- 12:45 PM, May 27
"War Eagle, Arkansas" is a character-driven drama about a young man's choice of whether to leave his family and friends for a career in baseball or stay and redeem his struggling community. The story takes place over a few pivotal weeks in the summer after Enoch Cass's senior year, and is set against the backdrop of Arkansas' beautiful Ozark Mountains.
Enoch Cass has two gifts; the first is baseball, and the second is the innate goodness he possesses as he holds his family, members of his community, and most of all, his friendship with Samuel "Wheels" Macon, together. However, Enoch's Achilles heel is the fact that he has a debilitating stutter and can rarely manage a complete sentence.
Wheels is Enoch's best friend and has cerebral palsy. He has been confined to a wheelchair since early childhood, which is how long these two have been inseparable. Wheels' spirit knows no bounds, and combined with Enoch's inability to articulate, the two have relied on one another to make themselves one completely functional human being...though without each other, they are nothing. However, the story finds these two at the crossroads of childhood and independence, the moment where Enoch has to decide if he will put away the things of his youth to pursue his own interests, or remain shackled to his hometown and its people.
Enoch's domineering grandfather, Eugene "Pop" Cass wants nothing more than for his grandson to get a baseball scholarship to a major school and get out of the town he feels he himself was sentenced to forty years before after being forced to abandon his own minor league career. Enoch's mother, Belle Cass, often comes into conflict with Pop over these issues, while Enoch also seeks counsel from Jack, an older African-American man he works with, as well as Wheels' mother, Jessie.
After Enoch performs well in the All-Star game, he is quickly seduced by the new-found attention he's being given both by interested colleges and Abby, a girl Enoch has had a crush on for some time. As all this happens, Enoch's friendship with Wheels becomes more and more distant and finally begins to dissolve. As the film reaches its dramatic climax, Enoch must choose between his best friend, a baseball career, his girlfriend, and the inherent love he feels for his community.
"War Eagle, Arkansas" poses important questions that face all young people in rural America. The answers we find could touch us all.