Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

04 January 2010

Azucar

I know you haven't seen Sugar but you really must. Sugar was released in indie theatres in April or so and is the new film from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the duo who made the brilliant Half Nelson.

Sugar follows a young pitcher from the Dominican Republic as he moves from a baseball training camp in the DR to Houston TX to playing Double-A baseball in the middle of Iowa. When Sugar moves to Iowa he boards in the home of an older midwestern couple, attends their church with them, and eats meatloaf.

This film is superb. It is a fascinating exploration of the globalization of baseball, but also a moving story of a young man who dreams of "America." It also is an interesting new perspective on ever-present USAmerican issues like race and poverty.

It's also a baseball movie, but light years away from a film like The Natural. Sugar is about how hard baseball can be. It is about growing up and leaving home and following your dreams. It is also is really smart about the Nationalist/Patriotic sentiments which inhere in baseball fandom and how those sentiments square with supporting players who are not only from other countries but speak only Spanish. The Great (Pan-)American Pastime indeed.

At any rate, you really must see this movie. You will remember that Half Nelson was a very high #3 on my list for 2006. I loved that film and I love this one.