American Pastime - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American Pastime Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 19, 2013
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...
½ March 16, 2013
The only words I can come up with, to discribe this movie is, moving, inspiring, thoughtful, but most of all WATCH IT!
Nine 'critics' can only come up with 33%? They better get retrained for some other type of employment!
½ February 17, 2013
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.
½ October 7, 2010
During WW 2 Japanese -Americans were sent to a internment camp were lots of prejudice and bitter feelings existed. Through a baseball game a lot of tensions are dealt with and some even healed. Pretty good movie all the way through.
September 23, 2010
When I found out that americans had also locked all the japanese living in the US in concentration camps (let's face it, tha's what it was) I was shocked and apalled, I know they didn't torture or killed them like the nazis did, but it still was awful.
Anyhoo, I've always found baseball boring, so I wasn't very interested. It was ok, the plot ending was very much predictable and it was the typical american drama when the bad guy ends up doing the right thing and justice wins, normal stuff for these kind of films
May 10, 2010
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.
May 10, 2010
As you know, I like to glance at what idiots on IMDB have to say on various subjects. There's one over there--there's always one!--who has declared that huge amounts of the people interned in the camps [i]weren't even citizens[/i]. Which, of course, is true. Oh, huge numbers were, but yeah, a lot weren't. Of course, it was also the law at the time that those born in Japan couldn't become citizens. It didn't matter how long they lived here. It didn't matter how much they wanted to be. It was flat illegal. The person also says that not all Japanese-Americans went to the camps; didn't we know about the famous Japanese-American units in the Army? Which, of course, [i]also[/i] shows a lack of important information, as those units were raised from the camps. The guy claims that everyone in the camps was there because they refused to swear allegiance to the US. In short, it's amazing how ignorant people are of this time in US history. Jeanne Watatsuki Houston, for one, would be amazed at that statement, given that she was seven when she was put into the camp at Manzanar and not exactly given the choice. George Takei was five. His father was such an Anglophile that George is actually his birthname. Not exactly the action of a man passionately determined to fight for Japan.

In early 1942, Roosevelt issued an executive order that sent all Japanese-Americans (except those in Hawaii, where it just wasn't feasible) to internment camps, mostly scattered across the West. Lyle Nomura (Aaron Yoo) had a baseball scholarship to college, but of course he can't go now--he has to go to Utah instead, to the Topaz internment camp. Conflict with his father, Kaz (Masatoshi Nakamura), keeps him off his father's team, though he shows up camp guard Sergeant Billy Burrell (Gary Cole), himself a former minor-league player--as was Kaz. Lyle also develops a love affair with Burrell's daughter, Katie (Sarah Drew), which of course drives every Anglo who learns about it crazy.

In fact, one of the people in the town, barber Ed Tully (Jon Gries), is adamant that the internees are responsible for everything. Burrell's son is killed in Japan, and it's the fault of "those people in there"--many of whom have never even been to Japan and have no concept of the country as anything more than Where My Parents (and even grandparents, in some cases!) Came From. Oh, there's almost certainly some loyalty there; I am interested in my family's Irish history, and I know a few people who are all but obsessed with their families' Scottish history. But if you asked these people to go to war with Scotland against the US, it just wouldn't happen. Having pride in where you come from, it turns out, is not the same as sabotaging where you are. Such was the case with the Japanese in the US, too--not one incident of actual sabotage by Japanese-Americans ever happened in the United States during the war.

Above a certain age, everyone playing someone in the camps was actually in the camps. Not the younger characters--not Lyle, his brother Lane (Leonard Nam), or Lane's girlfriend (Yukari Kama, who never gets a character name), obviously. But probably a lot of the extras, even. A few were born in Hawaii, and therefore probably weren't, and in fact the man playing the father was born in Japan in 1951. (He looks older.) But if you were Japanese or of Japanese descent on the US mainland in 1942, you went to the camps. It was really that simple.

The fact is, there was a lot of paranoia even before World War II. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was just a flashpoint to emotion that was already there. This film attempts to show how normal these people were--and they were, for the most part, normal. Just ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. But the fact is, if everything had been all ordinary for the Japanese-Americans, the internment would not have been possible on such a wide scale. People of German and Italian descent were mostly safe--this is in no small part because [i]huge[/i] amounts of the US population is of German descent--unless they actively espoused fascist views. But the Japanese looked different, and no one had ever trusted Asians in the US. (There was actually a constitutional provision in California that the vote was forbidden to "criminals, idiots, and the Chinese.") People like Ed Tully weren't made overnight. This film is trying to show us one relatively light aspect of those years, but it can't escape the racism entirely--it doesn't try to. Lane comes home from the war as an officer, and Tully won't give the man a haircut.
May 10, 2010
[font=Times New Roman][size=3][color=#000000]I saw ?American Pastime? on Saturday, and my only disappointment with the evening, was the meager size of the audience. There were only a handful of people in the theater. This film deserves a wide audience, hence my score and this high and enthusiastic endorsement.[/color][/size][/font]

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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about the Japanese-American internment during WWII. My father and uncle were imprisoned at Mathausen in the European side of WWII. Despite my previous exposure and direct family experience, this film was still a revelation. My previous knowledge of the Japanese-American WWII experience was based mostly on plays, documentaries, and reading. Watching documentaries, particularly with interviews of camp survivors, is always very moving and heartrending. Although a dramatic fictionalized film, seeing the daily indignities and humiliations endured by the Japanese-Americans gave me even a deeper understanding of their experience. [/font][/color][/size]

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[size=3][color=#000000][font=Times New Roman]Let anyone reading this conclude that the film is a ?downer,? rest assured that despite the subject matter, it is ultimately a life-affirming, spiritually uplifting film, and ironically, entertaining. The director and screenwriter have created a compelling story, which illuminates an egregious breach of justice in US history. Yet the story is very engaging, as are the talented cast of characters. The screenplay is evenhanded and compassionate, including the point of view of the guards and townspeople near the camp. Go see it. You will learn something, while being uplifted and entertained. [/font][/color][/size]
½ October 12, 2009
I don't care what the critics say, this was a great movie. An interesting look at the life inside a Japanese internment camp and the way different people cope with being in or working in the camp. I thought the emotions portrayed by the actors were very real and touching. The message of how people can change their perspectives and opinions of others for the better is a great one.
½ October 5, 2009
A nice fictionalized story about the Japanese internment experience. Desmond Nakano has a point to make in this movie and he succeeds in conveying that message. A must see if you want learn what American did to Americans by a paranoid FDR administration.
½ September 23, 2009
A glimpse of what life was like in the Japanese-American internment camps in Utah during WW II. Basically talks about the discrimination they experienced all wrapped up in a baseball game. Nothing new here, but done with a delicate hand.
August 11, 2009
interests of people jazz music and baseball. The cinematography is fantastic. this film was a compilation of the experiences of the japanese as a prisoner of world war 2. lot of serious situation at the same time the viewer will laugh cry and laugh and above all will think about the discrimination of the japs( Japanese ).. the end part is a perfect represantation of equality they deserves to have their haircuts..
I loved this movie. this movie is must seen movie!
August 7, 2009
it shown here the common interests odf people jazz music and basebal. The cinematography is fantastic. this film was a compilation of the experiences of the japanese as a prisoner of world war 2. lot of serious situation at the same time the viewer will laugh cry and laugh and above all will think about the discrimination of the japs( Japanese ).. the end part is a perfect represantation of equality they deserves to have their haircuts..
I loved this movie. this movie is must seen movie!
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2009
An interesting portrayal of the internment camps the Japanese-Americans were placed in during WWII
September 3, 2008
I thought this movie was a pretty good depicture of the time Japanese-Americans were going through in the '40s. I like the fact they explained how baseball was such a phenomenal culture-clashing sport that really made people come together. Aaron Yoo surpised me with his role as Lyle. He played him very well. Gary Cole also played a phenomenal character as well, as he played the father who changes from a society's "hater" to a believer and leader. The supporting characters were also wonderful. This was agreat film and very touching. Great movie to watch.
July 21, 2008
Well, two of my favorite subjects combined into one well-told story: baseball and World War II. This is a better movie of the prejudice and oppression of Japanese-Americans internment than of the game of baseball. My sole criticism from a sports fan's perspective is that the actual baseball talent depicted was not believable. It made me wonder if they could have casted better athletes for stunt doubles or actors who could also pitch a pretty good fastball. As for the perspective of the war and American ignorance, this film tells it all. Overall, a movie that most would enjoy.
July 12, 2008
The most expensive haircut ever paid for.
June 30, 2008
This was a really good movie.Great cast too.
June 30, 2008
Has a lot of gayness which doesn't go anywhere. One true, possible american pastime.
May 22, 2008
Sure it was very predictable, standard formula-like, and looked like a made for TV movie, but it is one of the few movies which deals with internment camps and overall quite enjoyable.
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