“We Believe” the documentary film about the Chicago Cubs that premiered last summer will be released on DVD on Tuesday, April 13.
Whether or not you are a Cubs fan, and chances are, if you are reading this, you are a Cubs’ fan. But, nonetheless, go buy the movie.
Making a documentary about the Cubs is not easy. Why? Because so many have been made. WGN and HBO dipped into the Cubs history recently, but “We Believe” directed by John Schienfeld, separates itself with two key aspects. “We Believe” offers as much of a history of Chicago as it does about the Cubs, and the movie successfully intertwines the history of both as it explains how the Cubs brought people of various backgrounds and ethnicities together.
Secondly, the music chosen for the movie was nothing short of excellent. From Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen, the music adds even more to the emotion brought on by the story of the Cubs.
The movie’s mission is to follow the 2008 season and educate the viewer on the well-documented history of the Cubs. The movie did not sway from this direction. Most Cubs’ movies discuss 1969 and 1984 in depth, and more recently, 2003. While mentioning those seasons, there is extra time paid to those specific campaigns.
There was no shortage or current Cubs, ex-Cubs, journalists and celebrities interviewed in this picture.
Among those featured, in no particular order, are: Michael Wilbon, Bob Costas, Steve Stone, Ron Santo, Dennis Franz, Jeff Carlin, George Will, Joe Mantegna, Billy Corgan, Hugh Hefner, Scott Turow, Ernie Banks, Bonnie Hunt, Mayor Daley, Rick Kogan, Bud Selig, Crane Kenny, Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Ryne Sandberg, Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Theriot, Alan Trammell, Derrek Lee, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Buddy Guy, Matt Sinatro, and Billy Williams.
So yes, there are a few decent interview subjects, and all of these interviews added an element, an emotional element. However, where this documentary differs from others is that is has a wide-array of “man-on-the-street” interviews, or better said, interviews with regular, every-day fans.
Sports documentaries can be celebrity-heavy, but “We Believe” incorporates the every-day fan in a more successful way than many films I have seen. Players and celebrities add a view, but a view that is sometimes hard to connect to, given that person’s place in life. However, we can all relate to the random man or woman who lives for this ballclub. And seeing his or her reaction and opinion regarding the Cubs is key to the film.
In regards to one particular interview, Bob Costas not only knows baseball, he understands Cubs’ fans and their plight. He was spot-on in all of his comments.
The cinematography was excellent. The views of Chicago and Wrigley Field were intertwined perfectly as the audience sees Wrigley from all angles and at all times of the day. The viewer is taken on a ride up Lake Shore Drive as the camera sits on the dashboard of a car going north to Wrigley Field. At another point, the viewer gets to ride on the EL south to Wrigley Field. While it sounds simple, this is a brief and tight way to show the journey to Wrigley while making it apparent that the journey is about being a fan, not just going to the game.
Between the interviews and the detailing of the 2008 season, “We Believe” touches on great stories.
It discusses the personal journey Steve Goodman, the musician and creator of “Go Cubs Go,” and “A Dying Cubs’ Fan’s Last Request,” and a great Cubs’ fan.
The film covers the designer and builder of “Little Wrigley Field” in Freeport, Ill.
Also, the film finally educates everyone about Fred Merkle! He is the man responsible for the last Cubs’ World Series victory … bad for him, but great for the Cubs.
So there you have it, the 2008 season, the feeling and responsibility of being a Cub, the emotion of being a fan, and some great history intertwined … and yes, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow does make an animated appearance.
If you like Chicago, if you like the Cubs, if you like baseball and if you like movies, I would suggest buying “We Believe.”
You will not be disappointed.
Stay Classy Cubs Fans