(Algenis Perez Soto, Andre Holland, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2009 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: Sugar is the inspirational story of Miguel Santos, a gifted pitcher struggling to make it to the big leagues of American baseball. Nicknamed "Azúcar" (Spanish for "sugar"), 19-year-old Miguel travels from his poor but tightly-knit community in the Dominican Republic to play minor league baseball in the United States - where anything is possible. He finds himself in a small Iowa town, where he struggles with the culture, the language, and the pressure of knowing that only his success can rescue his family.
DVD Verdict: 'Sugar' was beautiful, heart-felt, and realistic. I loved the flow of the movie, showing Miguel "Sugar" Santos' journey, from his days in Dominican Republic to the US. It felt I was watching an actual documentary. You'll see him struggling with the language barrier, finding his own identity as a person while traveling in the U.S., being a "product" for the Minor Baseball League. Compelling and it'll make you wonder how the Major/Minor Baseball Leagues recruit these players, understanding the process of choosing certain players AND the politics behind it.
Although it's fiction, the second act is set in Davenport, Iowa with the Quad Cities River Bandits, only in the movie it's "Bridgetown" and the team is called the Swing because they wear the uniforms worn by the River Bandits before their latest name change (to save production money, no doubt). Parts are also filmed in other Iowa Midwest League towns.
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are fantastic once again with the story-telling, dialogue and the care with research (back stories of real life ballplayers) to tell this story so perfectly. And the lead actor, Algenis Perez Soto was impressive, considering this was his 1st acting role. I highly recommended this movie!! [ML] This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Making 'Sugar': Run the Bases
Play Béisbol! The Dominican Dream including interviews with MLB players David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez and Sammy Sosa
Casting 'Sugar': Interview with Algenis Perez Soto