A decent ‘Season’ for the kids

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

“The Final Season”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Yari Film Group

Every once in a while a movie comes around that reminds us why we love the great American game of baseball. “The Final Season” isn’t quite that movie, but its efforts are commendable.

The film begins slowly in the template of a classic sports movie. There’s uplifting theme music (pretty much stolen from “D2: The Mighty Ducks”) and a montage of small-town America – the plains, cows and, of course, baseball. The 19-time state champion Norway Tigers are joined by new coach Kent Stock (Sean Astin, “Rudy”) in tandem with the struggle to keep the school from being closed down because of money. Sure enough, the ruling dictates that the school will close, ushering in the team’s “final season.” Creative title, I know.

The movie isn’t original or particularly well made, but that’s hardly the point. The film thrives on its sense of community. And it’s almost unfair to have Astin headline. Despite the guy’s lazy and unconvincing acting, having played Rudy, he’s the entertainment icon of inspiration.

Stereotypical and quaint, “The Final Season” doesn’t quite do it like “The Sandlot” or even “Rookie of the Year,” but its hometown nostalgia and sentimentality make it almost worthwhile.

NOAH DEAN STAHL

A bouquet of mainstream ‘Flowers’

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Sean Hayes

Flowering Spade

Ambient Egg

For the uninitiated, San Francisco acoustic artist Sean Hayes is best summed up by the unkempt hair of the Diag harmonica player with only a fraction of his casual charm. Listening to Hayes’s latest attempt, Flowering Spade, you might feel transplanted inside a Banana Republic, J. Crew or Starbucks. Hayes’s music purveys an innocuous consumerist calm without the messy complications of profundity. This is best construed through Hayes’s voice, itself having a sort of soft amorphous texture, eschewing range for subdued vibrato on “All for Love.”

While Hayes lets the guitar do most of the talking, the mahogany isn’t saying much – simple, repetitive melodies perfect for sipping iced tea. “Cool Hand” and “Sufidrop” bring a banjo into the fray, the latter the most challenging of the album for the addition of double-dubbing and a clap-track.

Hayes’s occassionally inane lyrics are better left in the background. He unironically proclaims “he has a flowering spade growing out of his chest full of magic and healing.” Study away to the magic-filled Spade, but be wary of its banal wizardry. He comes to The Blind Pig Nov. 1.

JERRY GORDINIER

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