Every baseball fan knows what the Mendoza Line is — a .200 batting average, the line between being bad and very, very bad. As Mets fans we are quite familiar with it because so many Mets as hitting at or near it. Now there is a new movie called “The Mendoza Line.” Writer/director Nathan Kaufman emailed me and asked me to check it out, so I did.
The film follows the exploits of Ricardo Perez, a Single-A catcher struggling to hit at the aforementioned line of mediocrity, as well as holding off challenges from a new round of draftees and attempting to hold his marriage together. Perez has had a better few days.
We are used to seeing movies that take place at the major league level, after players have achieved their dreams. But in “The Mendoza Line,” we see minor leaguers reaching for the sky, knowing full well that most of them will not make it. The film captures that struggle and the desperation that goes with it.
“The Mendoza Line” is a relatively low-budget affair, so it does suffer some of the pitfalls that come with such independent films. The acting is hit or miss and at times the story drags a bit. But while some smaller films just look horrible, this movie is technically proficient. The directing, camera work and editing are all top-notch, which helps make the movie an overall enjoyable experience.
You can rent “The Mendoza Line” on Vimeo.