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You have to love films about baseball, especially when they are extremely well written. This is one of those films. Ward has a handle on baseball players and baseball fans that cuts straight to the heart and draws you in. Instead of focusing on a single player, he makes baseball what it ought to be...a team effort. His team is Tom Berenger, who plays the past his prime catcher ready to have one more decent season. Renee Russo is his ex-fiancé who has moved on with her life, but is still in love with Jake. Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes become the "hotshots" of the rookies, Sheen as the pitcher with the blazing fast ball and a lack of control, nicknamed the Wild Thing, Snipes as Willie Mays Hays, the runner out to score 100 stolen bases in the season. Dennis Haysbert gives an excellent performance as Pedro Cerrano, the Cuban who defected from his native land to practice his religion...voodoo. Harsh language and a couple of scenes of brief nudity drew an R rating from the MPAA, but the teens ought to love it, especially the ones who have played baseball in school. Definitely a collectible.
Major League is not only a comedy film with numerous laughs, it proves
itself to be one of the grand-daddies of baseball comedies. A League of
Their Own and Bull Durham are also among the list although those are
more towards the drama genre. I attend various minor league baseball
games a year. Approximately twelve. I love them. Being a Chicagoan, I
think I'd rather watch minor league teams than major league teams.
Some may call that strange, but I love the entertainment and the "close to home" feel provided by a minor league game. There are tons of events on the field to keep me interested, and I know pretty much every cop and concession stand employee there thanks to my father. It's an enjoyable time. I walk around most of the game, chat with various officers, it's a damn good time.
On with the film. I can discuss Minors vs. Majors in a separate blog. After the Cleveland Indians' owner dies, her husband Rachel (Whitton) inherits the team. She plans to make the team as poor as possible so they can move the team to Miami. To put it simply, she sabotages the team, the stadium, and everything else in various ways to assure a poor season.
The team is mainly made up of rookies like Willie "Mays" Hayes (Snipes), Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Sheen), and Jake Taylor (Berenger). They're acceptable players, but no where near as good as they should be.
One thing I really enjoyed and found worthwhile about Major League is the fact that we get closer into Jake Taylor's relationship life. It's good that all the fun doesn't take place on the field, and we get a wider variety and an in-depth look on one player's life. I would've liked to hear more about Lou Brown's (Gammon) career and more about some other players. But at least it's not all about on the field interactions.
Charlie Sheen, James Gammon, and Wesley Snipes were all great in the film. It's a little sad that Gammon died this past July, and news about it really didn't surface too much. Not looking at Gammon's filmography, I assume his career wasn't made up of too many more famous roles like his portrayal of Lou Brown.
Charlie Sheen was extremely hilarious in this film, but watching it only makes me more sad about he just continues to make an ass of himself to the media. His career is going straight into the ground as of now. In this film he was extremely handsome, but now his image makes him look older than he is, and his reputation is plummeting into the ground. Oh well, his role as Wild Thing was, say, WINNING.
Wesley Snipes is fantastic in this as well playing Willy "Mays" Hayes. He is absolutely funny, and a great addition to the cast. Too bad for him as well because since Snipes refuses to pay his taxes, he is in prison until 2013. I really enjoyed him in movies like Blade and Passenger 57.
What truly scares me is that this film has spawned two sequels. This kind of film can only be done well once, passably a second time, and pretty much end horrifically with a third film. Back to the Minors could easily make or break the franchise. Why make a sequel when Berenger and Sheen don't even return? It's all about the benjamins.
Major League can be summed up with a few statements. An enjoyable baseball comedy, a cast of greats, but a cast of people whose lives either ended tragically or just were forgotten.
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Rene Russo, James Gammon, Margaret Whitton, and Wesley Snipes. Diretded by: David S. Ward.
The new owner of the Cleveland Indians has a plan, she wants her team
to do so horrible that she can move them to Miami. Purposely putting
together the worst team and players she can find. Enter Jake Taylor,
aged catcher and veteran, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, reckless pitcher
and young upstart, and Willie "Say Hey" Mays, a fast as lightning
nobody with something to prove. Along with a group of misfits they
discover that the only way to save their team is to win the whole
This film is simply genius and one of my favorite comedies of all time. Though you might not be a huge sports or baseball fan but this film has a little bit of everything. Senseless comedy, romance, action (sport- wise), and most importantly a lot of heart. The characters, though a group of misfits and oddballs are extremely likable and the chemistry between them is wonderful. Charlie Sheen does a wonderful job as does Wesley Snipes in one his earliest roles, James Gammon will have you in stitches as manager Lou Brown. You will become attached to the characters plight and maybe find yourself rooting for the Indians in real life, after having viewed this film. Spawning two sequels, though less popular and less entertaining then the original, Major League will have you laughing and rooting throughout the entire film.
This isn't a great movie, certainly, and it starts off particularly
weak, but it does grow on you, particularly if you've lived in
Cleveland. The characters are all caricatures, of course. There are no
3-dimensional characters here. But as time goes on, and despite their
problems, this Cleveland team begins to come together and play well,
you start to like them and hope they will do better, perhaps because
we're raised to like the underdog.
Some of the success of this movie must go to the director, who knows how to pace things so that we get involved in them, even though most of the characters aren't particularly likable.
So, in the end, you could do worse, and you won't be bored.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is in the vein of Hot Shots but it is in baseball. Tom Berenger is great as the aging catcher who dreams of at least one for good year, which he gets. Tom is a team leader and a guide for the younger players. This team is put together to lose on purpose by the bitch who owns the team played nicely by Margaret Whitton. They get an old minor league washed up James Gammon to run the team expecting him to run it in to the ground. He doesn't do that but uses the fact that he owner wants them to fail as the motivation for the teams success. Charlie Sheen is good as the penal league pitcher Wild Thing. Wesley Snipes is fine as the over eager, wanna be power hitter, who must learn to hit it on the ground and steal bases. Rene Russo plays Berenger's exe and is decent in her role but not great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If this film were made today it would probably be hit with charges of insensitivity and racism against Native American Indians, and I'm trying to think back to when things got so hyper regarding political correctness that you were made to feel guilty about things like the national pastime. This one, led by Bob Uecker, manages to hit all the clichés about redskins, featherheads, tomahawks and going 'off the reservation', but you know what - it's a funny flick and a blast for fans of the game. Granted, it makes use of all the clichés and has the most predictable of plots but the fun is in seeing how the hapless Cleveland Indians overcome their circumstances and become American League Champs. I'm probably not alone in picking the 'Wild Thing' sequence as my favorite part of the picture, coming at just the right time to vault the team to glory in their single playoff game. Every actor here is cast perfectly for their role, and if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be James Gammon as crusty manager Lou Brown who pulls the team together for that final victory to the dismay of team owner Rachel Phelps (Margarter Whitton). I'd have to go along with Uecker here, and give "Major League" a big wahoo.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, James Gammon, Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo and Margaret Whitton star in this 1989 comedy. A baseball team of misfits learn that their new owner wants them to finish last. This starts off with ex-showgirl, Rachel Phelps (Whitton) inheriting her late husband's team, the Cleveland Indians and plans on making sure they finish the season last so she can profit. Soon, we meet an interesting group of players which includes knee-shot player, Jake Taylor (Berenger), ex-criminal biker, Rick Vaughn (Sheen) who gets the "Wild Thing" title, business schmuck, Roger Dorn (Bernsen), Willie "Mays" Hayes (Snipes) and more. Russo plays Jakes ex-girl, Lynn and Gammon plays coach, Lou Brown. Other cast members include, Charles Cyphers, (Halloween) Dennis Haysbert (Heat), Chelcie Ross (The Last Boy Scout) and Bob Uecker. This is a good baseball comedy with a great cast that I recommend.
Having first seen it many years ago when I recently watched Major
League again I found that it did not live up to my memories. Nor did it
live up to its reputation. It's not nearly as funny as I seemed to
remember it being. And while it it has acquired a reputation for being
truly outrageous that's not really an accurate assessment either.
Honestly, the movie's kind of tame, it doesn't push the envelope nearly
as much as you would think. Now all of this doesn't mean it's a bad
movie. And any movie with Charlie Sheen playing a character nicknamed
Wild Thing will have an outlandish moment or two. It's just that there
aren't enough of those great moments to allow the movie to really be
that brilliant, outrageous baseball comedy so many people remember it
The story is your typical sports underdog tale. A bunch of losers band together and prove that maybe they're not really losers after all. There's the requisite villain, in this case the team's evil female owner, who is trying to hold the team down. Obstacles are constantly thrown in the way of our plucky underdogs but they forge on towards the big game at the end which ends all movies of this sort. Along the way there are some laughs and hijinks. Not all the jokes and gags hit their mark but enough do to keep you entertained. There's an unfortunate romantic subplot which is a total dud. All the time spent exploring this relationship between the veteran catcher, played by Tom Berenger, and his old flame, played by Rene Russo, is really time wasted for the movie. We never really get to know Russo's character at all and Berenger's crusty old catcher is much more in his element around his teammates. You know the movie's going to try to pay this storyline off in the end but really who cares? This movie is about the Indians. And there were more than enough personalities in that group of misfits to carry the movie. Sheen, Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes, Chelcie Ross and, as the voodoo-loving Pedro Cerrano, Dennis Haysbert. Each of the characters has their moments. Perhaps the best performance of all though comes from James Gammon as the manager, Lou Brown. He gets many of the best lines and the way he delivers them is just perfect. And of course there's also Bob Uecker providing laughs every time he opens his mouth in playing the team's radio announcer. There are a lot of fine performers here and the movie has a lot of good pieces. But there's the sense it doesn't quite all add up. It's not as consistently funny as you'd hope. The whole thing is very predictable which wouldn't be so bad if the movie at least kept you laughing all the way to the ending you know is coming. But the laughs come and go, and when they do come they're generally not as explosive as you'd hope. And there's that romantic storyline which is a complete waste of time and which rears its ugly head again in the end at a time when all the focus clearly should be on the team. Major League is not a bad movie. But is has enough flaws to hold it back from true greatness.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MAJOR LEAGUE (1989) might not be especially deep or provocative or
ethereal like such more regarded classics as THE NATURAL, BULL DURHAM,
EIGHT MEN OUT, or FIELD OF DREAMS (how did the 80s produce so many good
baseball movies?!), but in retrospect, MAJOR LEAGUE is most probably my
favorite among the bunch just b/c it is so plain entertaining! While
those other films try to go for the long ball and swing for the fences,
MAJOR LEAGUE basically just tries to make contact and get on base! And
it does it with great humor, grit, and palpable appeal!
The main reason MAJOR LEAGUE works is due to the casting, first and foremost the underrated Tom Berenger in one of his most accomplished film performances. Berenger totally carries ML as veteran, crafty, world-weary, womanizing catcher Jake Taylor, whose last chance at glory is upon him with a tryout with the Cleveland Indians, a franchise that hadn't been in a World Series since 1954. Berenger's laid-back, man's man appeal sets the tone of the film and everyone basically plays off of him. He's as effortless as the lead in ML as Kevin Costner was in his 80s baseball movies.
The diverse supporting cast is sublime: Charlie Sheen as closer Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn, Corbin Bernsen as egotistical, media-schmoozing 3rd baseman Roger Dorn, scene-stealing James Gammon as scruffy, take-no-prisoners manager Lou Brown, Wesley Snipes as slick "Willie Mays" Hayes, Dennis Haysbert as voodoo-worshipping Pedro Cerrano, sexy Margaret Whitton as devious team owner Rachel Phelps (undercutting the team hoping it will lose so she can sell it for profit), enchanting Rene Russo as Jake's true love Lynn Wells, and last but not least Mr. Baseball Bob Uecker, used brilliantly in an all-too-welcome role as Indians announcer Harry Doyle.
The strength of ML is that it has a real "everyday" appeal that one doesn't find to often in movie comedies. It has a lot of (seemingly improvised) montage scenes of the team throughout the season and just random extras playing Indian fans in bars, at games, at work thrown in to give it a universal appeal; in this way, it allows the viewer to root for this underdog team along with them. But these scenes all feel REAL and the movie doesn't work without them.
Everything in ML is relatable to the viewer. The laughter comes from the reality of the situation and is not manipulative at all. Of all the baseball movies I've ever seen, ML feels like the one that gets the sport of BASEBALL right!
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