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DVD Review: The Other Dream Team

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Our friends out at Lionsgate have been getting a little more involved on the sports front lately, and that’s becoming quite apparent thanks to the release of titles like “The Other Dream Team”, a copy of which they sent out for review.

But this will prove to be more than a sports movie: it will prove to be an inspiration too. This one won’t be available until January 15, and sports buffs should market their calendars right now.

“The Other Dream Team” isn’t about the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team. No…this is about the Lithuanian basketball team. Two members of said sports team, Sarunas Marciulionis and Arvydas Sabonis, were on the USSR’s team back in 1988, when they took the gold medal home with them. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, Marciulionis and Sabonis were part of something much bigger. Not part of a gold medal-winning team like they were in 1988, but rather, part of an independent Lithuanian team that could compete, for the first time since 1940, when Lithuania was last independent. That’s a big step, and though they didn’t win, they were responsible for bringing a lot of hope to Lithuanians everywhere.

Naturally, an affair like this won’t go off without a whole lot of explanation of the history that went into it. There will be plenty of history going on here, going as far back, in some cases, as the second World War. There will also be plenty of history of the individual players as well, showing us the environments in which the players were born, raised, and how that environment compared to that of the United States. There are some absolutely amazing stories involved in this–I won’t tell them in advance lest I spoiler the whole thing–but they’re certainly worth hearing. For instance, the players on the Soviet basketball team would routinely buy items abroad and bring them back for sale in the Soviet Union. Spain, for example, was great for shoes. Italy was great for clothes and Japan renowned for electronics. But when it came to the United States? Everything was on hand. They started with aspirin, of all things, and went on to everything they’d get in every other country. There’s even a bit about the Grateful Dead’s connection to Lithuania. Yes, there is a Grateful Dead connection to Lithuania. You’ll find that out here if you didn’t know it already.

“The Other Dream Team” has a tendency to get a bit dry on occasion, and be a bit on the dull side. But there’s plenty of information in here, and some great storytelling besides. Some thoroughly amazing parts will be in here, and for those with an interest in history–especially sports history–it’s going to be some great stuff.

As for special features, you’ll get in on your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, an audio commentary track, a Q&A session with the director and producer, and a set of trailers for “The Winning Season”, “More Than A Game”, “Facing Ali”, “24 x 24: Wide Open With Jeff Gordon”, “Step Into Liquid”, and a preview reel for Epix.

While “The Other Dream Team” won’t be for everybody–it’s likely to prove a good watch for high school history classes–it will put a lot of interesting content you’re not likely to see anywhere else in play. The presentation isn’t the best, or the most engaging, but there’s certainly plenty of information here, and sports buffs will be especially hard pressed to turn it away.

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