Much ink and footage has been spent psychoanalyzing how baseball, football and stadiums hold a central place in American culture. The Last Season is able to cover a lot of ground without making big statements.
This documentary captures the almost ritualistic reaction to the demise of Memorial Stadium. The film captures a steady stream of onlookers during the year and half that the wrecking ball swung, creating a time lapse view of a city wrestling with its blue collar past. Emotionally THE LAST SEASON avoids the melancholy quagmire that could come with a documentary about the demolition of a landmark. Instead, the filmmakers constantly vary the mood and perspective with a cast of characters that include fans, ball players, demolition workers, politicians, neigh-borhood activists, journalists, a historian, an architect and a cab driver once famous for leading 50,000 fans to a rollicking boil. In short, THE LAST SEASON is a cultural ethnography slyly told with fast edits and a diverse sound track, much of which came from local musicians.
One moment THE LAST SEASON plays like a music video, the next it bristles with the grit of guerilla journalism. This hit and run documentary bypasses a narrator to make way for Baltimoreans to piece together an oral tradition one story at a time. All the while viewers feel like they are sitting off camera, sharing the filmmakers obvious joy of discovery.
With bonus interviews: Johnny Unitas, Art Donovan, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, Wild Bill Hagey... and more!