March26 , 2023

SXSW 2023: Blackberry, Problemista, The Long Game | Festivals & Awards



My greatest shock of SXSW was most likely Julio Quintana’s “The Long Game,” a film that appears on paper like one other cookie-cutter inspirational sports activities drama however transcends its clichés by being true to its characters and inventive in its strategy. I’m unhappy to say that I noticed lots of movies at SXSW that seemed like TV, but it surely’s clear from the start that Quintana discovered lots from his mentor Terrence Malick—Quintana labored on “The Tree of Life” and “To the Wonder.” There’s an class to the filmmaking right here, a grace to the best way Quintana approaches his characters and the pure world, that elevates the storytelling. Yes, a number of the writing dips into cliché, and it isn’t an unpredictable movie, however there’s one thing to see an old style story that is this well-told.

Jay Hernandez stars as JB Pena, a WWII vet in ’50s Del Rio, Texas, who turns into the superintendent and desires to hitch the native nation membership. Of course, that is not allowed on this period, and “The Long Game” does too overtly use caricatures of highly effective, Southern white males being overtly racist. Of course, that existed, however the monsters who run the golf neighborhood in 1956 Texas are a bit two-dimensional right here.

The movie will get its energy from the youngsters that Pena meets who caddy on the membership and have shaped their very own golf staff. Pena realizes that this crew, led by the wonderful Julian Works as Joe Trevino, has what it takes to compete with anybody, and so will get them in a contest on the membership. The members of the crew outdoors of Works are a bit undefined, however “The Long Game” succeeds partly because of the sports activities film sand traps it avoids. When Dennis Quaid is launched because the alcoholic coach who can carry the boys to glory, it is really easy to see the white savior film this might have turn into, however Quintana and Quaid keep away from it. I cherished how alcoholism would not turn into the central story as it could in a lesser movie, and the film would not turn into a story of Hispanic children saving a white man or vice versa. He’s simply part of this story, no higher than the function Joe’s girlfriend (a wonderful Paulina Chavez) performs on this saga. Quintana understands the very best strategy to this story is a tapestry, capturing the various influences on a younger life—a brand new coach, a brand new girlfriend, his fellow golfers, and so forth.—and the way they will form a future. After all, the lengthy sport of human existence takes teamwork.