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Movie Review: Sugar

Alternate Title: The Impossible Dream

Story: What is it about movies and baseball? There have been a slew of terrific films about the sport and even people like me, who have no interest in sports at all, enjoy the films. You might as well add this fine baseball film to your list of well done baseball movies. Perhaps the fact that the film also deals with culture clashes, race, the immigrant experience and dreams gone awry makes it the enjoyable film that it ultimately becomes.

It was sensitively written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson). From the opening shots in the Dominican Republic you are hooked. 19 year old Miguel Santos, aka Sugar, has dreams of hitting the big leagues. Sugar gets an opportunity to play in the minor league and gets sent to Iowa. Talk about a fish out of water. How Sugar deals with his host family, his lack of English, his injuries, his ups and his downs are the first two-thirds of the film. One of the reasons I liked the films so much is that it does not follow the formulaic baseball film. The final third of the film delivers twists and turns that are both sad, realistic and hopeful.

If you like films with heart, check out this one. It is sweet, like Sugar.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU2nT9ZdkZg

Acting: Algenis Pérez Soto (Miguel Santos, also known as Azúcar), was wonderful. He has a presence that lights up the screen. The entire ensemble cast worked well, including, Rayniel Rufino (Jorge Ramírez), Andre Holland (Brad Johnson), Michael Gaston (Stu Sutton), Jaime Tirelli (Osvaldo), José Rijo (Alvarez), Ellary Porterfield (Anne Higgins) and Ann Whitney (Helen Higgins).

Predilection: None

Critters: Street dogs, birds and livestock.

Food: French toast has a big role. Scrambled eggs has a small part too.

Sex Spectrum: Some quickies.

Soundtrack: A delightful toe tapping track.

Opening Titles: An introduction to the character precedes the title.

Theater Audience: Eight guys and me.

Drift Factor: Just as I was getting a bit tired of the minor leagues the plot twists began.

Predictability Level: I was surprised.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: There have been umpteen films about baseball. Here are a few of my favorites: Bad News Bears, Bang the Drum Slowly, Bull Durham, Cobb, Damn Yankees, Eight Men Out, Fear Strikes Out, Field of Dreams, The Jackie Robinson Story, A League of Their Own, and my very favorite, The Natural.

Length: Under two hours