Richard Linklater’s “Inning By Inning” Debuts on DVD

The Austin Chronicle

Batter Up

Richard Linklater’s ‘Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach’ debuts on DVD

BY LOUIS BLACK

Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach, Director Richard Linklater’s documentary about legendary University of Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido, will be available

Augie Garrido
Augie Garrido

on DVD June 2. Obviously and quite publicly, Linklater is internationally known as one of the most exciting, innovative, and creative filmmakers working. His passion for sports, both playing and watching, is not as widely known but is also a key to his character. In this new film, Linklater again combines his filmmaking brilliance with his passion for sports. Over the course of his career, when he has done that before, the results have been unique and especially memorable.

Dazed and Confused, his second film, combines football, high school, music, and lifestyle into a very American yet still transcendent tale of growth and change (both personal and generational). Over the years the film seemed its generation’s American Graffiti. Rightly regarded as one of the classics of American cinema (my favorite George Lucas film), Graffiti had always seemed the definitive portrait of that time after graduating high school when adolescents begin the uneasy but unavoidable transition to adulthood. Now I’ve come to regard Graffiti as its generation’s Dazed and Confused, though not nearly as mature, ambitious, or sophisticated.

Bad News Bears is a film that I liked from first viewing but about which I had some hesitations. These have more than disappeared after innumerable cable screenings – where I begin by vowing only to watch a scene or two before sitting through the whole film.

Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach not only evidences Linklater’s love of sports, especially his passion for Longhorn baseball, but as his first documentary, it also showcases his passion for film and his constant challenges to himself as a filmmaker. Among Linklater’s great strengths as a director are his storytelling abilities and a brilliant sense of realizing his characters in multiple dimensions accompanied by a compassion that is intense but never fawning. Here those skills long developed for narrative fiction work especially well in having Garrido and his players come across as people involved in a game they very much love. Especially given his affection for and appreciation of baseball, Linklater’s ability to convey information makes the film much more than a flat TV sport documentary.

During the shooting of Inning by Inning, Linklater had unprecedented access to the team both training and playing, which shows in the film’s depth and fluidity. It also includes interviews with the likes of Darrell Royal, Roger Clemens, Mark Kotsay, and Kevin Costner.

The DVD package is also loaded with extras, including two additional films. There is even more on Garrido in Extra Innings With Augie, a special additional 60-minute feature on his coaching philosophy, while A Game of Adversity is a 90-minute feature documentary on the Texas Longhorns’ 2005 season.

There will be a number of celebrations honoring the release here in Austin. On June 1 there will be a special screening at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, including a post-film question and answer session. There will also be in-store signings and photo opportunities at Waterloo Records June 2 at 5pm and another at the Pflugerville Blockbuster (15100 FM 1825) June 6 at noon.

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