Friday, April 12, 2013


A few months ago, I had the pleasure of seeing a film about the role sports, specifically basketball, had to do with changing racial boundaries called "Game of Change." (Check it out on  Today, with the release of "42,"  the Jackie Robinson story, we see similar ways in which a few people, strong and brave, stood up for what they thought was right, in order to bring people closer together; severing racial boundaries.  This all being done by playing a game.

"42" took place back in 1945, long before many of us can remember and long before that momentus game between Loyola Chicago and Mississippi State. Although "42" is based on true events, I am not completely confident that facts and situations occurred as demonstrated.  But this is a movie, not a told a story and entertained the viewer.  That's what a movie is supposed to do.  Jackie Robinson, for those like me who are not baseball buffs (Yes, I know that Jackie Robinson is a name that I should know much like Joe DiMaggio, but more than knowing they played baseball, isn't in my knowledge base. ), was the first black man to play in the major leagues.  The owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, set out to raise the bar of equality in the game of baseball.  Keep in mind that Jim Crow laws were still widely accepted both in the North and the South.  Although the story focused upon Robinson and the struggles he endured to make it in the League, it also focused on Branch Rickey's determination to make things better.  As we watched the team begin to implode from the racial tension, we also watched and rooted for the glue that could keep it from turning to rubble.  The movie tugged at heartstrings and made you question how people could be so judgemental and hurtful in a past that really isn't so distant. 

I enjoyed this movie.  It was uplifing and positive. However, I struggled with one aspect of this movie:  the acting.  It frequently felt stiff and contrived.  With some movies based on actual events like one of my favorites "NO," you felt as if you were watching the actual event take place.  With "42" you did not feel this way.  It felt like a movie all the way through.  Everything was just too picture perfect and concise.  There were rather hoaky scenes of kids and parents in the stands who had lines so manufactured and cliche that you could have easily predicted what the next utterance was going to be.  Even given the overall performances, I still enjoyed the message this film had to share.  Go see it and then tell me how it affected you.  

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