Suddenly not as relevant as it used to be...thank God
Brent A. Anthonisen | Alpharetta, GA, USA | 10/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching this DVD after October 27, 2004 is like watching "Three Kings" after the 2003 Iraq war. It documents or portrays a relevant moment in time, immortalizing it forever, yet subsequent events drastically affect the poignancy of the original artistic achievement.
All of a sudden the 2003 season seems like lifetimes ago, literally the product of another age where belief in curses and accepting the fact that the Boston Red Sox were doomed to eternal tragedy were routine protocol. Already the mindset of the "wicked hahd" Red Sox fan is evolving to appreciate the mind-bending reality of the accomplishments of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox (I am sorely tempted to type that a second time just to see how it looks once more).
Having said that, as a baseball fan from Atlanta who has watched a once-young and energetic team with a moribund history evolve into soulless, staid, corporate New York Yankees wanna-be's (who lack the Yankees' finishing power in October) and has watched my hometown Braves' fanbase shrink year-by-year as the masses of local bandwagoneers lose interest, I cannot help but watch with considerable envy the pure (and even desperate) joy and love that the baseball fans of Boston have for their team. And the energy of the Red Sox themselves make me wish the Braves played with even half the heart evidenced by the Sox, in 2003 as well as 2004.
Red Sox Nation, this documentary is your masterpiece of a self-portrait...true, it begs for a revision following the team's astounding postseason run in 2004. This movie, like the faith of the fans themselves, deserves a happy ending. But if 2004 never happened, there could be no better testimony as to what being an American sports fan is all about."
A Love Letter to the Red Sox team and their fans
Robert Jaz | Providence, RI United States | 06/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is great if you are a die-hard Red Sox fan, but see this even if you only have a passing curiosity such as knowing a loved one that is a fan and you've always wondered why they are so into baseball? or even if you just enjoy seeing a very well made documentary. From the opening credits (which features one of my favorite songs) to the last bittersweet moments, this documentary is nicely crafted and expertly put together. You may come away thinking, how amazing that the cameras were rolling to capture many of these key moments of last season.
For me it brought back all of the excitement: the player's reactions, the highs, the sad ending to an amazing season, and best of all, fan profiles and interviews that are incredible. One fan, Angry Bill steals the film, and I think the Red Sox should hire him as a consultant. Two fans are almost like deadhead groupies in their obsession of going to games and following around the "band" when they are on tour. There's some wonderful behind the scenes segments that for me were really fun and revealing. Pedro comes off as a truly funny goofball and John Henry is uniquely special.
Many many moments made me and my girlfriend laugh - If you look closely you'll get to see loads of candy and seeds lined up in the clubhouse for the players to dip into (we just thought this was the best, as many of the players often seem so much like big kids) not to mention the still uncomfortable chuckle you get from the Pedro / Zimmer scuffle.
All in all you will probably leave this film wanting to see another game and just hoping that once again, this may be the year! If not for anyone other than Angry Bill.
Warning: This film is NOT recommended to Yankee fans..."
Pain and Passion in video form
J. Amabile | outside Boston | 07/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Still, We Believe is a wonderful documentary that truly pries into the hearts of the most passionate fans in the country. Welcome to New England!
I loved every moment of this film, even though I had to turn away for the gut wrenching ending. This movie does a great job of following several different fans throughout the 2003 season, without ever losing your attention. I knew each one of the individuals without ever meeting any of them.
To an outsider, it may appear to be an extreme caricature of a fanatic, but let me tell you, this is what Red Sox Nation truly is. No other sports franchise can come close to the passion, knowledge, and support of all Boston fans that is very nicely captured in this movie.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why you do this to yourself every single year...
Mandatory for any true sports fan!
Warning: May not be suitable for Yankee fans, as the unfamiliar concepts such as passion, pride, faithfulness, hope, knowledge of the game (past and present), and determination are touched upon. Bandwagons can be found 150 miles SouthWest."
Well, I Love That Dirty Water!
absent_minded_prof | Massachusetts | 10/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had a lot of fun watching this fun, unpretentious little film. In it, we relive the 2003 Red Sox season through the eyes and experiences of about eight or ten particularly hardcore, diehard fans. We see the Red Sox from April through October of 2003, and really get to know the fans and their religion -- whoops, I meant to say "pastime."
Some other reviewers seem to come down pretty hard on "Angry Bill." He seems like a fairly regular fan to me, albeit a fiercely opinionated one. We see him begin the season as a bitter, disillusioned lifelong fan. As the season progresses favorably, he slowly morphs into a hopeful, dewey-eyed True Believer. At the end, of course, he digresses into a tragic figure, embracing total despair once again. Personally, my heart really went out to Angry Bill. I myself sometimes tend to be kind of a masochist, but even for me being a Red Sox fan is often just too much to ask. Every year, you know exactly what you're in for... So, I felt like Angry Bill hit a familiar chord in Boston. People shouldn't judge him so harshly.
Other fans we meet include the two twenty-something female roommates from East Boston, Jess and Erin. They are a lot of fun to see, and to hear, as they express their opinions. They have some especially cool scenes in the Bonus Features part of the DVD, so, don't miss that part. For example, apparently lots of their male friends accuse them of "stalking" the Red Sox, but they point out that no one accuses obsessive male fans of being stalkers, although, conceivably, that accusation could plausibly be made. This indignant sense of what is right is emblematic of Jess and Erin's spirit, and of their general feistiness. You gotta love it.
Some of my other favorite fans interviewed include Steve Craven, the thoughtful fireman who shares his experiences as a lifelong fan; Jermaine, who always seemed just on the verge of saying "wassuuuuup!!!" when he spoke on the phone with his friends; and Jim Connors, the dreamer who dared to open a Boston-themed sports bar in Santa Monica, California. I also enjoyed hearing from the young guy in the wheelchair, for whom the spirit of the Red Sox appeared to mean more than, perhaps, for some other fans. On a personal note, I was hit particularly hard by his description of the accident which put him in his wheelchair. Apparently this took place in a boating accident at Hale Reservation, which lies in the Dover/Westwood area right outside Boston. Our family used to go boating and swimming there all the time, when I was a kid. Bostonians can expect many familiar references along these lines from this film, as interviewees walk through local neighborhoods, restaurants, etc.
Theo Epstein has some pretty engaging scenes in this film, memorably the moment in which he must grapple with being called a "nerd" in a gigantic headline with an accompanying, unflattering photo, on the front page of the Boston Herald. Don't you just hate when that happens?!?
Viewers from outside New England may want to prepare themselves for the Boston accent, and Boston phraseology, which is pretty hardcore here at times. FYI, "wicked" means "very." Trust me, this is really helpful information... You might want to bone up by watching a few reruns of Cliff Clavin on "Cheers," or by listening to some of the hockey players from Boston in the recent hockey film "Miracle." I think that some of those actors must have been local boys, because I don't think I've ever heard the Boston accent nailed so dead-on perfectly onscreen.
When the film gets into the actual clubhouse, bullpen and dugout, we get to see how hilarious Pedro Martinez can be in person. David Ortiz is a real card as well... I would have liked to see more footage of the awesome Kevin Millar, who, in my personal opinion, sometimes starts to sound disturbingly like Boomhauer from "King of the Hill," when they interview him immediately after a game, and he's so exhausted that he can't even speak clearly. Another funny thing, that I would have liked to have seen covered more, is the way that local TV stations always cue quasi-subliminal Evil Empire music from Star Wars, when covering the Yankees. That always cracks me up.
A few interviewees compare being a lifelong Red Sox fan with being chronically mistreated, in a dysfunctional relationship with a neglectful, or otherwise recalcitrant, significant other. This made me chuckle knowingly... It is also interesting to hear how the traditional desire of the Red Sox for a World Series championship so often gets intermingled with the enmity towad the Yankees. If you think about it, the two topics don't necessarily need to be connected, but of course they always are. In interviews, discussion of the one topic seems perennially to lead ineluctably, if not logically, to discussion of the other.
Some of the players are curiously difficult to recognize, considering that this is only from last year (as of the time that I'm writing). It's like three quarters of the team went for Extreme Makeovers. I'm not sure why this might be, but many of the players now have very different haircuts, beards, etc from 2003.
As I'm writing this, October 11, 2004, the Red Sox eternal quest to win a World Series looks a heck of a lot less quixotic than it generally does. Could this be The Year??? They swept the Angels in three games just a few days ago, and the Yankees, it appears, are next. They just don't come across as "underdogs" these days, but, dare I say it, more as a battalion of unstoppable baseball Terminators! I hereby join the fans interviewed, my newfound friends from this fine, fun film, in fervently praying oh please... oh please... let this be The Year!"