'Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories' blends baseball with a redemptive story of sacrifice. In the words of the Gospel of John, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down ...
See full summary »
'Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories' blends baseball with a redemptive story of sacrifice. In the words of the Gospel of John, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." These words from scripture inspire Puerto Rican baseball superstar Roberto Clemente to make a difference, to die giving. The film traces the life of the greatest right fielder of all time, as he faces and overcomes the racist reporters of the Pittsburgh Press and struggles to prove his talents despite the baseball writers conspiring to cheat him out of his due recognition. Baseball's Last Hero is a love story at his core. Roberto meets the love of his life, Vera, and they create a family, a safe haven for Roberto who is plagued by nightmares and a growing sense he will die young. Roberto's love for the poor compels him on a mission of mercy. On New Year's Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente dies a hero's death, killed in ...Written by
Richard Rossi Writer-Director
I want to thank you for your support of our labor of love to honor my childhood hero Roberto Clemente. On behalf of the volunteer cast and crew, we're grateful & couldn't have finished this film without your encouragement. Thanks to you buying this DVD, we had funds to screen the film for free admission last week at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago where there have been murders by shooting, and we're able to pay for the mandated security to show this school the type of man Roberto Clemente was. Our outreach efforts have cost us, we haven't made money on these events. We are doing it in the spirit of humanitarian service Roberto Clemente showed us. Recently, a young gang-member headed for a life of crime just watched our film. His eye got misty, & he vowed to do something with purpose to help others & make the world better. This movie makes a difference. Also last week I visited an elementary school in Pasadena. The teacher showed the film and we were able to inspire the students to see what a true hero is. One 5th grade girl was crying during the presentation & wrote me a note. I learned from the teacher that both her parents were killed. The teacher thanked me & said it's so important how the film gives kids hope.
As writer-director, I created a hybrid of a documentary-drama. Some of the 21 stories have a documentary feel with some real news elements, but most of the movie is dramatized with actors. That being said, the movie isn't a documented history as if we replayed an exact video of everything that happened in Clemente's life. As a dramatist, I sometimes chose to use composite characters (blending two or more people into one.) For example, I knew as a boy growing up in Pittsburgh that Roberto had another manager briefly before Danny Murtaugh, but I knowingly used just one manager in the film, the Murtaugh character, because he led the Bucs to both World Series. Dramatically condensing into fewer characters can strengthen story-telling rather than having one manager briefly then switching. Murtaugh is played by the incomparably gifted character actor Charles Hoyes. The movie isn't an exact documentary history, it's a dramatization inspired by history that takes poetic license. Even in our real life, we don't remember things exactly the same. Our memories of youth and childhood are different from others recalling the same events. My goal as the writer-director was to communicate my love and the emotion my hero Roberto Clemente evoked in me as a boy. I can confidently tell you it is very close to historically accurate and most viewers tell us they learned things they didn't know about the Great One.
I want to thank all of our cast & crew. I'm proud of our actors and everything they gave. Jamie Nieto, our leading man, drove every weekend 2 1/2 hours from San Diego to shoot for a year, while simultaneously training for the Olympics. That's one example of the many donations of sweat & tears. Sacrifice and volunteer effort brought this first feature dramatic film on Clemente's life to pass.
Recently, a nurse named Stephanie Clark, who donated sacrificially to help the film get made said something interesting. "I think it was meant to be that this film was made from those laying down their lives and time in service, inspired by Clemente," Stephanie said. "It wasn't the major studios with millions of dollars, big name actors, and a marketing machine to make money for their Hollywood coffers. The film was made as Roberto lived, by people wanting to give. Few can lay down their life & die for others like Roberto did, or Christ did, but the cast and crew laid down a portion of their lives, their time and talent."
We try to answer each email from so many of you who have seen the heart and been moved by our movie. If we haven't been able to thank you individually, we are grateful and I hope my review here once again expresses our gratitude for the compassion, grace, and understanding you have shown us in our long journey to accomplish this goal.
I'm giving the film 9 stars out of 10 as a way of saying I'm not so presumptive to give it a 10 and say it was perfect, but we did our best with what we had & I give it a 9 to honor the work of our team. To our volunteer cast and crew: you did a stellar job. I'm very proud of you and the fact we did it together. Jamie, Marilinda, Charles, Isaac & the rest of the actors you gave me such great performances and to the post team led by Mary Chin, the DPs Jimmy and Jeff, thanks again for your sacrifice. This labor of love has caught fire coast to coast, because people are drawn to love. Love overcomes the nay-sayers and the fears, and as Roberto has shown, there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for your friends. Thanks again for your support.
Richard Rossi Writer-Director, Hollywood, California
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this