"Three Stars (NR)

Now here’s something you don’t see every week: Two independent movies with Indiana connections, each opening exclusively at a different Indianapolis art house. Jim Poyser will tell you about Novem, opening on the Northside at Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema, but first I’m going to brief you on Chasing October, which opens Friday on the Southside at Key Cinemas.

Chasing October, billed as a docu-comedy, blends real documentary footage with scripted scenes to offer an entertaining look at the 2003 season of the Chicago Cubs, with filmmaker and superfan Matt Liston embarking on a crusade to help his beloved team make it to the World Series.

Liston, who grew up in Chicago Heights, studied television and radio at Ball State, where he won the David Letterman scholarship. The influence of Letterman’s comic sensibilities can be seen in the film, as the on-screen version of Liston, inspired by a ghostly visit from legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray, quits his job and begins his quest to boost the team into the ultimate baseball victory.

The film includes interviews with the usual suspects and asks the standard questions about why the Cubs haven’t won the World Series in almost a century, but Chasing October works best as a loopy, sometimes inspiring, sometimes maddening, but consistently engaging portrait of the boundless optimism of sports fandom.

Note: A percentage of all proceeds from the theatrical release will be donated to Project 3000, a charity created to help find a cure for Lebers Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a degenerative disease that results in severe loss of vision.

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