Sunday, May 19, 2024

The League (2023) movie review and synopsis.

Pollard relies heavily on archival footage and photos, cleverly allowing a relatively small cadre of experts to tell the story of Negro League Baseball, meaning it doesn’t get too dry. From the beginning of the film, Pollard uses a tone that can be called cheerful. It’s a smart decision that casts “The League” as a story of triumph — neighborhoods coming together to watch the best athletes in their region in a way that felt almost like a party. Pollard and his experts portray the early days of black baseball as a place of pride. People often came to the games in their Sunday best and there was a feeling that came from the community and belonged to the community.

In the communities in which the Negro Leagues flourished—mostly along the East-West line from New York to Chicago—the sport developed its stars. There’s always been a sense that the Baseball Hall of Fame is a bit illegitimate, given how many of its legendary stars weren’t really playing against the best in the sport. As “The League” unpacks some of the legends of the game, one feels that most of them could support an entire documentary of their own.

Take Rube Foster, owner, manager and star player for the Chicago American Giants. During his century-long career, he threw seven no-hitters and is credited with inventing the ball — a manager brought him to an MLB clubhouse to teach it to his star pitcher. Or Josh Gibson, who hit almost every 14 AB during his career – a number that would have made him a household name at the height of baseball’s popularity. I would absolutely watch entire movies about each of them. Or Effa Manley, co-owner of the Newark Eagles, who fought against a white male baseball organization and often won.

“The League” is at its best when it focuses on lesser-known stories, even if it eventually has to include Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson. Of course, I’m not ashamed of legends getting more attention, but I found the film most interesting when it revealed stories instead of just repeating the ones that are often said. To that end, Pollard hits a fascinating point in the final chapter when he reveals how integration essentially meant the demise of Negro League Baseball, not only because the league’s stars left for the major leagues, but because white owners didn’t pay their dues. . owners anything to steal them. So while there was an undeniable good in the integration of sports, there was still greed beneath the surface that dismantled something vital to the black community. Again, this is less than 10 minutes of the movie, and I wanted more of it.

Not that any of “The League” is shallow. Pollard doesn’t work that way. And there’s something valuable about a feature documentary that makes you want to read more about its subject. I think Pollard would be fine with that criticism and I agree that this is a starting point for learning about people who should have been famous when they played. It’s not too late.

In theaters for a week starting today and on VOD next week.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

HomeReviewsThe League (2023) movie review and synopsis.

Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film Chinese Film