How was your Labor Day weekend? Judging by the box-office returns, you probably didn’t spend it at the movies, but that’s OK. I still have a bunch of movie-related thoughts and links for you as the fall gets underway.
All About Steve is the second movie this summer to be set in Sacramento, the first being The Ugly Truth. Given how crappy those movies turned out, it’s no surprise that this Sacramento native is telling Hollywood to leave his hometown alone. Seriously, though, Sac-town seems like a promising place to set a movie. Its California location renders it a bit more sophisticated than the average mid-sized American city, and a movie’s urban professional characters can be tempted by the prospect of a big-time move to a glamorous job in nearby San Francisco or L.A. The weather is temperate, and a studio can easily shoot either in the city itself or shoot in some of L.A.’s less fashionable quarters and have it pass for Sacramento. Plus, the city has the wackiness of California state politics to juice a story. I’m looking forward to seeing a juicy melodrama set in Sacramento. It’ll probably be better than either of the two movies out now.
Better stuff is available on home video. Sugar just came out on DVD, and I’ve alluded to it before, but it bears repeating that this is one of the year’s better films. It’s about Miguel “Sugar” Santos, a young flamethrowing pitching prospect whom we see early on at a baseball academy in his native Dominican Republic, learning baseball terms in English (though apparently, the players aren’t taught enough to order off a restaurant menu). Sugar gets a contract with a farm team in rural Iowa, and filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (who did Half Nelson before) make the place seem as surreal as it must seem to Sugar. The Americans around him are friendly enough, but the language barrier means that they can only help him so much in adjusting to his new surroundings.