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Mainstream - Sugar

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Algeniz Perez Soto, Andre Holland
Written and directed by Ana Boden and Ryan Fleck
English and Spanish with subtitles
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
114 minutes

If you remember the Dominican baseball player segment in the documentary titled The New Americans, Sugar, a drama by Ana Boden and Ryan Fleck that aired in 2008 on HBO will remind you of that. It is hard to figure out if this drama is a documentary or fiction as it plays like both. Whatever it is, it is pretty good. The Sugar DVD was edited so some there is probably a bit of nudity and drug taking missing.

If you like baseball and curious about how players from South America try to make it to the show, Sugar is informative and very well made. If you are just looking for a baseball DVD with a good story, this movie also fits the bill. You should not however expect one of those rah rah Hollywood movies where the main characters pitches a perfect game during the World Series and becomes President by the time the credits roll.

Sugar tells the story of a young Dominican in his late teens who dreams of making it to the majors. A lot is riding on this dream, especially his family’s comfort. He leaves home to play “A” ball in Iowa. Life in the United States is quite a dramatic change for a young man and there is a lot to adapt to. Most difficult to adapt to is the survival of the fittest aspect of the game.

Boden and Fleck are smart filmmakers who tell the story honestly. They occasionally drop in the odd subtle comment like when Sugar goes to a bargain clothing store and finds the shirts his mother makes in Colombia. There are a couple of plot twists that take a bit of time to figure out and that does get in the way of enjoying this drama.

Sugar is a pretty decent personal drama, better if you like baseball.

Special features include the usual deleted scenes and stuff and an interesting short with Pedro Martinez and Sammy Sosa commenting on the movie.

Bottom of the Ninth  Great documentary about minor league baseball team’s season.


Spaceman A Baseball Odyssey   Bill Lee speaks.


Baseball - NPR Driveway Moments  NPR 2 CD set of baseball stories


The New Americans  Documentary about immigrants to the U.S.


The Jackie Robinson Story starring Jackie Robinson  You have to see this at least once in your life.

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