American Pastime (2007)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Gary Cole, Aaron Yoo, John Gries, and Judy Ongg star in an inspirational small town drama exploring the lingering effects of World War II on Japanese-American citizens struggling to overcome lingering hostilities and be accepted in country they now call home. The Nomuras are a typical American family who just happen to be of Japanese heritage. When World War II breaks out and the Nomuras are ushered into the Topaz internment camp, teenage son Lyle (Yoo) becomes the target of harassment to camp guard and frustrated minor league catcher Billy Burrell. Lyle is a star pitcher who had been accepted into college on a baseball scholarship, but was subsequently forced to abandon his dreams when his family was interned. Billy's daughter is a musical instructor at the camp, and when she and Lyle strike up a tenuous romance, tensions quickly come to a head between the two families. Hoping that the two families will be able to find a common ground due to their mutual love of baseball, Lyle's father proposes a goodwill game between Burrell's team and the internees. As the two teams take to the diamond for a game organized to unite them all, the small town's tolerance will be put to the ultimate test in a match that reveals the true spirit of American culture.
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Warner Home Video

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Aaron Yoo
as Lyle Nomura
Gary Cole
as Billy Burrell
Masatoshi Nakamura
as Kaz Nomura
Judy Ongg
as Emi Nomura
Sarah Drew
as Katie Burrell
Carlton Bluford
as Lester Johnson
Jon Gries
as Ed Tully
Tod Huntington
as Corporal Mack
Charles Halford
as Corporal Norris
K.J. Adachi
as Little Bambino
Richard Allen
as Joe Johnson
Jeff Herr
as Director Watson
John Kruck
as Announcer
Kerry Shimizu Lee
as Rose Hirose
Joey Miyashima
as Dissident
Jeff Olson
as Umpire
Sami Roe
as Jimmy Gorney
Seth Sakai
as Morita
Susanna Thompson
as Shirley Burrell
Leroy 'Big Buddha' Teo
as Bambino Hirose
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Critic Reviews for American Pastime

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

A moving, heartfelt drama.

Full Review… | May 11, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

With such rich material about dreams deferred, it's disheartening that co-writer-director Desmond Nakano's nobly made but patchy drama mires itself in nostalgia tropes and storytelling clichés.

May 10, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Full of interesting characters and placed in a charged setting, but the preachy and obvious spin it takes is ultimately melodramatic and predictable.

Full Review… | August 24, 2010
Movie Views

American Pastime asks what it truly means to be an American. What better question to ask these days?

Full Review… | November 15, 2007

While everything else about Pastime is very good, it's all rooted in a mediocre screenplay.

Full Review… | June 9, 2007

While historically sensitive and thought-provoking, the film has serious flaws. The story line is scattered and the direction uneven.

May 16, 2007
Fresno Bee

Audience Reviews for American Pastime

I am a complete sucker for these kinds of movies. This movie touches the heart. It is a good reminder that the American-Japanese went through a hard time during WWII, not just the Jews. Though America was not so harsh on Japanese, as Germans were to the Jews, they still deserve recognition for their plight. Add a little baseball rivalry, forbidden romance, and questions of honor to this story, and we have a nicely done little film...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


A nice little drama gem I found on Netflix. Could it have been better? Sure, but the film does it's job and I think is a good introductory film to a very dark period in American history- when hundreds of thousands of American citizens were denied thier rights, great loss of property and livelihoods. Set against the backdrop of baseball and jazz music, the actors did a really good job and told it's tale.

Bobby Diablo
Bobby Diablo

Though guided with bland acting from mostly unknown actors, the film is able to simply portray Japanese American internment, a mostly unknown subject. Lyle Nomura is an talented pitcher with a college scholarship. This all changes when he is forced to leave with his family and head to a internment camp. Lyle's older brother Lane forms a baseball league in the camp to help people cope with there imprisonment. The film also stars Gary Cole (The West Wing, Dodgeball) as a guard and minor league baseball player named Billy Burrell. The movie is simple and gives people an understanding of a subject they may have not even known about. You do sympathize with the japanese characters, but, mostly because of it's bland acting, the film does not draw you into the plot. Things like the relationship between Lyle and the Billy's daughter or Lane joining the army are not inspiring or interesting.

Andrew Schuessler
Andrew Schuessler

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