Synopsis by Nathan Southern
When envisioning real-life penitentiary sports, forget about the bone-crunching comedy of The Longest Yard - the San Quentin Giants baseball games that transpire inside the barbed-wire electric fences of San Quentin State Prison, as supervised by guards with semi-automatic rifles, are unflinchingly brutal, scabrous and violent. In their documentary The Bad Boys of Summer, directors Tiller Russell and Loren Mendell's observe this on-the-diamond action in such an unusual venue, but travel a step or two further by presenting a series of unforgettable character studies. We meet both the coach assigned to reform the men's lives even as he guides the team to victory, and the psychologically and emotionally troubled players - who despite crime and vice-ridden individual histories invariably retain cores of humanity and grace, exposed time and again by the directors.
baseball, behind-the-scenes, coach, convict, maximum-security, prison, season [sports]