QCI's 471-Word Sugar Review
I made it out to Showcase Cinemas 53 last night to see Sugar. As most of you know, it was partially filmed in the QC area a couple years ago. Here's my quick (and spoiler-free) review:
As all the other reviews say, its not a stereotypical cliched baseball movie. One of the people who I saw it with pointed out something he expected to happen with the last shot, that absolutely would have in a Disney-esque sports movie, but didn't in Sugar. I also agree with the folks who have said this is a baseball movie made by people who know baseball. The main character, Sugar, is a pitcher, and in several scenes he runs off the round after a batter hits the ball to back up either first or home plate. You don't see that kind of accuracy in "Rookie of the Year." Most reviews seem to refer to it as a good movie even for folks who don't care for the sport. There's much more to the film than baseball, but I couldn't give a review of the movie from the perspective of a non-baseball person. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere. So for a baseball fan, this is a great movie.
As an Iowa fan... not so much. There's no particular bad guy in this movie, although there are a few isolated jerks. So it doesn't make Iowans out to be bad folks, but it does reinforce a lot of Midwestern stereotypes. Some of these, like everyone being nice, don't hurt us any. Others, like that most of us live on farms and don't speak any languages other than English, are less flattering, and less accurate. At one point Sugar needs to catch a Greyhound bus, and instead of going to the Ground Transportation Center 2 blocks from the stadium, they of course show him being dropped off by a taxi at a bar/convenience store at the intersection of 2 farm-lined country roads. Because that's where we catch the bus in Iowa... You definitely get the feeling that this is a movie set in Iowa made by New Yorkers.
Overall though, its a great movie. Around 99% of America doesn't live in Iowa, and a good portion of those who do may not care about reinforcing stereotypes, so my complaints on that aspect are inconsequential to the big picture. Also, from interviews it seems like the filmmakers understand that there's more to Iowa than cities like Burlington, even if they didn't really show it. The music is prominently featured in the movie, and its good stuff. While I am biased, the scenery is beautiful. They used a mixture of downtown Davenport and downtown Burlington overview shots to portray downtown "Bridgetown, IA." Even the farms and countryside look great. I'm not sure how much longer it will be playing at 53, (Moviefone.com shows at least through May 6th) but I'd recommend seeing it soon if you don't want to wait for the DVD. Its also pretty cool to see Davenport in a non-Italian movie.