Historically known as a national pastime, baseball has led to the creation of everlasting traditions and bonds. Tomorrow’s Game, from directors Jonathan Coria and Trevor Wilson, follows the traditional template of a feel-good sports movie. Throughout the 85-minute runtime, the protagonist overcomes hardship and comes out of the experience wiser, but the filmmakers throw in time travel and dabble in sports broadcasting culture for good measure.
Santiago De La Rosa (Carlo Mendez) is a renowned baseball player for the Jethawks. Screenwriters Eduardo Nikandros Organista and Kathleen Keefe quickly get this detail across with a 1986 interview of Santiago at the height of his fame. He took the world by storm, and it isn’t surprising that in 2002, he was invited to join the Hall of Fame. Santiago’s teenage nephew, Daniel De La Rosa (Alejandro De Anda), is on his way to that ceremony.
Moody and uninterested in the sport, viewers see Daniel halfheartedly answering questions broached by the driver, Jorge (Paul Rodriguez), one of Santiago’s biggest fans. While you can’t fault Daniel for not liking the sport, he doesn’t seem to appreciate his uncle’s success. Daniel meets up with his uncle (now a pleasant David Arturo Sanchez) while Santiago reminisces about his first major league game. He plans to play the only tape of the broadcast during the ceremony. After Santiago leaves the room, Daniel knocks down the tape player. Suddenly, the tape won’t stop spinning, and the lights flash. Soon, Daniel wakes up in 1957.
“Being stuck in the past, Daniel learns to appreciate his uncle…”
When time travel is involved, the narrative can get muddled. But this isn’t the case with Tomorrow’s Game. Since the drama accommodates viewers of all ages, what Daniel must do to return home is easy to follow. Admittedly, the low budget likely got in the way of more exhaustive period details and nods, but the heart and motivation that drives each character are firmly established.
Being stuck in the past, Daniel learns to appreciate his uncle and his deeper motivation to make his family proud. At the same time, his respect for the game grows with the help of Sally McDavies (an animated Miranda Meadows), an avid baseball fan who imparts to him the bittersweet nature of competition. “The pitcher and batter are locked in this moment in time,” Sally says in one of the more memorable interactions, passionately relaying to both Daniel and viewers this idea of a “competitive embrace.” You recognize part of the appeal at this moment, baseball fan or not.
There are segments of physical comedy throughout Tomorrow’s Game. In one scene, Daniel, Sally, and even a younger Jorge (an exuberant Jerry Hernandez) clumsily plan and execute a heist. While doing so, Daniel awkwardly stumbles into the world of sports broadcasting and comes face-to-face with a smarmy broadcaster named Jared (Michael Broderick). The harebrained antics are fun, and it’s during the dynamic broadcasting segments that Alejandro De Anda feels more comfortable in the role.
But despite good intentions, the brisk pacing takes away from key moments, including when Daniel upsets Sally and attempts to comfort her with baseball terminology. It would’ve been more emotionally gratifying to see the tender interactions play out longer than they do. Still, as it stands, the movie is an enjoyable watch for families, featuring a fair amount of baseball (in slo-mo close-ups) and positive messages about family and personal growth.
So, while Tomorrow’s Game is not a home run, the filmmakers’ appreciation for the sport is on full display. This indie sports movie has enough heart and charm to go around.
"…has enough heart and charm to go around."