It Ain't Over isn't just a great movie. It's the kind of movie that makes you realize why so many people consider baseball to be our America's greatest pastime. Infectious in spirit, It AIn't Over is a joy-filled celebration of one of history's greatest baseball players, baseball managers, and all-around humans.
Yes, I was one of those kids who collected baseball cards when I was younger. I was more of a basketball guy, mostly owing to the fact that I grew up in a city, Indianapolis, that had a professional basketball team but not a baseball team. I was a Reds fan, of course. I mean, they were the closest team around and Johnny Bench was my favorite. Berra's baseball career began about four months before my life began - on May 9, 1965.
I was a bit of a weirdo as a kid. Who am I kidding? I'm still a bit of a weirdo. So, I naturally gravitated toward the eccentrics, eclectics, and misunderstood actors, artists, and athletes. Despite being one of the true greats, Yogi Berra is often recognized as much for his Yogisms ("when you come to a fork in the road, take it") and frequent presence in commercials and endorsing a variety of products including the still beloved Yoo-Hoo.
You've never had a Yoo-Hoo? Stop reading and go find one now. I'll wait.
Yogi Berra was, in fact, the inspiration for Yogi Bear. I think I cried tears of joy when I found that out.
Written and directed by Sean Mullin, It Ain't Over reminds us that not only was Berra a pop culture favorite but he was truly a baseball great. Berra appeared in 14 World Series and played on 10 World Series championship teams. He was an All-Star for 15 seasons and an MVP in 1951, 1954, and 1955. He received MVP votes in 15 consecutive seasons.
Yogi Berra was and is, quite simply, a baseball icon.
Having had its debut at Tribeca Film Festival and been picked up by Sony Classics, It Ain't Over is a must-see for baseball fans, Berra fans, Yankee fans, and pretty much any sports fan. However, it's such an infectious and spirited film that one not need know a thing about baseball to absolutely fall in love with the film and with Yogi Berra. Yes, it's truly that good.
There's not a lot of documentaries, and certainly not a lot of sports documentaries, that make me both laugh and cry yet that's exactly what happened with It Ain't Over. It's a film that catches vividly why Berra, who passed away in 2015 at age 90, remains such a beloved human being.
Executive produced by Lindsay Berra, It Ain't Over nicely balances the personal and professional sides of Yogi Berra. While the film makes it obvious he's truly beloved, there's also a sense that he's also under-appreciated (He was actually only inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his second ballot - egregious in my opinion and the opinion of many others). It's a weird balance, I suppose, since being a Yankee for all but one year of his career put him in a spotlight not always shone on other teams. However, makes a solid argument that despite the greatness of his playing, coaching, and managing careers he was still always just a little bit under the radar.
Whether you buy the under-appreciated angle of the film or not, It Ain't Over is a simply fantastic documentary about one of America's baseball greats. With heart, humor, and emotional resonance, Mullin has crafted one of the finest documentaries thus far in 2023.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic