New Video // 2011 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // December 22nd, 2011
Can the boys from Curaçao do it again?
Inspirational and fast-paced, Keith Aumont's Boys of Summer follows the young players of Curaçao's Little League baseball team as they fight their way through the qualifying rounds to reach and hopefully win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The road to the finals presents a challenging task, and Aumont's documentary focuses both on Curaçao's passion for the game and the team's determination to win a lot games and finally bring home the much-desired championship.
The compelling story of Boys of Summer kicks off with the last day of school before the summer break. Determined to return to the game they cherish so much, the twelve-year-old members of the popular Curaçao baseball team are excited to join coach Vernon and prepare for the Caribbean Championship, which is a mere forty-five days away. Demanding practice session and lots of motivational speeches fly by, and, before they know it, the players of Curaçao are sitting on a plane to Bonaire, ready for their first crucial game.
Boys of Summer succeeds in instantly capturing the viewer's attention. Aumont spends the first 20 minutes of the film building a lot of curiosity and anticipation, offering an in-depth look at what it takes for these youngsters to keep the focus on the game without having to abandon their notion of fun. Vernon, their twenty-seven-year-old coach, shows immense respect for the game, and he couldn't take their dream of winning the World Series any more seriously. He's going at it with all he's got.
Aumont then kicks things up a notch in terms of pacing by speeding through the Caribbean Championship through quick, action-packed montages of Curaçao's games against teams such as Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Enjoying full access to whatever he needs, the filmmaker makes sure to always have his camera at the right place and at the right time. He really manages to capture the spirit behind Curaçao's efforts and the team's belief in success.
The final act of the movie takes us to Williamsport, where Curaçao finally gets the chance to play their biggest rival: Japan. Enjoyable throughout, the film makes sure to offer both sides of Little League Baseball in the Caribbean. It focuses on the team's hard work as much as it centers on the joy the kids get out of traveling and competing for their glory, and none of the repetitive game coverage or motivational talks from coach Vernon ever becomes boring or trivial.
Aumont also deserves praise for taking the time and taking his project to a higher cinematic level, as the film boasts tons of great visuals. Thankfully, the DVD offers a clean 1.85:1 widescreen presentation with a sharp, vibrant image and solid audio transfer. A bonus section on the disc includes a few additional scenes.
No matter what you think about baseball, Boys of Summer is a winner. A true story of determination, the film remains suspenseful through the games and brings along just the right amount of fun when it's time for the kids to cut loose. This isn't exactly a documentary meant to appeal to the masses, but I highly recommend you give it a shot; it will inspire you.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Video
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English, Papiamentu)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Scenes
* Official Site