to the finals and defeated the highly favored team from La Mesa, California by a score of 4–0. The pitcher from Monterrey, Angel Macías, threw the first and only perfect game in championship history. [3] The Industriales de Monterrey little league team was so dominant that year, that they were able to repeat their success in the following year in the 1958 Little League World Series.

The film scenes in Monterrey, which is the leading industrial center, one of the largest Mexican cities for over 100 years and a major center for science and research in Mexico, depicted the city as a two-burro village where the children played ball in the dirt choked streets with pigs and chickens serving as bases. The border between Mexico and Texas was portrayed as an out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere border crossing along a dirt road, instead of a bridge border-crossing over the Rio Grande. The digital work to recreate the separate looks for the United States and Monterrey in 1957 was done by Post Logic Studios. [4]

Reception

The film has received mixed reviews. Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times said he felt that "the film did a nice job of telling the story of the surprise upset when a youth ball team from Monterrey, Mexico, won the 1957 Little League World Series." He also commented that, "although the story seems like a fable, it reflected true events." He further expressed concern over Lionsgate's suspending the original release date. [5] Ben Apatoff of MLB.com felt that the film was a strong family movie that appeals to baseball history buffs or any person who could relate to a child in love with the game. [1] Roger Ebert wrote: "You sort of know how these underdog sports movies turn out. Doesn't matter. The Perfect Game so expertly uses the charisma and personalities of the actors, especially the young ones, that it's thrilling anyway." [6]

A. O. Scott of At the Movies said, "[From] the second minute of the movie I knew every single thing that was going to happen and there was not a single surprise." [7] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The movie feels fraudulent, whether it's sticking to the historical record or going its own way with the customary composites and revisions and fabrications." [8] The film ranking website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 57% of critics have given The Perfect Game positive reviews, based upon a sample of 44. [9]

Release

The film screened at the 2009 Guadalajara International Film Festival, [10] with Eva Longoria invited to the preview. [11] Louis Gossett Jr. was also in attendance for the premiere. [12] The film was originally to be released in theaters on August 8, 2008, but it was bumped from that date, [5] which Lionsgate said was due to marketing monies another party pledged but did not deliver. [13]

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References

  1. 1 2 Apatoff, Ben (July 17, 2009). "Little Leaguers make waves". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  2. Morrison, Jim (April 6, 2010). "The Little League World Series' Only Perfect Game". Smithsonian Institution . Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. Marilyn Beck, Stacy Jenel Smith (August 6, 2008). "Clifton Collins Jr. on "The Perfect Game"". The National Ledger. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  4. "Post Logic Studios Completes Digital Intermediate and VFX Work for The Perfect Game". postproductionbuyersguide.com. Post Production. July 9, 2008. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  5. 1 2 Goldstein, Patrick (July 24, 2008). "Lionsgate's 'Perfect Game': Bumped to season's end?". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  6. Ebert, Robert. suntimes.com, "The Perfect Game". Accessed 26 April 2010.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2009-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Phillips, Michael (April 15, 2010). "'Perfect Game': Real-life baseball fable turns into an easy out". Chicago Tribune.
  9. "The Perfect Game - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes . IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  10. Staff (March 20, 2009). "Film Festival widens its reach". Guadalajara Reporter. pp. paragraph 14. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  11. "Eva Longoria absolument divine... pour son retour au pays". wabayn.com (in French). March 23, 2009. pp. paragraph 2. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  12. "Mr. Gossett attends the Guadalajara Film Festival". louisgossett.com. March 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  13. Jorn, John (August 14, 2008). "Lionsgate's novel plan of attack: Blitz 'em". The Los Angeles Times. pp. paragraph 11. Retrieved 2009-07-19.

Further reading