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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.