Metascore
43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. 50
    Evans' goal is to do for high school baseball what "Hoosiers" did for high school basketball, but to mention both titles in one sentence is almost an insult to a picture that many rank as the first or second all-time sports film.
  2. Follows a predictable format.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    The movie is decent and heartfelt, and it eventually settles into some sharp diamond action, but the small-town homilies are dropped like an anvil. If you thought 1993's "Rudy" was too spare and unsentimental, Final Season is for you.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    63
    Yes it's as corny as Kansas in August, but this admittedly formulaic sports drama is base on a true story and has something important to say about the fate of many small Midwestern American towns whose popular sports teams fall victim to school consolidation.
  5. There's a sign on the way into Norway, or at least a sign that somebody from the film crew put up: "On the eighth day, God created baseball." If amen is your answer to that, then The Final Season is the movie for you.
  6. 50
    Exactly the formulaic, by-the-numbers movie it appears to be. These Tigers deserved better.
  7. 42
    All these stereotypes are meant to exalt small-town values, but The Final Season is proof that it's hard to paint masterpiece in broad strokes.
  8. 50
    This takes place in the same sort of pathologically sports-obsessed hamlet as "Friday Night Lights," though in contrast to that movie's grim honesty there's enough heartland schmaltz here to embarrass John Mellencamp. Remarkably, the movie rights itself once the actual season begins, focusing on game strategy more than the usual heart-stopping pep talks.
  9. Poor writing, an indifferent production and sincere but often wooden acting make "Season" one big strikeout.
  10. There are too many unearned runs to fully embrace this underdog triumph.
  11. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    25
    Viewers who don’t flee the intrusively uplifting soundtrack and choking sentiment get just what that opening promised: a by-the-numbers, based-in-reality inspirational sports movie, thick with overwhelming pride and nostalgia for small-town farmland America.
  12. Reviewed by: Toddy Burton
    11
    Kind of "Hoosiers": Part 2. But the storytelling is so backassward that it’s impossible to care about any of the characters or really engage in the movie whatsoever.
  13. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    60
    Formulaic but not cynical, The Final Season has some sweet, thoughtful passages in what is otherwise just one more well-meaning inspirational sports movie.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    50
    In a movie where the timing of a squeeze bunt is presented as the thing of beauty that it is, and the eradication of small-town culture in a changing world is a genuine concern, the simplifying countrified morality of The Final Season is the real crying shame.
  15. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    50
    There's not quite as much corn in The Final Season as there is in the Iowa farm fields that run through it, but it's close.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Mayo
    50
    Nathan Wang's score borrows blatantly from "The Natural" and is slathered on thick in all the big emotional scenes. They establish the right nostalgic mood, but it's broken with that loud "ping" of a metal bat every time a kid gets a hit.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. ChadS.
    Apr 16, 2008
    6
    Same nickname, different sport, but the same theme that ran through Kenneth A. Carlson's "Go Tigers!", the 2001 documentary about a small town's obsession with its football team, runs through "The Final Season", as well. Which is: People should get a life. When an Iowaian school board votes to shut down Norway High School and have it merge with a sister school, a bigger school, academics is brought up briefly, only given lip service, by a woman with two college-aged children, before much of the town hall hubbub returns to, and revolves around the tiny high school's decorated baseball team. In "Go Tigers!", we can see with alarming clarity how those sports-minded townsfolk have their priorities all mixed up. In a sports call-in show, one concerned football fan complains that the Masillion players are hitting the books too hard. The father of a Norway player in "The Final Season" attends his son's game against doctor's orders, despite the possibility of imminent death. "The Final Season" treats this unflagging loyalty as cute, not demented, but that's because this "Hoosiers" for baseball purists slathers on so much corn syrup, fanaticism gets sugar-coated. "The Final Season" doesn't see a problem with a culture that's centered around the fortunes of its high school sports teams. There's no sane person like the Barbara Hershey character in the David Anspaugh-directed film about Indiana high school basketball, who speaks as an advocate for education. In the postscript, no mention is made about the academic progress of the transplanted Norway student body. Like most people when it comes to academic institutions, "The Final Season" seems only concerned about the school's athletic programs. The bigger school, we learn, has yet to produce a championship season. But is that a tragedy, if the kids of Norway are receiving a better education? Full Review »
  2. GayleneR.
    Feb 19, 2008
    9
    Great family film with terrific values and discussion points. If you love baseball it will push all your buttons.
  3. ToddB.
    Oct 23, 2007
    10
    Never trust a movie critic. This was a good movie that my family and friends loved, so much that the audience all cheered at the end. Make an effort to see it you won't be sorry. Full Review »