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Final Season, The (2007)
Friday, October 12, 2007
For language, thematic elements and some teen smoking
Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cook, James Gammon, Larry Miller, Marshall Bell, Tom Arnold, Michael Angarano
David M. Evans
True story of Kent Stock (Sean Astin), who in the early '90s, gives up a job and ditches his wedding plans to take over as head coach as the Norway High School baseball team. Kent must win over his players and convince them and himself that he can fill their former coach's shoes and that they can go out winners. In the summer of 1991 Norway High's baseball tradition ended on a triumphant but sombre note.
Final Season, The (2007) | Spiritual Article
Spiritual Connections (3 vids)
David Bruce, Webmaster
Director David Mickey Evans has a "thing" for baseball – not just your average love of the game, but sort of a sixth sense about it. He can feel when audiences are going to fall in love with a baseball story just as he did with his directorial debut, “The Sandlot”, because for Evans, the game is not just about winning or losing, it's about family. Such is the case with “The Final Season”, in which the Norway Tigers aren't just a team of ballplayers; they're the sons and grandsons, cousins and nephews of the entire community. "It's the only game on Earth where the object is to get home," says Evans, quoting one of the lines in the film. "It's a metaphor for family, and for life, where you can be a part of a team – part of a tight unit – but within that tight family unit, you can stand out as an individual and shine."
Sean Astin, who plays Kent Stock, couldn't agree more. "Baseball, and especially high school baseball, is something that brings parents out to see their kids. It truly brings whole families together to go to the park and hang out," says the actor, best known for playing the title role in “Rudy”, and more recently for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. "I'm just in awe of Kent Stock and the Norway Tigers. I mean, to find a school team in the middle of rural Iowa, in the middle of pastures, farmland and cornfields, that has this unfathomable tradition of winning is definitely worth making a movie about."
Powers Boothe, who portrays ousted coach Jim Van Scoyoc, says that not only was the story well worth getting made into a film, it also exceeded his dreams of what a baseball movie could be. "In my dreams, I hoped that we could catch not only the baseball moments, but also the heart of the human beings playing the game, and I believe we did," says the star of films “Sin City”, “Men of Honor”, and television’s “Deadwood”. "This movie is going to sweep people back to their hometowns, with the red and white baseball uniforms, the green grass, the flags and the local barbershop – it was just so real, so pure that it actually supercedes the experience of just playing baseball. It's about life, and living it right."
Rachael Leigh Cook, who portrays Polly Hudson, the woman from the school board trying to shut down Norway, was attracted to the role because she liked the way her character comes around to understanding the heart of the game, and in essence the heart of the town.
"Polly gains an insight about Norway that the other board members don’t understand,” says the actor who recently starred in “Nancy Drew” as well as the popular TV series “Las Vegas”. “It's a wonderful sport, if it's played right like the Norway Tigers played it – with everything they had."
Director Evans agreed. "The boys on that final Norway team didn't have anything waiting for them at the end of the game because their school was going to be shutting down, and yet they put their whole heart into each play right down to the final catch," says the man who also wrote the screenplay for the critically acclaimed “Radio Flyer”. "They played with courage, commitment and character because it was simply the right thing to do."
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