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Jennifer Jason Leigh,
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This movie is well-intentioned but as sentimental as a Hallmark card. The characters were two-dimensional; skilled actors like Masatoshi Nakamura and Gary Cole were given little depth to work with. The father: noble and proud. The mother: quiet and worried. Two brothers? You just know one is going to be a rebel and the other will make a predictable decision to prove his loyalty to America. Most of the story is hackneyed and corny. Farewell to Manzanar with Nobu McCarthy is from 1976, but it's miles ahead of this movie. Come See the Paradise, despite its White main character, is better than this too. It might be that I'm overly-familiar with internment camp movies, but I swear I've seen nearly all of these characters done better elsewhere in other movies and plays.
But it isn't all bad. The best moments come from a wily old man played by Seth Sakai who makes booze from canned peaches. His lines crackle with a sarcastic wit that is greatly needed to counterbalance the sentimentality of the other characters. The baseball scenes near the end are interesting and original, but aren't nearly enough to save this movie. American Pastime might be useful for educating kids about the camps, but it doesn't stand on its own cinematic merits.
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