The Other Dream Team (2012) Movie Review [8.1/10-Awesome]
Review by Village Voice
In the waning years of the Cold War, Americans became more aware of the bad things happening to the good people of the Eastern Bloc, but it wasn’t until the Berlin Wall finally came down that we were able to fully understand what the citizens of the Warsaw Pact had endured. Shining a light on one corner of the former Soviet empire is The Other Dream Team, the story of the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball squad. The Lithuanians were inevitably overshadowed by the U.S. team, which for the first time included NBA superstars Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and . . . Christian Laettner (?) and would go on to win easy gold in Barcelona. But the Lithuanians were no slouches, boasting a lineup that included that country’s first NBA star (Sarunas Marciulionis) and future pro Arvydas Sabonis, players who’d formed the core of the USSR team that won the gold in 1988. Not coincidentally, their defeat of the amateur American team in Seoul led directly to our subsequent all-pro strategy.
Review by Variety
Lithuania shoots and scores in “The Other Dream Team,” an uplifting docu from longtime producer and first-time director Marius Markevicius about the nation’s unique love affair with basketball. Smartly engineered to engage sports fans and non-fans, the pic’s account of Lithuania’s 1992 Olympics bronze medal-winning team, presented as a symbol of post-Cold War freedom, will light up fests on a prosperous road trip, with the bonus of plenty of cable playoffs.
Much like the Dominican Republic in its obsession with baseball, Lithuania has long embraced basketball, whose popularity stems in part from cultural exchanges dating back to the 1930s. A tiny country wedged between Russia to the east and Germany to the west, the Baltic nation became a tragic doormat for these world powers.
Review by THR
Park City — “Better Dead Than Red” — that was the stirring motto of the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team who won the bronze in Barcelona. Amazingly, the team was financed by the Grateful Dead out of admiration for the country’s staunch resistance to a 1991 Soviet invasion.
To the team and to the entire tiny nation of Lithuania, the bronze was an even more meaningful medal than the gold won by the U.S. “Dream Team” (Magic, Jordan, Bird et al.). For the bronze, they beat Russia, which had brutally annexed them under Stalin in 1940. Much more than a sports film, The Other Dream Team is a rousing document of how one oppressed country reclaimed its identity and won its freedom in large part through its basketball prowess. Commercially, this superbly crafted film has strong word-of-mouth potential as a select-site release; also, it could be a sought-after project for a number of cable outlets: the History Channel and ESPN, among others. Following its resounding audience approval at its world premiere at Sundance, The Other Dream Team will be a champion on the festival circuit.