Perfect Game, The
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +4

Main actors: Clifton Collins, Jr., Cheech Marin, Jake T. Austin, Emilie de Ravin, Patricia Manterola. Director: William Dear

FILM SYNOPSIS: This true story tells the trials and tribulations of Cesar (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and his rag-tag little league baseball team that literally rises out of the slums of Monterrey, Mexico, to win the 1957 Little League World Series. Cesar’s life is going nowhere until he returns to Monterrey as a homeless bum. Angel (Jake T. Austin) and his friends’ only recreation is pretending they are baseball players, using sticks and balls of string. Angel learns Cesar used to work for one of the major leagues and pesters him to coach a team of ragamuffins. Their ups and downs are fun and funny, but also at times heart-wrenching.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Hope is a four-letter word in this poor neighborhood. Poverty reigns from generation to generation. These kids had never seen grass until their first trip to McAllen, Texas, where they were laughed at for rolling around in a small patch of grass. The glue that holds the team and coach together is also their biggest fan: their priest, Padre Estaban (Cheech Marin). He travels with the team, offering comfort and support.

The amazing boys both learn and teach. They learn about racial prejudice, teamwork and hope. They teach compassion when they see a single black boy sitting alone, not allowed to join his own team members. The Monterrey boys one by one go join him and share their meal with him with no prompting from Padre or Coach. Cesar experiences the kind of love that can only come from God. His bitterness slowly gives way to the joy of giving.

As the Monterrey team begins to win the attention of the media, they also attract fans in each town who want to help them. One preacher’s wife takes their uniforms home to wash them; a church congregation empties their pockets to help with travel expenses. Win, win everywhere that has nothing to do with home runs.

There is no sex, violence or foul language, except for some hurtful racial slurs which were very typical of the fifties. Some alcohol drinking is implied by empty whiskey bottles and a drunk Cesar in one scene.

The film is based on a book by W. William Winoker, who also wrote the screenplay. The Perfect Game is a perfect film for families and sports fans.

(Editor’s Note: Mary Draughon, a former reviewer for Preview, has kindly offered to assist me with reviews. Her professional abilities and helpful heart are most appreciated.)

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: IndustryWorks Pictures

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: There was at least one “oh my God” expressed
Violence: None, but a ball player’s badly cut foot shown briefly
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: No drinking shown but implied by empty whiskey bottles and drunk coach in one scene
Other: Strong positive messages about respecting others, teamwork, discipline, hard work, compassion and above all, “love your neighbor as yourself”
Running Time: 118 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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