Tagged: Sugar,

Baseball Takes Center Stage At The Film Festival Today

Last night was all about Kate Winslet, who appeared at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to receive an award for her work in “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road.”
Unlike some of the stars who show up at this event, Winslet took the time to sign autographs before striking a pose on the red carpet.
(No, I’m not in that mosh pit. I avoid crowds except at ball games.)
Between clips of her movies, Winslet answered questions from film critic Leonard Maltin.
(No, I didn’t raise my hand and say, “Are you a Yankee fan?”)
After the ceremony, there was a private party for Winslet at a clothing boutique in downtown SB.
(No, I didn’t go. I was invited, but it was raining and I decided to bag it. Well, O.K. It wasn’t just the rain. The truth is, I was afraid I’d spill red wine on some of the clothes and/or Winslet. Remember my post about the chili? I don’t trust myself anymore.)
Today was about the movies themselves, not the glitz, and they’re the reason I look forward to the Festival every year. These are small films, foreign films, films that will never make it to the Multiplex – indie movies that are shown at festivals in Toronto, Sundance and Santa Barbara in the hopes of finding distributors. They come from countries like Japan and China, Norway and Germany, Mexico and Argentina, even Russia and Afghanistan. This morning I saw one from New Zealand. Talk about movies being the universal language.
This afternoon was a screening of “Sugar,” the baseball movie I’ve mentioned. Is it the greatest movie ever? No. But it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s an eye-opening look at how young players in the Dominican Republic will do almost anything to get to the States and stay here.
The main character, Sugar Santos, is a pitcher with a wicked knuckle curve.
When he’s plucked from the baseball academy where he and his friends train and given the chance to play for a minor league team in Iowa, he can’t believe his good fortune. But the transition isn’t easy. He has to adjust to an English speaking country (he orders French toast for breakfast every morning, because it’s the only thing he knows how to say), deal with fans who yell “You suck” at him (you’ll never utter those words again) and stay healthy or be sent back to the Dominican (he resorts to taking PEDs).
There are lighthearted moments, and I let out an actual cheer when Sugar and his friends talk about playing for the Yankees. But mostly, the movie is about how hard it is for these kids to make it here. We have no idea. Seriously.
As I was leaving the theater, I vowed to go much easier on Robinson Cano.
Do you hear that, Robbie? I’m going to give you a break. I won’t scream at the TV the first time you swing at a pitch in the dirt or forget to run out a ground ball or let a dribbler get through the infield. I have sympathy for you now.
For him too.
Just don’t take advantage of my newfound generosity of spirit. Movie or no movie, you’d better bust it this year.

Opening Night At The Film Festival

Since there was no real Yankees news, except that Freddy Garcia went to the Mets (does this mean we’re giving the #5 slot to Hughes outright?), I went to the movies.
Tonight was opening night of the Santa Barbara Film Festival, and the Arlington Theater was packed for the kick off to the 10-day event. After a red carpet entrance by several stars, including local resident Jeff Bridges (my husband once saw him in the drug store buying….well, it wouldn’t be right to say),
the crowd settled in for the first film to be shown. It was “Nothing But The Truth,” a political thriller about a journalist who gets thrown in jail when she refuses to reveal the source of her headline-making story.
She’s played by Kate Beckinsale.


Her lawyer is the always-reliable Alan Alda.
And the meanie federal prosecutor is Matt Dillon.
I wouldn’t say I was on the edge of my seat during this one – I glanced at my watch maybe two or three times; never a good sign – but if you’re in the market for a decent rental down the road, this movie would work.
Tomorrow I’m looking forward to “Sugar,” the baseball movie I’ve been telling you about. But in the meantime, here’s the trailer for “Nothing But The Truth.”

Yankees Cap in Santa Barbara: The Sequel

My last post was about how I had a run-in over this.

Today I ventured out in it again….this time to a local theater where Roger Durling, the executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, gave everybody a preview of the movies we’ll be seeing between January 22nd and February 1st. The Festival is a big deal here in town, and since I love movies almost as much as I love baseball, it’s a big deal for me too.
I settled into my seat with a few hundred other Santa Barbarans and braced for an incident involving the words “Yankees” and “suck.” Maybe yesterday was not an aberration and I’d be called out again for my allegiance to the Bombers.
Nope. Nothing. This was such a polite crowd that nobody even asked me to remove my cap so they could see over my head. Crisis averted.
Roger kicked off the afternoon by telling us about the stars who were coming to accept awards and attend parties, including Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz. But it was when he said, “Clint Eastwood,” that I really snapped to attention.
Clint Eastwood? Clint “Get off my lawn” Eastwood? One of my all-time faves?

Turns out he’ll be here on Thursday, January 29th. I probably have no shot at meeting him, but stranger things have happened.
“I wonder if he likes baseball,” I whispered to my husband Michael, who told me to be quiet.
“I bet he’s a Giants fan,” I said anyway. “He used to be the mayor of Carmel, which is closer to San Francisco than L.A.”
“You have a one-track mind,” said Michael. “Give baseball a rest, O.K.?”
“I’m just -“
keith-olbermann shush.jpg
I sat silently as I learned about the Festival’s opening film, a political thriller called “Nothing But The Truth,” with Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda….about some foreign films that are rumored to be Academy Award nominees….and about “Going Home,” a documentary about the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, who will be on hand for a Q&A.
I was thinking how much I was looking forward to the movies and yet….I was also thinking how antsy I’m getting about spring training. I want baseball to start!

Just then, something amazing happened. The Festival’s director said, “This weekend we’ll be showing a movie called ‘Sugar.’ A big hit at Sundance, it’s a terrific film about baseball.”
All right! I gave my husband a “So there” look.
“Sugar” is the story of a ballplayer named Miguel “Sugar” Santos, who’s recruited from his home in the Dominican Republic to play for a minor league team in the Midwest after he masters the art of the knuckle curve.
The movie is about his adjustment to life in the American Heartland and gives us inside looks at both minor league baseball and the immigrant experience.
Here’s a review I pulled from Variety. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? But hey, it’s a baseball movie. How bad could it be?
I’ll weigh in once I see it. In the meantime, check out this clip of the writer-directors speaking at the Sundance Festival a few days ago.
One more thing….Happy birthday to my Red Sox-loving brother-in-law up there in ice-cold Concord. Have a great day, Geoff!