The Other Dream Team - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Other Dream Team Reviews

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January 14, 2013
In 1988 the United States felt crushed that they lost the gold medal in the Seoul Olympic games to the Soviet Union men's basketball team. This documentary shows us why we shouldn't have felt so demoralized over that defeat as the Soviets used four Lithuanian players to win that coveted medal -- four Lithuanians who detested everything the USSR stood for. A mere four years later -- after the destruction of the Soviet Union -- the Lithuanians were able to compete under their own national flag and strive to become medal contenders for their own national glory.
August 17, 2014
If you're someone who finds history in text books to often be difficult to read, this film approaches history from a human and cultural perspective. It gives you insights into the lives and people who fought for freedom from the soviet union and what life was like at that time. It keeps you at the edge of your seat rooting the Lithuanians to their victory, their freedom. One of the best films I have seen that is able to blend the story of individual triumph, a nation's fight for freedom, basketball, and even music.
October 5, 2012
Amazing story, lost in the shadow of the Dream Team. Great movie.
July 28, 2013
Great documentary through the lens of Basketball, but captures the story of a nation and its people.
½ June 19, 2013
More of a political and historical documentary than sports documentary, The Other Dream Team provides a story of inspiring figures that took part in a monumental but forgotten moment of European history. The film just occasionally loses its focus from the story in an unnecessary attempt to connect to the current.
October 1, 2012
Amazing heart felt movie about the underdogs.
½ March 30, 2013
must-see if you're a sports fan - even more if you're into Basketball!
February 3, 2013
Great film through the lens of Basketball, but captures the story of a nation and its people.
January 5, 2013
Wonderful movie on several levels - basketball, history, Lithuanian culture - a feel good movie
December 28, 2012
Fabulous film--loved it!!
December 27, 2012
Top five documentary of 2012, and top sports documentary for sure.
December 26, 2012
Even for people that know the story well, it's interesting to watch to learn more about the individuals that played for the team.
November 6, 2012
Dave Zirin, one of America‚(TM)s most prolific political sportswriter, wrote that ‚the very passion we invest in sports can transform it from a kind of mindless escape into a site of resistance.‚? With all the pomp and circumstance we afford sports today - the 24-hour cycle of media coverage, greedy ownership, athletic merchandising and advertisements ‚" sports have become merely another cog in today‚(TM)s economic globalization. For the younger generation, it may be hard to fathom that before the Michael Jordans, Lebron James, and Tiger Woods, it was the Muhammad Alis, John Carlos and Tommie Smiths that globalized their respective sports, not through commercial means, but political ones.

As an avid sports fan, I find that sports is at its most entertaining when it is infused with some sort of political implication. And anyone who dares to suggest that sports and politics should never coexist is mind-numbingly misinformed. While we still see the cultural and political resonance in international sports today, American sports has been politically starving for quite some time. Consider soccer‚(TM)s international stage, specifically the ‚El Clasico‚? matches between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. The sport becomes a political means of contestation between divided factions within the nation. Imagine how great the NFL would be if their games had a hint of cultural and political significance. Why don‚(TM)t we encourage and cheer for the defeat of the Arizona Cardinals, a state that encourages racist policies and treatment of immigrants? We do not because this is a testament to how successfully corporate America has shielded us from the everyday concerns of this country. Sport is cheered because it comforts us from real worries. Don‚(TM)t worry about Hurricane Sandy. The New York Knicks and the Miami Heat are playing!

The reason I bring this up is because in Marius Markevicius‚(TM)s new film ‚The Other Dream Team,‚? not only does it reveal how sports became a form of resistance but it is contrasted with the moment when sports was devaluing in American society. ‚The Other Dream‚? is a compelling and insightful documentary about the Lithuanian basketball team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Before Lithuania was a sovereign nation, it was a tiny nation sandwiched between two oppressive countries, Germany and the Soviet Union. The film chronicles the extent to which the Soviet Union ruled this tiny population with an iron fist. At the center of the film are Sarunas Marculionis and Arvydas Sabonis, the two stars of the Lithuanian basketball team. The former was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and the latter played for the Portland Trailblazers. The film juxtaposes the extreme political conditions in which they lived under with the fact that they played for the USSR. In the ‚(TM)88 Olympics, four Lithuanian players made up the Soviet team and helped lead their oppressive rulers lift the gold. Despite their exceptional talent, the government hindered their progress as they made it difficult for them to play in the NBA.

After the end of the Cold War, Lithuania gained its independence. Then with the 1992 Olympics coming up, Lithuania saw a window of opportunity to present themselves in the world‚(TM)s stage. With the funding from the Grateful Dead and sporting totally awesome psychedelic tie-dye shirts, the Lithuanian basketball team played for more than just victory. They played for resistance. They played for identity and nationalism. Although they eventually lost to the Dream Team in the semi-finals, it was the third-place match against the Soviet Union that was pivotal for the nation.

Markevicius does a very good job at always focusing on the political aspects of the story. He strays away from the typical norms in sports films. What I love most about the film though is perhaps unintended by the director. While the film is ultimately about the Lithuanian basketball team and how the sport served as a weapon of resistance, it conversely reveals the deterioration of politics in American sports. Although the film hardly focuses on it, the contrast is there. The formulation of America‚(TM)s Dream Team may have some political significance. With the Cold War nearing its end, their need to reclaim the gold from the Soviet Union is very much in the back of their minds. Yet, the dominance of the USA team always remained at a superficial basketball level. They were not playing for nationalization. They played for fame at a global level. I believe this set the trend for basketball, once America‚(TM)s most politically laden sport, to become part of the economic globalization.

‚The Other Dream Team‚? is great in that it proves sport is inherently political, even when it is not.
½ October 28, 2012
Terrific documentary film; More of a history lesson than a sports story. Well worth your time.
October 27, 2012
Phenomenal film about the rebirth of the Lithuanian Olympic Basketball set against the historical events of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Loved the pace of the timeline and added bits of humor. Great film for basketball fans from all countries.
October 20, 2012
Great story about a triumph over tyranny and another on the basketball court. Told with just the right amount of historic context and sporting enthusiasm.
October 20, 2012
Much, much better than the trailer, which itself made me want to see the movie in the first place.
October 20, 2012
Saw it Friday evening. Very well done. Inspiring. Humorous. Informative. Emotional. Again, well done!
October 16, 2012
A remarkable documentary! Highly recommended for someone who experienced it first-hand, and anyone who may want some insight into what ties Lithuania, basketball and one nation's strive for freedom!
October 20, 2012
Fantastic movie!! Whether you're into sports, politics, history, the Grateful Dead, this film has something for everyone. Very well executed, this pulls at the heart-strings of anyone who can empathize with the trials and strength of the human spirit.
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