It only takes one dream to keep yourself motivated. I have always used my dreams to push me forward, no matter what obstacles were put before me. Without my dreams I feel I would no longer learn and grow as a human being. In this touching movie you will see what some people go through to reach their ultimate dream. Newcomer Algenis Perez Soto played Miguel “Sugar” Santos, a 19 year old baseball player from the Dominican Republic. His dream was to be a major league baseball player in the United States. When Sugar was signed by Kansas City, his opportunity would begin with their class A team based in the small community of Bridgetown Iowa. Baseball loving Helen and Earl Higgins, played by Anna Whitney (The Fugitive, While You Were Sleeping) and Richard Bull (Normal, Witless Protection) took Sugar into their home, to help him get acclimated to American life and customs. Despite not being a big fan of baseball, this movie completely had my attention as it showed Sugar’s struggles. Think about it, moving to a different country where you are unfamiliar with the language, being put through grueling practice drills knowing full well there was always someone directly behind ready to replace you; I had no idea how much pressure was being placed on these future major league baseball players. The entire movie played like a documentary, making the story more powerful. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who made the brilliant movie Half Nelson, wrote and directed this fascinating film. I am in awe of individuals who display such determination to reach their dreams. From watching this movie I now feel I have gained strength in making my dreams a reality. Some scenes in Spanish with English subtitles.
3 stars — DVD
What is it about Iowa that conjures up images of decent, non-judgemental, honest people in me? Any encounters I have had with people or businesses in Iowa have always been positive. This is why I enjoyed the simple story based on true events, in this heartwarming film. The story took place in Norway, Iowa; the year was 1991. Though I could never see myself living in a small town, the depiction of a simpler time and place was soothing to me. Ken Stock, played by Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Forever Strong) came on board to be the assistant baseball coach to Coach Jim Van Scoyoc, played by Powers Boothe (The Avengers, Sin City). All the townspeople were behind the high school’s baseball team as Coach Van Scoyoc had led the team to 19 consecutive state championships. I am not a big fan of team sports, but I was won over by this baseball team. Prior to the new season, the high school was informed they were to be closed down and merged into a bigger high school. What would happen to the baseball team? In a straightforward style, this movie had a pureness to it; if you will a down home spirit that I enjoyed watching. Granted, it had predictable elements such as a father/son conflict and an adversary/love interest; but, it was okay due to this being a true story. I am sure some scenes were embellished for dramatic effect. All that was missing for me was a bag of peanuts and a Pepsi.
2 2/3 stars — DVD