Alex Reviews "It Ain't Over"
Sometimes, reviewing a film is incredibly difficult because the content is perplexing. Other times, the problem lies in not being able to really evaluate based on the information we have. In the case of It Ain’t Over, I face a new challenge based on personal knowledge, so let’s just go in order, or as the subject of this documentary in Mr. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra might say, “Start at the beginning.”
Mr. Berra is likely the answer to the trivia questions, “Who is the best baseball player you ever met more than once?” and “Who is the most famous person you ever talked with?” Allow me to explain here: my father is a life-long Yankees fan and my grandparents worked for the Mets, so my bedtime stories would often include what would become known as “Yogi-isms, so I have a sincere love for the man and how he treated my family. The archive footage and interviews do tell a great story, and from that aspect it should be recognized in how not to do too much when telling a non-fictional tale, especially here because his life was amazing enough. Sean Mullin directs here exactly as a lower budget project should by relying on allowing the material and simple interviews of noteworthy people who have a real connection do most of the work.
Where it gets difficult for me in evaluating this documentary is in a lot of its presentation. While I enjoyed the background, the historical footage (which is very well placed and presented), and its intent was to defend Yogi’s place in baseball history, it was difficult for me to recover from what felt like whining and moaning from someone in his granddaughter, Lindsay, who didn’t seem to understand her own premise. It is this vibe of “I’d like to speak to the manager because my grandfather wasn’t voted among the four best living baseball players in 2015” that truly left a sour taste in my mouth, and that is how this film STARTS. That snowball effect seemed to overshadow some great moments of the life and times of a man who has literally seen and done it all including serving his country in wartime. I’m not saying that part of It Ain’t Over doesn’t make valid points, but it feels like its belittling of the leading vote getters and the millions of voters who love baseball felt like a move that he would not have approved of.
It Ain’t Over is an inspiring journey, well told and is a must for any fan of baseball, civil rights history, and underdog stories that had to be real. Nobody could ever have invented someone better at overcoming odds than Mr. Yogi Berra. I’d just recommend jumping in at the five-minute mark unless you can separate that “sub plot” from the main narrative.