Dave's Rating:

3.5

… a dorky, yearning-to-be-loved movie …

Who's in It: Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tom Arnold, Makenzie Astin

The Basics: True story about a rural high school baseball team faced with its final season of play. Why? The tiny town's school is about to be closed with the kids being bussed over to a new city. And since baseball drives much of the local economy, a losing and final season can also spell disaster for the whole community.

What's the Deal? It's impossible to hate a dorky, yearning-to-be-loved movie like this, one that has no choice but to wear its completely uncool heart on its sleeve. It is possible, however, to say that it's written in the most perfunctory, uninspired way imaginable and directed with skills that, translated into baseball terms, would amount to a bunt at best. But hating it's not really an option. When it loses, you still want to shake its hand and say, "Nice game."

What Makes It Work: Sean Astin, who's built his entire acting career out of being the human equivalent of a hot bowl of chicken and dumplings. He was not simply the most loveable of the Hobbits, he was also Rudy. I'm not even counting The Goonies here. Fortunately, he uses his odd power for good instead of evil.

Owes It's Existence To: Hoosiers.

The Question That Nags at Me Every Time I See a Movie Like This, One Where Seemingly Every Single Person in the Small Town Is 1000 percent Rah-Rah for the Home Team: Where's the kid that hates sports? Demographically speaking, that kid exists in every rural, sports-obsessed town, dying to graduate and leave. Where's the movie about that kid?

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