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At first glance, The Long Game may seem like just another paint by numbers sports film. A rag tag group of underdogs on the margins of society, with the help of white savior, defy the odds to win on terms dictated by other people.  While those elements are indeed present there’s more to this story.

Its first distinction, is that it’s a true story. Based on the book, “Mustang Miracle” by Humberto G. Garcia and set in 1956, The Long Game is the story of JB Peña and his wife, who move to the small town of Del Rio, TX, to fulfill JB’s dream of joining the prestigious Del Rio Country Club. When JB is rejected on the basis of his skin color, he is devastated. But his world soon collides with a group of young Latino golf caddies who work at the country club. JB is inspired by the handmade course the boys built in the country to teach themselves golf. With little experience and even fewer resources, JB convinces the boys to start their own high school golf team. Starting them all on a journey where they learn that it takes more than just golf skills to make history.

Its second distinction, is that The Long Game has Latino power in front and behind the camera. It stars and is executive produced by Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad, Magnum P.I.) who plays Peña and is directed by Julio Quintana.  To have Latino talent headlining and directing a major motion picture is a rarity in and of itself.

Aside from these production elements, there is the story itself. Hernandez and Quintana are telling a story of Latin excellence.  It’s no secret in many films Latinos are relegated to the typical tropes – if you’re a female its “Good Girl Friday”, some form of arm candy or simply the hired help. If your male, its a criminal or – the hired help.  The Long Game puts those typically on the margins front and center.  It does it at a time where the political climate in this country has once again attempted to characterize immigrants as the Boogeyman. As Hernandez told NBC Latino “We’re American and the American story is also an immigrant story. It’s also a Mexican American story. It’s also a Puerto Rican story. It’s also a Chinese American story. That’s the beauty of this country.”

Yet, perhaps the most compelling reason to see The Long Game is uttered by one of the films protagonists when he utters “People need to see that were more than just caddies and canon fodder”. And that is what The Long Game accomplishes so beautifully.

The Long Game opens today in theaters nationwide. See the trailer here.

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About The Author

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Victor rounds out the core team of ‘LLERO, he is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief. Working with journalists and content creators to find the most interesting and newsworthy stories. A freelance sports and film writer at heart. In his spare time Victor follows all things boxing, basketball, movies and television. When not tapping the keys of his laptop he can be found checking out all kinds of mainstream and indie cinema alike. Or as his friends aptly describe "Vic, you like all that weird indie sh*!t"." Guilty as charged.

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