Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A non-movie about a non-event: HEADING HOME--THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL opens

So full of cheapjack, rah-rah, hooray-for-Israel propaganda that it had me grinding my teeth, HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL has little of the sort of spirit, talent or storytelling smarts of, say, On the Map, the 2016 documentary about the 1977 victory of the Tel Aviv basketball team. And before you shout antiSemitism!, do check out other of the many reviews of Israeli documentaries, narrative films and/or Holocaust-themed films on the TrustMovies blog. But this one, directed by the threesome of Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger (the trio earlier gave us the much better doc, Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie), proves so hammer-it-home obvious, repetitive and unnecessary as it insists upon covering what turns out to be something of a non-event in a manner that ends up as pretty much a non-movie that it left me angry and annoyed at having wasted yet another hour-and-a-half.

Beginning with the fact that this Team Israel (above) is made up of quite a few American players who had never before set foot in Israel (a point also made here by one of the members of a competing team) and continuing through endless plugs for the little middle eastern country that claims, once again in this film, to be the area's only democracy (tell that to the Palestinians in the West Bank who endure constant attacks from the "settlers" even as the Israeli authorities stand by but do nothing),

there is hardly a cliche left unturned here -- from the meaning of "mensch" (the team's mascot, above) to leaving a prayer in the Wailing Wall (at bottom), frolicking on the beach (below), and even getting a typical "tourist" tour of the place. Overall, the film seems as though it was engendered by the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

While the various team members we meet (and meet and meet) seem to be nice enough guys, this is hardly worth building a movie around, and it turns out that we see damned little of the actual baseball games played, culminating in.... but why spoil the non-suspense?  I am no doubt over-reacting to this very mediocre movie, and it may be that there was a story worth telling here. The result, as seen here however, is something that I can only imagine appealing to Jews, and at that, the kind who insist on hearing and seeing only wonderful things about the country of Israel.

From Menemsha Films and running 87 minutes, Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel opens here in South Florida this Friday, February 8, in Delray Beach and Lake Worth at the Movies of Delray and Lake Worth; in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood 16 and Living Room Theaters; in Tamarac at The Last Picture Show; in Fort Lauderdale at the Classic Gateway Theatre; and in Aventura at the AMC Aventura 24

No comments: