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MOVIE REVIEW:Major League
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't work out Major League, it is about a sport I hate, and is made
in exactly the same way – and covers much the same ground – as many
other sports movies that I loathe.
Only I think for some reason it is near perfect.
The new owner of a Major League baseball team, the Cleveland Indians,
decides to deliberately put together the worst team possible in order
to drive down attendance and fan interest so that she can exercise a
clause in the owner's contract and move the franchise to warmer
Gee, d'ya think they'll win?? You'd never see this movie made today,
firstly I'm amazed that the overly PC major sports in the US allowed
this one to happen in the first place. Baseball players are seen to be
selfish, cocky, brash, prima-donnas who will think nothing of cheating
or putting down others to better their own position.
All true to from what I've seen in 20 something years of following
The strange thing is that in making a movie that seeks to send up the
sport and the athletes the filmmakers showed exactly why sport is so
awesome in the first place. The comraderie, the trash-talk and petty
infighting, the pranks, the constant losing and then the exhilaration
as the team actually starts winning.
The team is made up of no-hopers and past their primes: The no-hopers:
Charlie Sheen as an out of control pitcher named Ricky Vaughn, a cocky
Willie Mays Hays who showed up with being asked to try out for the
team, (Wesley Snipes in a very early role), a voodoo follower who can't
hit a curveball and others The past their primes: Tom Berenger as Jake
Taylor, a catcher who is wracked with injury, Corbin Bernsen as Roger
Dorn, a pretty boy more concerned with his future endorsements than
winning games, and Chelcie Ross as Ed Harris, a crafty veteran who now
relies more on cheating than brute strength and skill.
The team manager is the gruff, blunt and hilarious Lou Brown, elevated
unexpectedly from his previous role selling tyres to the big league.
Lou takes no sh*t, cares not for ceremony and tells it like it is, and
his responses to some of the queries made by prima donnas are classic.
As the team builds momentum the owner, aware that success means fans,
which means no moving to a better city, removes the player perks
The final game to decide the fate of the season, versus of course the
team's nemesis is brilliant, you know you are being manipulated but
still can't help but feel pulled into the contest. I still get pins and
needles even though I've seen this soooo many times, and Bob Eucker as
Harry Doyle is simply the best commentator for the game.
The game lasts almost 20 minutes of screen time, and not a minute is
wasted, even though there is hardly a joke or laugh to be had in the
whole scene. By this stage if you are still on board this far into the
movie you are likely less of a film watcher than a sport's fan, this
last segment is so well made that it is almost as rewarding as
rewatching some of the greatest games that actually occurred in sport's
Final Rating 9 / 10. I don't know what to tell you, aside from this
movie made me love baseball – until the credits roll that is.
If you liked this review (or even if you didn't) check out
This was a rather fun film featuring the old worst to first team. The
catch here is that the owner of the team wants to relocate the
Cleveland Indians to Florida or somewhere like that. To accomplish this
she proceeds to put together a team that she hopes will be beyond bad.
Enter a crew of misfits that feature aging players like Eddie the
pitcher, an aging catcher whose knees are not what they used to be Jake
Taylor, and Roger Dorn who cares more about life after baseball than
playing the game with any passion in the present. Also present are some
young guys like Pedro Cerrano who can hit a fastball a mile (a curve
not so much), a speedy guy named Willie Mayes Hayes who invites himself
to camp and Ricky Vaughn a hard throwing pitcher with no control. Well
this team is not as terrible as expected and it is brought to the
manager's attention and his plan is to win not only a few games here
and there, but the entire division. The movie is funny and has a bit
more bite to it than the sequel which is basically this movie again
without much Reno Russo as Jake's girl and no Wesley Snipes at all as
he is recast. For a baseball film featuring the whole underdogs trying
to win it all it does fairly well. I enjoyed Charlie Sheen as the
pitcher with a wild fastball that gets good by getting glasses. I also
enjoyed Snipes and I was saddened when he was not in the sequel.
Basically a good cast and a good funny baseball film.
One thing you don't really see anymore is sentimental comedies. Movies
with heart. And Major League is a prime example that really hits the
core of entertainment value. It has such a perfect balance of
everything. It's hysterically funny, overwhelmingly heartwarming, and
perhaps even a tad inspiring, and may yet leave a tear in your eye at
the end. In short…a good movie.
Although the story itself is rather basic, a classic underdog
Cinderella story, the comedy is undeniably clever. But it's not the
story that drives this movie. It is the characters, and their
relationships with each other, which is pretty much what good
film-making is all about in my opinion. There is not a single weak link
in the entire ensemble, which makes picking a favorite character almost
Without a doubt my favorite baseball movie, the portrayal of America's
favorite past time is done with a humorous touch to the slightest
detail, with the score board, the local regular fans, and of course Bob
Uecker as the broadcaster, who utterly steals the show.
If you haven't seen this movie, give it a try. You're in for a treat,
and you may even find yourself succumb to its incredible re-watch
value. I know I have.
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