15 October 2014
"ALL-STARS" follows a girls' 10-year-old fastpitch softball team and their families through a recreation league season that culminates in the selection of the coveted 10-and-under All-Star team. Lance Grayden, a veteran coach who left the league years ago when his daughter moved to an elite softball club team, and then college, has returned to "give something back" to the community. He assumed he'd be coaching a 16-and-under team of seasoned and accomplished competitors, but instead is saddled with a 10-and-under team of inexperienced players. Not only is he forced to go back to the basics and teach the fundamentals of the game to the little girls, half of whom would rather be in the dugout eating snacks, but he also faces the greater challenge of riding herd over their over-eager, overly ambitious, and entirely delusional parents whose ridiculous behavior is more suited to five-year-olds than adults. Lance also faces a personal decision about whether it's more important to win at all costs or to teach the girls something their parents seem to have forgotten: that each player is a valuable member of the team and fair play is more important than winning. Even though he knows what the answer should be, Lance's moral compass is severely tested by the relentless take-no-prisoners mentality of the parents as well as his own ambitions and innate drive to win. He may be dealing with eight, nine, and ten-year-old little girls, but he is, after all, only human. Meanwhile, each parent is on a mission to ensure that their nine-year-old prodigy is recognized as the elite athlete they imagine her to be, whether or not she possesses one whit of actual athletic ability. The parents' blind ambitions, combined with their grand delusions, give each parent the baseless notion that the Holy Grail - an All-Star jacket with their child's name on the back - is not only within reach, but is her God-given-birthright. "All-Stars" provides a hilarious commentary on the state of all youth sports today, fueled by the outrageous behavior of the desperate sports parent living vicariously through his or her child. In the vein of a Christopher Guest film - think "Best in Show" where it's more about the dog owners than the dogs - "All-Stars" is about the adults involved in youth sports (parents, coaches, umpires, volunteers, board members, etc.) more than the kids.
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