The Perfect Game (Blu-ray)
In 1957, a rag-tag band of street kids from Monterrey, Mexico and a washed up coach made baseball history. Crossing the U.S border 10 miles by foot just to compete in the Little League World Series, they were expected to turn right back around after losing the first game. However, they did not lose that game and continued to defy all the odds that were stacked against them in a true David and Goliath story.
I wish I could say I liked THE PERFECT GAME. It’s a nice clean film that ideally would be good for all ages. I enjoy getting behind a decent film that is inspirational, encouraging faith and supporting the underdog. Despite the positive themes and the amazing story, unfortunately the quality of the story telling is too unsuitable for me to recommend. I expect more from HBO Films who has continued to bring us great pictures like JOHN ADAMS, TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, WIT and 61*.
Based on a true story during a time where racism and discrimination were still very prominent, I found the dealing of this human offense, quite frankly, offensive. The problem was glossed over making nearly every character inhumane as they laughed and hated on our heroes. Each time the camera focused on the coach rather than kids, which was a major flaw. Unlike another kid friendly baseball film in THE SANDLOT, we never get to know the kids individually well enough to really pull for them. The kids are where the heart of the story lies but the focus seemed to solely be placed upon the coach. Clifton Collins Jr. does a fine job as coach Cesar but his character is tough to get behind. Cheech Marin turns in a nice performance as the town priest who helps the team along their path. The rest of the adult cast including John Cothran Jr., Emilie de Ravin, Bruce McGill, David Koechner, Carlos Gómez and Louis Gossett Jr. all do fair jobs, it’s a shame the script had them reading such mundane and trite dialog.
The film is very formulaic putting up one obstacle here as it realizes it’s time for a touch of humor there. Good films manage to do this effortlessly with reason for characters and actions to get from point A to point B. However, THE PERFECT GAME forces these issues without a coherent transition to thread the actions. Cesar making the kids run is meant to be funny but comes off as a cheap gag. The people of Texas are meant to reflect the racist views of the time but they all come off as uneducated hillbillies.
Again, with lack of extremely clean and positive films out there, I feel compelled to support THE PERFECT GAME. I can appreciate the inspirational themes and kid friendly vibe but it’s just unfortunate that the film’s story is so poorly told.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.40:1) From the desert of Mexico to the professional baseball fields the picture captures everything beautifully.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is superb capturing all dialogue and the crack of the bats evenly.
Audio Commentary by Director William Dear: The audio recording isn’t the best, as if director William Dear is talking from a cave. He is gives a very technical perspective of the film praising everyone who passionately wanted the film to be made.
The Perfect Game: Behind the Plate (13:00): Producer Michael Gallant talks about everyone involved from the cast and crew and how their amazing contribution was invaluable to the film.
Soundbite (25:36): A “play all” feature is available to listen (although the audio is poor) to each of these nine people talk a little about the film including: Clifton Collins, Jr. Cheech Marin, Jake T. Ausin, Jansen Panettiere, Ryan Ochoa, Emilie De Ravin, William Dear, David Salzberg, and Christian Turead.
When You See Forever Music Montage (4:33): This is the music video of the main song used in the film showing a montage of clips. Both Spanish and English versions are available. Written by Bill Conti, it’s a pretty inspiration song.
Why Little League Rules (:51) This is basically a commercial promoting little league baseball for boys, girls and merchandise