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Folks, There is only one group of people who will truly enjoy and think
this is a great film-the group who it was intended for: those of us who
were in our pre-teens or early teens who saw this when it first came
out in the Summer of 1977.
The tale is pretty much the kind of thing that every red-blooded American boy of that age would dream about. The little leaguers fire their tyrannical coach and "borrow" a van to play at a little league championship in Houston. To avoid spoiling it, I'll just say that this deals with their adventures along the way and the results. A "Huckleberry Finn" of the 1970s, to be generous.
The overprotective parents and PC squads of today would have heart attacks at the scenes of the kids' foul language, cigarette smoking, chasing a grown woman, committing grand theft auto, and swiping Playboy magazines. But most of us who saw it at the time knew that this was over -the top and didn't take it that seriously.
Yeah, an adult viewer would agree that the story, writing, and acting are atrocious. But this wasn't intended to be Shakespeare. See it with a 13 year old mind and trust me, you'll "get it." For those of us who saw this as 13 year olds in 1977, leave your brains at the door and enjoy the nostalgia and the theme song "Looking Good." To everyone else-you've been warned!
Most of the standard crew (Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal are huge absences though) return for this feather-weight sequel to the highly popular original of 1976. This time juvenile delinquent Jackie Earle Haley and his teammates hit the road to Houston to play a little league game in the Astrodome. It seems that Haley's estranged father (William Devane) also lives in Texas and he becomes a focal point as the club lacks a manager. The kids are more grown up this time but their maturity seems to be on the decline as they only care about girls (who are all obviously older than they are) and getting into general mischief. The only real attraction is the Astrodome as the old scoreboard and the novelty of the eighth wonder of the world in 1977 make the closing act of the picture a nostalgic view to a part of sports history that many have already forgotten about. Overall the movie is a stinker with little else to recommend. 2 stars out of 5.
This second installment in Paramount's "The Bad News Bears" film series is (as most sequels are) not quite as good as the original film but it's not entirely bad either. William Devane does a fairly good job in his role as the new coach of the Bears little league baseball team. He has his sights set on big things including giving the team a shot for the little league world series and a chance to play at the famed Houston Astrodome. However, what could've made this sequel better was if some of the talent that came together to make the first film so enjoyable could've returned. The series was never the same without Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal.
Yikes...one of the most awkward sequels of all times. First they
replace the inspiring, easily recognizable soundtrack of the original
("Carmen") with some maudlin seventies fare that even Laverne and
Shirley would laugh at. Then they have a group of unappealing
adolescents known as the 'Bears' ride to the Astrodome in the back of a
cargo van (why the Bears were chosen to play in this game instead of
the Yankees, the team that actually WON the championship in the first
film, is conveniently glossed over). In between, there's a sandlot game
where, predictably, the Bears revert to their 'Bad News' ways. Yeech!
There are some sequels that should not be made when the star of the original decides to move on, and this is one of those times. Perhaps Matthau saw the script and realized that his career would follow that of Roy Scheider's if he participated in this atrocity. Other than a somewhat touching subplot involving Tanner's desire to win the game for "The Looper" (Timmy Lupus who appears in the sequel for about twenty three seconds), this film is more than worthy of a royal skewering from Mike and the bots of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" fame.
I first saw this movie back in the summer of 77', just before my 9th
birthday, and enjoyed it so much that I joined a little league baseball
team the following year. Unfortunately, our team didn't end up winning
the state championship, and we never traveled 2,000 miles plus from
Arizona to Houston in a stolen van to play a baseball game. But, our
team had a lot of fun despite our constant parental supervision, and
lack of a feel good soundtrack. That's what this film did for my life.
While some have heavily criticized this sequel over the absents of Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. However, I find their criticism is incompatible with the overall plot and theme of the movie, about a team of kids breaking away from the confines of their suburban existence in California, and seeking carefree adventures independent of any super imposed rules and societal precepts. Sort of like a cross between 'Easy Rider', and 'Bless the Beast and Children'. Except, without any Buffalo's serving as metaphors for the spirit of children, and stuff.
Therefore, the manager in the original Bad News Bears (Walter Matthau) can't be included in the sequel, or he might end up in jail for grand theft auto, kidnapping and contributing to the delinquency of a lot of minors. And, you can't have a preteen Tatum O'Neal traveling 2,000 miles in a van filled with a bunch of horny boys. Bad things are bound to happen. So these criticism are really unjustified, and you would have to have a completely different movie if the Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neil characters were included in this sequel.
However, what would be a fair criticism of the movie, is the fact that The Bad Bears are a really Bad baseball team before Kelly's separated father (William Devane) takes over as manager and converts them into champion players once again, after just a few days of practice.
This makes no sense at all, because the team has already won the California state championship before arriving in Houston. So, they shouldn't have any trouble hitting and fielding, even if their having trouble replacing Tatum O'Neil's pitching.
The obviously manufactured family drama scenes that inevitably occur when Kelly's role as "team leader" is threatened by his fathers assistance. That Kelly personally requested in the first place.(well, sort of)
This concludes with an over the top, Hollywood manufactured family drama scene at a pool hall between Kelly and his long lost father. That's followed by the equally easy quick resolution of long time buried family issues after the team manages to come from behind, and pull out the close game at the end of the movie.
Fortunately, I was too young back in 77' to notice these flawed script devices, and really enjoyed just riding along with the team, and experience their sense of adventure while breaking a few "grown-up" imposed rules while independently pursuing their quest to play the Houston Champions, and resolve a few father and son issues along the way.
While I realize that this movie is definitely not for everyone. But, if you were a kid in the 70's, or just want to reconnect with your lost sense of youthful mischief when the world was still just one big adventure? Then this is a must see movie.
Dolph Sweet as the "Bears" overbearing coach, and William Devane as his reluctant replacement, are the only reason to sit through this. Otherwise, what you get is a predictable bore of a baseball film, that is strictly adolescent material and definitely by the book. The will he or won't he play scenario seems pretty stale, and the father - son relationship tension doesn't work either. Devane is really wasted, essentially playing a one dimensional character, that is very forgettable. Most attempts at humor fail miserably, and even the big game is weak. This is probably a sequel that never should have been made. Billy Bob Thornton's abrasive character in the "Bad News Bears" remake seems like "Oscar" material compared to "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training". - MERK
After seeing The Bad News Bears, I have just been in love with that
film ever since my first viewing, so I figured despite the low rating
on IMDb, just to give the sequels a look. So, I just watched The Bad
News Bears in Breaking Training and while I didn't think it was so bad,
it lost it's substance of what the first one was, and that was a crappy
team with a lousy coach that didn't care if they won or lost. Now we
don't get to know the coach better, we get to know the team better,
well, I guess we didn't need to know that much.
Some of the team is back, mainly it seems like we are focusing on Kelly this time, but they want to go to Texas to win the big game in the Astrodome to win the game for Lupus and a trip to Japan or something along those lines. But the team gets a lousy coach to begin with, so on their road trip, Kelly picks up his estranged father and asks him to be the team's coach and help them practice. Of course, Kelly and his dad need some things to patch up before they can play any games.
The thing that was strange to me mainly, I don't know maybe because it's a different time, but I found it strange that the dad kept calling the boys "handsome" and patting their upper legs, but I don't know, maybe I'm just taking it too seriously or too PC. While, on it's own, it's not too bad of a movie, I wouldn't really suggest this movie for the hard core fans, but I rented both sequels, so I might as well see the next one, right?
"The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" is a cute sequel to the classic
original. By know means does it come close to it predecessor but it is a fun
The Bears head off,unchaperoned, to play an exhibition game at the Astrodome against the Texas state champs. (One major flaw is that it is never adequately explained why the Bears would be making the trip since they lost the championship game in the original). The usual juvenile hijinks ensue on the road as they make their way there.
Once there team leader Kelly Leak enlists the aid of his estranged father (nicely played by William Devane) to coach the team. This leads to the opening of some old wounds between the two. It's a nice distraction from the main story and handled well until the cornball, cliched scene where the hatchet is buried.
The big game is handled well with the Astrodome surroundings a big aid.
While Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal (the star pticher in this one is played by Jimmy Baio who is given nothing to do)are sorely missed, the cast does an adequate job of making the film amusing for kids.
The final result is a nice little film. The game is the best part but there are plenty of amusing moments (including the requisite bad language from the kids) to keep you mildly interested. If you don't agree, just take a peak at "The Bad News Bears Go To Japan." This film will look like a classic compared to that disaster.
Can you name another movie that captured the 70's generation as well as the bond of friendship with the most diverse group of kids in the world. Forget comparing this film to the original or that piece of crap Japan flick that completed the trilogy. This is an amazing film that tells a decent story, but overall gives a funny and enjoyable film that you never get tired of. Even if you hate the Bears or some of the annoying characters, its a classic because it never gets old. The characters all seem too real. Since none of the actors made it big, it adds to how real the characters in the film are. For that, possible sad reason, the film can only be seen through the eyes of the young.
Call me crazy, but this is my favorite movie of the Bad News Bears movie series! The story of the Bears travelling from California to Texas for a game at the Astrodome san parental supervision might be far fetched for some to swallow, but overall the charasmatic leads of Jackie Earle Haley and William Devane make it all work. However, the real star of the show is Chris Barnes as Tanner Boyle, whatever happened to you Chris i do not know, but your portrayal of Tanner has always had me and my friends rolling on the living room floor for decades! Great to see on DVD, too bad Paramount couldn't even see fit to include even a lousy trailer! oh well, it is good to have the Bears back!
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