The Final Season
|The Final Season|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Mickey Evans|
|Written by||Art D'Alessandro|
Rachael Leigh Cook
|Music by||Nathan Wang|
|Edited by||Harry Kerimidas|
|Distributed by||Yari Film Group
The Final Season is a 2007 baseball film starring Sean Astin, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tom Arnold, Powers Boothe, Brett Claywell, Michael Angarano, and Marshall Bell and directed by David Mickey Evans. The film wrapped production in 2006 in Shellsburg, Iowa, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was released in the United States and Canada on October 12, 2007, by Yari Film Group.
This is the true story of Kent Stock (Sean Astin), who in 1991 takes on what he perceives as the job of a lifetime as head coach of the Norway High School baseball team, a school which has won 19 state titles and has a baseball tradition in Iowa tantamount to that of the New York Yankees nationally.
Kent is unaware that he has been picked by the school's principal, pushing a consolidation of Norway with a larger school district, to replace legendary Tigers coach Jim Van Scoyoc to have a losing season and destroy the baseball program, around which town opposition to the consolidation is centered. In turn, thinking Kent's only head coaching experience is as a girl's volleyball coach, the principal is unaware he was a star player for his Division III college baseball team and a student of the game.
Several of the team's returning stars refuse to go out for Kent, who must win over the rest and convince them, the skeptical townspeople and himself that he can fill their former coach's shoes, all while dealing with the reality that this will be the team's final season due to the impending merger. With the support of a young female state auditor whose findings helped push through the merger, and a gadfly baseball writer from Des Moines who is following the team, Kent learns to motivate the team his own way.
In May 1991, Norway High's baseball tradition ended on a triumphant but somber note as it wins its 20th state championship in its final season. A video clip of actual coach Kent Stock thanking Van Scoyoc publicly for the opportunity opens the final scene.
The film depicts the Norway School District merging with the "Madison School District". Norway actually was consolidated into the Benton Community School District.
- Sean Astin as Kent Stock
- Rachael Leigh Cook as Polly Hudson
- Michael Angarano as Mitch Akers
- Powers Boothe as Jim Van Scoyoc
- Tom Arnold as Burt Akers
- Brett Claywell as Patrick Iverson
- Marshall Bell as Harvey Makepeace
- Danielle Savre as Cindy Iverson
- James Gammon as Jared (Grandpa) Akers
- Jesse Henecke as Principal Halberstorm
- Larry Miller as Roger Dempsey
- Roscoe Myrick as Sammy
- Chris Olsen as Eddie Fitz
- Angela Paton as Ann Akers
- Nick Livingston as Kevin
- Ryan Flood as Baseball Player #4
- Nick Schmitt as Baseball player #5 Norway team
- Nathan Pyan as Baseball Player #10 Norway team
- Josh Merino as Reed Ellis
The Final Season received mainly negative to mixed reviews from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "Rotten" rating of 26%, based on 50 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 43 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews". The film grossed $1,159,691 in the USA.
- Sports action was by Rob Miller of ReelSports.
- Amy Acker and Eliza Dushku were at one point cast in the role of Polly, but both dropped out because of scheduling conflicts.
- Cameraman Roland Schlotzhauer was killed during a helicopter crash while filming a scene in the movie. His Bell 206 helicopter hit a powerline and crashed in a field, killing him and injuring the pilot and a producer.