Final Season, The
PG
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +3

Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cooke, Michael Angarano, Tom Arnold. Directed by David Mickey Evans.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Directed by David Mickey Evans (The Sandlot), The Final Season is based on the true the story of a small-town baseball team facing insurmountable odds. Tradition in Norway, Iowa (pop. 586) can be summed up in one word: baseball. From father to son, generation to generation, this high school David exists to defeat Goliaths ten times its size. As Coach Jim Van Scoyoc (Powers Boothe) leads the team to its 19th State title, it seems following it with a 20th is a foregone conclusion. The unexpected strikes when bureaucracy intercedes, merging the town with another. Petty jealousies and political designs conspire to rob Norway of its heritage and a 20th championship. Making matters worse, legendary coach Van Scoyoc is fired and replaced with a one-season assistant coach, Kent Stock (Sean Astin) a move that seems to guarantee the teams failure. The Final Season is a film about the sudden nature of change, the identity of a small town and the strength that brings out the best when we need it most.

PREVIEW REVIEW: By now you know my feelings about sports movies. Its a limited genre, with each film seemingly containing the same themes about underdogs and team effort and finding yourself, etc. But once in a while a visionary brings such style and finesse to a sports film that you cant help but root for the team during the final game. Director David Mickey Evans has achieved this with The Final Season. Solid performances, an involving true story, and well-paced direction place this baseball film up there with The Rookie, Pastime, Field of Dreams and a few others that touch something fundamental within viewers.

Heres an example of director Evanss ability. Keep in mind, we are talking about baseball, a sport renowned for its moments of slowness, where there seems little to do but watch the players scratch and spit. But Evans doesnt give us a chance to get bored. He uses every technical and editing trick known to filmmakers in order to keep the game footage engrossing and energized. He not only has a heart for the game of baseball, but an ear for dialogue and an eye for detail when it comes to filming such stories. The filmmaker also manages to relay the nostalgic effect high school sports has on the psyche of a small Midwest community. In an era where social change happens by the second, Evans helps us reconnect with values we share with each generation. As Coach Jim Van Scoyoc says in the film, It's the only game on Earth where the object is to get home.

Two nights after I saw this film, I found myself in a very small Kansas community at a Friday night high school football game. My brothers son was playing and I attended, not as a sports enthusiast, but wanting to support my nephew. Well, the night couldnt have been more perfect. Perhaps the best weather Ive experienced in Kansas. Absolutely perfect. We were surrounded by committed Friday night attendees in a community where sports, be it baseball, football, or soccer, is all. And to top off the evening, every so often a distant train could be heard passing on its melancholy way. I sat there thinking, Ive seen this in the movies a dozen times. And I can tell you, the producers of The Final Season got it right.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Yari Film Group

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Contains the term BS three or four times, the s-word four or five times and several minor expletives.
Profanity: None
Violence: Team members gang up on a betraying member of the team, he gets punched, but things get worked out; an elderly man has a heart attack, but survives.
Sexual Intercourse: A kiss suggests an intimate relationship between the new coach and a lady.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: A rebellious teen attempts to smoke, but is told not to by both a parent and his team members.
Other: None
Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Family

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