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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was at Tribeca the weekend of 4-28 & 4-29-07 and saw The Final Season
the first night. A large number of the audience were from Norway, Iowa,
some appearing in the movie as extras so during the opening scenes,
they were cheering not only the movie but themselves and their town as
well. It was quite touching to see.
The Final Season is the true story of the 1991 Norway High School baseball team's attempt to win a 20th consecutive state title before their school merged with a larger district nearby. Sean Astin in the lead role plays Kent Stock, the head coach for this final season of play after the previous head coach had been removed. *Mild Spoiler* The early part of the movie sets up the excellence of the previous team so after the new coach takes over, things are different, the kids become discouraged and challenge him, forcing Sean (Stock) to quite literally step up to the plate. (Sean speaks about this scene at the Q & A after-wards) This is an upbeat, feel-good sort of movie and at times I found myself on the edge of my seat and at the ending I applauded enthusiastically with the rest of the audience.
I liked all the performances of the actors; Tom Arnold and Powers Boothe were both good. I think Michael Angarano who played the part of Mitch Akers a young troubled player stole every scene he was in; he was outstanding! Sean's role is under-stated but believable as the coach and I can envision him in this role in real life (with his daughters). He has a couple of too brief love scenes with Rachel Leigh Cook.
What I find tired and Cliché' about all this is the critics response. Though not necessarily an Oscar film, the movie is enjoyable and though obviously some of the story was embellished, the things that they would say are cliché' actually happened. The reviewer posted in the IMDb page calls it a rub in Iowa's face. As an Iowan, I didn't feel that way. It does however point out the idiocy of allowing politicians be in control of education and schools, they always seem to think Money = good education, sports is a big part of the education process and obviously this was not a good choice for a town that loves its baseball. Sorry but I don't share the opinion that this pleads the death of underdog films. It points out an Amazing accomplishment, against all the odds and that is exactly the attraction of underdog films... Unfortunately it seems that there was a lack of good planning on the promoting/advertising of the film.
I just saw it tonight at a sneak preview in Baltimore and it was great. I borrowed my best friend's husband as my date since he's into baseball and she's not. I expected it to be okay but schmaltzy and was pleasantly surprised. It never got too hokey, the humor was great and every character "popped" from the bald reporter (Larry Miller) to the bat boy who got laughs every time just by nodding his head. The grandparents were especially cute the way they picked on each other. I think my favorite part was seeing the pastor with a "doo rag" on his head as a disguise. The performances were uniformly excellent. Sean Astin was great as usual and Michael Angarano has really grown into quite the performer. Highly recommended.
The story of a small town high school baseball team in the school's
last year. The school, against the wishes of the towns people will be
closed and the students transferred to another town's larger school.
Sean Austin looking and acting like Vic Morrow has to pull together the
depressed, fragmented team. The whole cast contributes. The focus is on
the baseball team but it gives a nice picture of life in a small
farming community. Tom Arnold is really effective in a small role. This
shows what can be done with a small budget and no special effects. I
will definitely buy this when it comes out on DVD.
The movie has the climax in the big state championship game. The fact that a town with 500+ people could have a high school state champion baseball team once is something but this one had 19. The opposing teams pitcher was unbeaten in the regular season. The person playing the pitcher was excellent. He just had one line but the expressions and body language was very effective. I liked it quite a lot.
I am sorry to say that I never saw this advertised and I think there was 3 other people in theater. The only reason I saw it was because I had a free pass and the movies I really wanted to see weren't accepting passes yet. After the movie I felt like going back and giving them the $8. It's a good movie but due to either no big stars or no money for advertising most people will never hear of it.
This is a Great Baseball Movie, and all peoples who have the sport of
Baseball in their blood will love this film.
Passion, friendship, loyalty, family , all we have in this movie, but specially, a good feeling about baseball, the favorite pass time of all us.
I'm from Dominican Republic, where we live the baseball, and we are proud to have ball players like Albert Pujols, Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Sammy Sosa and others in the MLB, and like i said, we live the feeling and the passion of baseball.. Baseball it's so important to us, and with this movie, we can know the importance of something like that in a town and in our Life.
Baseball for much of us , the baseball fans, it's not only a sport, it's more than that, it's passion, it's feeling, It's Proud...
The movie have a very good acting and good script..
This is one of the best baseball movies I have ever seen. It is not
only very inspirational but heartwarming and asks a very personal
question that we must all answer-"what do you want to be remembered
Kent Stock takes a very difficult situation of having to motivate the players of Norway High School with them facing their final season of the baseball program, let alone, the final year of their high school ever existing again, and motivates his players to play up to their best potential in capturing an astounding record 20th state championship in Iowa baseball.
This movie should be shown to every high school baseball team whether they be a large, medium, or small school, as well as shown to every coach, no matter what level of athletes they coach.
"The Final Season," from the director of the Sandlot, is based on the true story of the Norway, Iowa high school baseball team. Norway is a small Iowa town who holds a lot of pride in its baseball team, who has won 19 state titles in 24 years. When the school board threatens to merge the school with the large school of Madison, the town is enraged. They disagree with all of the boards claims and reasons for merging the school, and hate to see their baseball team and players disappear. Will the team get to play another season? Will the school be merged, or will it stay independent? The acting is pretty good, although at times the actors seem to be reading off a prompter. These incidents are few and far apart, however. The movie is a bit predictable, but isn't that the nature of sports films? It is still a fantastic movie that will be enjoyed by not only baseball fans, but sports fans is general. I recommend this movie for all ages. The film overall is inspiring, emotional, and entertaining. I strongly recommend you see this movie.
There are a lot of harsh reviews on this film, and it is puzzling. Sure the film has a formula feel to it, but considering how it is based on a true story, how could it not follow the standard underdog formula? The film caught the flavor of the David and Goliath aspect from many points. Small town school wins consistently against larger schools at the state champ level, second choice coach filling shoes of veteran favorite coach, town versus state politics, and the list goes on. The movie is entertaining and inspiring--look for those moments. Iowa and baseball go together and the movie captures the importance of baseball to a small town like Norway, Iowa. Sean Astin gives a likable performance as coach Kent Scott. Form your opinion and don't be swayed by the negative reviews. The baseball scenes are worth the watch all in their own.
Baseball is the perfect metaphor the American Dream: effort = success,
anyone can play, and winning is a metaphor for life.
The Last Season is a nice effort by Sean Astin. It is pretty much exactly what a good sports underdog movie should be.
The film about Norway, based on fact, a tiny town of 500 or so that produced team after team that went onto win the State Championship for High School baseball. When threatened with politics and closure due to lack of funding the team does what it knows best, goes in to bat for one last season.
Have to be honest though and say it's not as inspiring as it would like to be in places, it does hit some good home runs by the end, but overall it is a little too clichéd to really succeed.
If sports movies are your thing then you'll enjoy it, but I don't think this will become anyone's (Outside of Iowa) favorite ever movie.
It is a nice effort, and watchable, but as I said it ain't outstanding...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film tells the story of the Norway High School baseball team, who is looking to end their baseball dynasty with their 20th state championship. As an Iowa native, I knew I had to see this film, and I was not disappointed one bit. I will use the same line Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird used when he described the movie Hoosiers "Those guys got it right". A lot of the lessons that Sean Astin's character learns from the old coach are the same lessons that our head coach at Spalding High School taught us. It showed the passion that the people of Norway, just like the fans in many Iowa small towns (Lansing, Granville, Bancroft, etc) will drop everything to go to the games on Friday nights and will travel hundreds of miles to see their teams play for a state championship.
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