American Pastime

"Good"

American Pastime Review


Stumbling upon American Pastime soon after watching Ken Burns' epic World War II documentary The War was a happy coincidence. Burns does a great job telling the relatively unknown story of the Japanese-American internment camps, and this movie is a nicely detailed, albeit hokey, fictionalization of one family's experience in such a camp. Burns, who also produced a massive documentary on baseball, would certainly appreciate the film's pivotal baseball subplot.

When war breaks out, the Nomura family is enjoying a happy middle-class life in 1940s L.A. All that changes when the internment order arrives, and soon Mom (Judi Ongg), Dad (Masatoshi Nakamura), older brother Lane (Leonardo Nam), and younger brother Lyle (Aaron Yoo) find themselves in a drafty barracks in the middle of a desert somewhere in the American west. While most everyone tries to adapt with dignity, the volatile Lyle, who has been robbed not only of his baseball scholarship but also his beloved jazz music, simmers with rage. He's even more outraged when he learns that Lane has volunteered to fight with the 442nd division, the famous all Japanese-American unit that went on to glory in European fighting. Why would Lane want to fight for the same army that has machine guns trained on him day and night in the camp?

As the years pass, Lyle starts playing jazz at camp parties and becomes smitten with Katie Burrell (Sarah Drew), who just so happens to be the daughter of a camp guard (Gary Cole), who just so happens to be a former baseball player. Lyle and Katie's budding romance is pure Romeo and Juliet, and when Lyle joins the camp's baseball team and it heads for a big game against the local bigoted townies, including Burrell, the baseball-as-redemption clichés pile upon the young forbidden love clichés until the whole enterprise almost collapses under the weight of all that corn.

Still, American Pastime has much to recommend it. The art direction and production design are top-notch; the film looks great. Both Yoo and Nam turn in powerful performances that should prove inspirational to young adult audiences. In fact, it's teens that will probably get the most out of the movie. There's a valuable American history lesson here that is often not taught, and the more people who know about it the better, especially in these paranoid times when we find ourselves looking around with more suspicion than ever. American Pastime asks what it truly means to be an American. What better question to ask these days?

Well, that's one pastime.



American Pastime

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Monday 14th May 2007

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Barry Rosenbush, Terry Spazek

Starring: as Lyle Nomura, as Billy Burrell, as Katie Burrell, Masatoshi Nakamura as Kaz Nomura, as Lane Nomura

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.