Canadian Film Programmes Blog

- 2008
- 2007

Before I was ever a french films guy, or a zombie guy, as I’ve identified in previous blogs – I loved baseball.  Like so many of my kind I watched all 18 hours of Ken Burns Baseball and memorized Walt Whitman quotes like:  Let us go forth awhile and get better air in our lungs/the game of ball is glorious.  I always agreed with Walt on that one.  And judging by the audience reaction at Un Ete Sans Point Ni Coup Sur I’m hardly alone.

Thrilled fans rushed the filmmakers to say how much they appreciated the film.

This happens often at film festivals, but people usually just want to stand next to someone like Bruce McDonald for a few minutes because he’s such a cool bastard and they want to experience some of that cool by proxy.

Here it was:  “Thank you for making this movie, this is exactly like my experience.” A second year U of T film major was so impressed he vowed to help promote the film in any way possible, agreeing to email all his contacts and buy DVD’s as presents for loved ones.  His dad coached baseball all his life but our film-loving friend eventually quit because he hated to let the team down.  He wasn’t good enough.  L

That’s why the movie resonated so well with him.  Most sports flicks follow a simple archetype:  Rag-tag group of ne’er do wells starts out sucking, gets good, wins the state tourney or something.  No one ever quits because they aren’t good enough, but that’s the reality of baseball for thousands, maybe millions of people who love it.

This is a movie for fans.  Specifically fans of Les Expos, baseball’s best equivalent of greek tragedy now that the Red Sox have won two World Series.  It’s also for fans who weren’t very good at baseball.  The author himself never made the A-team, and joked that the kids who do don’t write books or screenplays about baseball.  My theory is that they do, but their books are embarrassing pieces of shit.

My own love of baseball blossomed when I was 14, I lacked the experience and skill to join the regular league, so, meekly, settled for the humiliating, ugly leper-filled “slo-pitch” league – baseball’s ugliest incarnation.

While technically a sports movie, we’re not talking Billy Bob’s Bad News Bears here.  It’s more like a sports movie helmed by a Stephane Lafleur.  Most touching are the impressionistic segments that really capture a young man’s love of le baseball.

The next screening is Monday at 9:30 pm at Scotiabank Theatre.

Bonus Baseball Quotes:

It breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.  The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.  ~A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

 “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.”  ~Dave Barry

 Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game.  I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood.  I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people.  ~Steve Busby, in Washington Post, 8 July 2021 (I think this applies to Canadians as well)

Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.  ~Mark Kramer

I believe in the Church of Baseball.  I tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones.  I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan.  I know things.  For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball.  When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.  ~Ron Shelton, Bull Durham, 1988

Baseball is a ballet without music.  Drama without words.  ~Ernie Harwell, "The Game for All America," 1955