A Home Run of a Movie!
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Format: DVD, 94 minutes
Starring: Burgess Jenkins, Justin Miles, R. Keith Harris, Gregory Alan Williams, Mark Joy, Ashlee Payne
Introducing: Nicholas Edwards
About the Movie
A father’s broken relationship with his family fills him with determination to win back the son he left behind. Reaching out through the game they both love, he deliberately forms a baseball team designed to reconnect both fathers and sons, transforming their town in the process. The story shows how one good man can lead change in his community for the common good.
Though I loved watching Johnny Bench’s The Baseball Bunch on TV as a kid, I’m not much of a baseball fan today. So going into Hero knowing only that it was a baseball movie about fathers and sons, I had little to no expectations. Nonetheless, with his portrayal of Joe Finn, principal star Burgess Jenkins immediately won me over. So much so that, despite the knowledge that Joe Finn spent years as an absent father, it took me some time to warm up to his spurned son David (Justin Miles). Burgess is instantly believable as the legendary local Little League coach — until seven years ago when he left town, Joe was the winningest coach in the state. David, the boy Joe left behind, has adjusted his view of his father from hero to not only fallen hero but persona non grata. When Joe returns for his wife’s funeral, it doesn’t help David that his father seems to want to carry on as if he’d never left. Still, Joe is likeable and sincere in his desire to make up for lost time. He’s also doggedly determined to open the eyes of other fathers, cautioning them about losing sight of what matters more than career success — spending time with their boys.
Among the other fathers are a prison inmate and his warden, and it’s interesting to see which one is more involved in and concerned about his son’s future. R. Keith Harris is especially good as Winston Heller, the prisoner. The assembled cast of talented kids play various personalities, all of which are appealing. It’s fun to learn in the bonus materials that the young actors knew little about baseball before being cast in the film. However, after going through a three-week long “baseball boot camp”, many of them developed a love for the game.
Overall, Hero is a strong family film that relies heavily on a few primary adult cast members and a handful of kids. Though the film has an important message to impart, it remains lighthearted and upbeat with a healthy dose of humor. Think of Hero like The Bad News Bears without any off-color humor and with a meaningful storyline to give it true significance. In fact, Hero is one of the strongest small budget Christian films I’ve seen in a while. Visually, with its small town setting, the film strikes the right balance between idyllic and realistic. A tight screenplay keeps the film from dragging, engaging the viewer’s interest throughout, while successfully balancing several smaller story lines centered around different players on the team. The character of Joe Finn is neither too perfect nor too edgy. Instead, the reclaimed hero is a believable balance of charismatic athlete and coach, and devoted, albeit flawed, father. Perhaps the movie’s biggest strength is that it’s a Christian film that should carry a broad appeal since it delivers its messages about fathers and sons in a manner that never feels heavy-handed or preachy.
— Dawn Teresa
4.5 of 5 Hearts. A Home Run of a Movie!
Perfectly cast as Joe Finn, in Hero Burgess Jenkins winningly portrays a flawed father who, while rebuilding his small town’s baseball team, regains the trust and respect of his son.*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the above DVD from Edify Media in exchange for an honest review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”