Bad News Bears (2005)
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So...based on that theory, Billy Bob Thornton's rationale for the remake of "The Bad News Bears" was that the original had too many letters in the title (in a bold and highly daring move reminiscent of Ed Wood at his finest, Thornton decided to drop "The", changing it simply to "Bad News Bears"), not enough swearing...and a kid in a wheelchair. Oh, and he changes enemy Yankee pitcher's last name from "Turner" to "Bullok" for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but himself. With revolutionary alterations such as these, don't be surprised if you pick up the rental box half a dozen times while watching the movie to make absolutely sure that you have indeed rented the correct film.
Basically, the plot can be summed up as "Bad Santa coaches a group of misfit kids". Yawn. We've seen this role, this performance, from Billy Bob Thornton one too many times. Thornton wants to bowl us over with the 'shocking' vulgarity of youth, but a trip to "Hooters" and Tanner teaching a boy in a wheelchair to curse both turn out to be so lightweight that it is likely that only the Reverend Jerry Falwell would take offense.
At best, the casting was marginal, and at worst, the audience is forced to wonder if the director actually auditioned the kids or merely closed his eyes and chanted 'Eenie, Meenie, Mynie, Mo" while holding a stack of acting resumes. Sammi Kane Kraft (as Amanda) was a great baseball player with limited acting ability, and Timmy Deters was only modestly successful in trying to recreate the role of Tanner Boyle. Tyler Patrick Jones as Timmy Lupus was far and away the most talented of what basically amounted to a mediocre cast of child actors, but he was utterly wasted in this film and was limited to a few one-liners that must have ended up on the cutting room floor from "Bad Santa". Naturally, Thornton is no match for the venerable Walter Matthau as Buttermaker. Whereas Matthau was irascible and cantankerous in a lovable 'Grandpa's dipping in the cider again' kind of way, Thornton's version of Buttermaker is creepy enough to make us think of adequate background checks and the stupidity of parents who would willingly leave their children alone with him.
Per his film tradition in his post "Sling Blade" days, Thornton goes out of his way to remove any heartfelt sentiment from the plot, and thus the friendship between Timmy Lupus and Tanner Boyle never materializes. That adds to what is perhaps the most irritating part of the film: the introduction of a new player (Tony Gentile as Matthew Hooper). It is an unnecessary plot device, possibly added only because the always classy Thornton had some good 'kid in wheelchair' jokes that he was just itching to use, and adds a touch of surrealism to a movie that should be imminently grounded in realism. In fact, Thornton changes one of the most touching moments of the original movie by handing it to Hooper (a character who, let's face it, has no redeeming qualities other than the fact that he's in a wheelchair) in one highly unrealistic scene; he thereby successfully strips even more of the heart away from the original film. Which, judging from Thornton's film-making history, was probably exactly what he intended to do.
In short, there are undoubtedly worse remakes out there ("War of the Worlds" and "Bewitched" come to mind), but not many. If you're thinking of renting this film because you're desperate for some true seventies banality, allow me to suggest that you save the money and instead try catching either the rerun of "Alice" where Flo says "Kiss my grits" for the eighteenth time or the action-packed episode of "My Three Sons" where Fred MacMurray lights his pipe. If you choose to rent the film anyway...well, don't say I didn't give you any other viable options.
In the original, Kelly and Amanda looked 12. In the remake, they looked 17. Watch them walking with the other Bears, they are about a foot taller.
The Coach Turner character in the first was clearly defined. He was an over aggressive sports dad pushing his son and team relentlessly, eventually melting down and hitting his son in public. The audience was never given a feel for the new Turner, except that he was somewhat wimpy, but unreal as far as any person anyone has ever met.
They removed the scene of Turner hitting his son, then telling his wife that it was because Joey could have killed Engelbert. In reality, Turner was p'd off because his son disobeyed him. In the remake, Turner seems genuinely concerned for Engelbert.
There was almost no character development in the remake. When I saw the first, I felt like I knew the major characters. In the remake, we learned very little. For instance, Lupas in the original was a painfully shy kid who would prefer to be left completely unnoticed. In the remake, he was just a weird kid who had trouble catching.
The emotion was totally gone. The scene where Joey wouldn't throw the ball to put Engelbert out to get back at his father; the scene where Lupas begs not to be put in and Buttermaker tells him he didn't come into this life to watch from the bench; the scene where Lupas finally catches the ball to get the Bears out of the inning; the scene where Kelly gets thrown out at the plate; I could go on forever.
There seem to be strippers in the remake for no apparent reason. The Buttermaker character is supposed to be a sad loner type. To think that Buttermaker is dating strippers take a lot of the sympathy away from him.
Ultimately, there was no magic in the second one. And quite frankly no reason to remake this movie. It occurred to me that the producers of the remake didn't quite get the point of the first one. Or they are insulting teenagers by not believing they are smart enough to get it.
I thought that changing the sponsor to a strip club was funny. And having the representative who sued the league be a woman was a nice update. Other than that, I see nothing where this movie adds to what I already saw. And I didn't even list half of what was worse about it.
If you honestly thought the new version was better, can I ask specifically what you thought was flawed about the original and how the remake did it better?
The movie feels like it has split personalities. There is a ton of swearing and adult humor that would definitely NOT appeal to parents of younger children, but many of the jokes just weren't funny to me because they were aimed at the younger children.
The movie is not terrible, but its not good either. It is simply a forgettable movie, which is a shame because I think Richard Linklater is a great director and Billy Bob Thorton seems like a natural when it comes to comedic timing.
Let it be said at once that Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Buttermaker is quite a come-down from the immortal Walter Matthau in the same role. Since the script of this new version is quite identical to the original, much of the degradation displayed here must be put at the feet of Thornton, a notorious ad-libber. None of us, young or old, need to be subjected to exclamations such as "You guys look like the last s--t I took." Or to hear copious references to Greg Kinnear's family jewels.
But whether through the script or through Thornton's egregious improvising, director Richard Linklater reveals a complete lack of control. Evidently, the best that he feels he can do with this material is to allow it to subside deeper into crassness than the original. The whole enterprise becomes a dreary exercise in upping the ante: Matthau's Buttermaker was a pool cleaner; Thornton's Buttermaker is a rat-exterminator . . . in the '76 version, the Bears are sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds; in the 2005 version, they're sponsored by a strip-club. Get the idea? What had been a gritty, rather incisive look at everyday Americana has become merely an exercise in crudity. This degeneration of standards can legitimately be argued away as the eternal complaint of the old, but the feeling persists that the original *Bad News Bears* was still made for KIDS, despite the more realistic dialog, situations, and characters. (And Matthau was never a scene-stealer; Tatum O'Neal shone just as brightly as he did. And rightly so.) The Little Leaguers in this film are sadly subordinate to the leering Coach -- guess who the intended audience is? (Hint: not kids.)
By the way -- speaking of come-downs -- the iconic role of bad-boy Kelly Leak as portrayed by the super-iconic Jackie Earl Haley has been utterly neutered, here. The new Kelly is played by some incipient Calvin Klein model pretending to be a skate-punk. Pee-yew, man. Hey Jackie Earl, wherever you are: your status as the preeminent prepubescent bad-ass is, like, totally safe.
1 star out of 10.
Someone else commented that there were long pauses left in for laughing. I'm not sure where he lives, but the people in my theater were all laughing their butts off most of the movie. Maybe it's an age difference - this was a mostly 20-something crowd enjoying this film.
Under no circumstances would I want my children seeing this film until they're at least 15, though. It IS an adult film and I don't think that kids need another movie to get bad ideas from. An R rating would have suited the film better, especially if it meant raunchier scenes.
All in all I enjoyed myself. It's not a film for everyone, that's for sure - but if you enjoyed "Bad Santa", you'll probably like this film.
See the original. It remains a masterpiece and one of the greatest sports movies ever made. This is a cheap remake that should have never been made. So many great scripts and premises have been screwed up, why not remake those and start with JJ Abrams original screenplay of "Regarding Henry" another movie where a top notch director did not do his best work. Now that should be remade how Abrams envisioned it.
He's never written anything better, nor have most of the rest of us.
The original movie had enough character development that you could relate to each of the kids and the adults. This remake does not take the time for character development and instead seems to rely on the viewers knowledge of the previous movie. The kids characters made the first movie interesting but this one chooses to ignore that fact and tries to focus on Buttermaker (Thornton). Tanner Boyle, Lupus, and Engelberg were main characters originally but are uninteresting and one dimensional in this version. While I'm sure these kids are fine actors they aren't given much of a chance to act in this film.
There is no originality in this new version. I assume a couple of very small changes, such as changing the team sponsor, were thrown in so the writers, producers and directors could claim they had not just blatantly ripped off the old movie.
Billy Bob Thornton turns in the same old performance we have seen from him before. When he is given a part that challenges him, Billy Bob seems to rise to the occasion. It is clear this part does not challenge him and his acting can only be described as "the usual."
Jeffrey Davies plays Kelly Leak and Sammi Kane Kraft is Amanda Whurlitzer. Their characters are downplayed to the point that it would be easy to forget they were even in the movie. Again, character development is non-existent and the two actors are not given anything to work with.
If you have not seen the original movie then this might not be a complete waste of your time. It is such a copy of the original movie, although not a good copy, that you might find some humor. Most, if not all, of the politically incorrect humor from the first version has been eliminated in an apparent effort to not offend.
In short, go and rent the 1976 version and enjoy the original for what it is. If you are a die hard Billy Bob Thornton fan and absolutely must see this film then wait for it on DVD and save yourself the trip to a theater.
Billy Bob could have slept his way through this dud(maybe he did), as his flaky, drunk, cursing, sleazy, womanizing Buttermaker coach role was just the way he is in real life. The filmmaker obviously hired him for his Bad Santa "presence" and surely not for anything else, as his trashy bad boy act is wearing pretty thin these days as he "plays" it in every film he is in. Maybe filmmakers just love it, but it is really getting old and worn, especially in this film that got no spark at all from his lead character. It just was just plain flat all the way to the end.
The only thing that made me stay to the end was the kids, as their typical rowdy and funny antics were by far the best thing in this movie. Marcia Gay Harden was sabotaged by a dumb part as a hypocritical super-mom, and Greg Kinnear was way too bland and fair-minded for his All-American dad role as an opposing coach of the best team. He played exactly like Pat Boone would have played it, with not nearly enough yin, "win at all costs" opposition to the yang Billy Bob part. Vic Morrow, with his great underlying but veiled "kill or be killed" menace, was so much better in the original it is beyond comparison.
Finally, there was no essential dramatic tension anywhere in the story, even in the final championship game. No good film will ever be made without it. Blah, boring, dull, vapid, banal, ho hum...how many more pejoratives are there for this sorry loser that should have never been made?
See the original instead. Save money and have a way better time.
All kidding aside, it really eats monster butt. Sure, there are a few good one liners (3 maximum), but not nearly enough to hold the movie together or make it enjoyable for that matter. Oh, and if you are a fan of the art of acting at all, it's a good move to side-step this one. The child acting is HORRENDOUS on all accounts, nearly making it unwatchable. But definitely making it un-rewatchable. Then there are the lame updates in the script only topped in horribility by the complete changes to it.
Fans of the original don't taint your memories with this god awful movie.
The original Bad News Bears was pretty good. It had an original story and a lot of funny and interesting characters. The remake tells the same story but it has a lot less heart than the original. The misfits story has been done a lot since the original has been released. The remake seems to be just another retelling of the same story minus the interesting characters, fun and comedy. The film did have potential though. It's from the director of School of Rock and the writer of Bad Santa. Add in Billy Bob Thornton and you get a nice lineup. Unfortunately, the film is average at best.
The cast isn't very good. Sure, there's Billy Bob Thornton and he raises the film to mediocrity but most of the kids were awful. Thornton plays the same character from Bad Santa. If you liked that film than you will probably like him here too. He's no Walter Matthau but at least he was kind of funny. The kids in the original film were mostly all funny and interesting. The same cannot be said for the remake. All the kids seemed out of place and none of them were really that funny. The worst had to be the girl who played Amanda. I didn't expect her to be as good as Tatum but she was the worst choice for the role. Yeah, she can play baseball really well but she can't act at all. All the other kids were mostly forgettable except maybe the kid who played Tanner. There's also Marcia Gay Harden and Greg Kinnear but neither do anything special.
I thought that the comedy seemed forced. Most of the kids were more annoying than funny and some seemed awkward in front of the camera. The movie starts off promising in the beginning but than becomes dull and most of the jokes fall flat. They also kept reusing jokes throughout the entire film so it became tiresome to see the same thing being used over and over again. The ending is also a little overdone. They could have edited it a little but I guess they wanted each bad player on their team to do something for the team. I wouldn't call the remake a complete travesty but it was certainly unnecessary. In the end, I was expecting so much more from this and came out disappointed. If you're a fan of Thornton than maybe the film is worth rental but I think renting the original would be a better choice. Rating 5/10
I think this is a setup. More on that later.
I wouldn't take young kids to see this movie due to all the language, sexual innuendo, and just plain crass behavior by the kids as well as adults (mostly Billy Bob). Go buy the DVD of the original, which is far better. However, I will say, as the movie progressed, the language and rude, crude, and crass behavior, for the most part, disappeared. Why they didn't start that way is a mystery second only to the Pyramids. Maybe no one wanted to upset Billy Bob's record of playing bad characters like in Bad Santa.
There is one thing I will say in defense of Billy Bob's character (Morris Buttermaker) and that the character was always level-headed and never intense and never out of control. I had to admire that. I mean kids can get on nerves at times. Yes, there were a few laughs in this, but not really out loud guffaws.
I feel this is a set-up because of some issues were not resolved and we should see Bad New Bears 2 fairly soon before the kids outgrow their sneakers. Buttermaker's relationship with his ex-wife, who was supposed to attend the championship game, was a no show; his own life was a shambles before and while coaching the team wasn't entirely resolved although he did learn a lot from the kids; and his relationship with the lawyer (Hardin) who talked him into the coaching gig and who had the hots for him as well was never really defined. Well, maybe these things don't have to be resolved, but just watch. Oh, yeah, there is one more issue that needs resolution, but I cannot make it known here.
In the end, Buttermaker lets the kids be kids and allows the chips to fall where they would. And, that part was very good and entertaining. Before that it was all about winning.
With so many and I mean many, many remakes out there I think the people doing these remakes have some kind of responsibility to make the new movie conform to the original and if not, then title it something else. But don't take us into the bathroom to see it and pretend it is like the original when the remake is nothing like it in tone and uses language and behavior that the original would never have attempted.
Tatum O'Neal was more likable than Sammi Kraft in the role of Amanda Whurlitzer. Vic Morrow was more believable than Greg Kinnear and so on and so forth. In the original, I actually found myself rooting for the Bears but in this one, they weren't a group of kids that I cared anything about.
Just rent Bad Santa and you'll pretty much get the role that Thornton plays.
Why did they make Kelly #5 in the movie? That stole something important away from me and all the other fans. That final inning, he comes up and is announced, that's one of the great moments of anticipation in sports movie history. You KNOW he is swinging away anyway, and that announcement makes you realize who he is...How good he is...How IMPORTANT this at-bat is...But they get the number wrong. Several numbers were wrong, but this one is the most glaring.
Tanner Boyle, as expected, doesn't use the same colorful curses as in the original. In a PC world, it's expected that he would be a little more tame...But ANYONE that saw the original and Bears II knows that Tanner can NOT be tame because he is the epitome of attitude. To "water-him-down" is a gross injustice, and he should have been a foul-mouthed little bastard that fought more people than just Engleberg. He kept going after him, and not the whole team. They could not have let him be the original, agreed, but why did he play second base? Tanner is the SHORTSTOP, which is the perfect irony because he is terrible and his position is the most vital in the infield for a team that faces so many right-handed batters.
There is no Albert/Alfred Ogilvie. The brain of the team, the scout, the first one to get on base with 2-outs in the last inning of the championship. That weird Armenian kid played a sort-of-afterthought role, but it is BS. The little speech of being "0-14 and next to Timmy Lupus, probably the worst player in the league" was gone from the movie. The time it was delivered in the original was DETRIMENTAL to the plot, and showed the comeback with the proper perspective. Ahmed didn't bunt, some weird new kid did...Little Miguel is supposed to walk because of his size...Um, where was that? Kelly is supposed to bat last, with the bases juiced and 2 away. Why is that Armenian kid hitting there? Kelly slapping a hit earlier in inning and being on-base is like the end of Bears II, but that Armenian kid is no Carmen Ronzonni, let alone Kelly Leak. The Armenian, Aztec, Argentinian, African, whatever he is kid should be on the cutting room floor.
Timmy Lupus making stupid statements...He eats poop I think I heard...What have they DONE to the underdog hero? He was a quiet, shy kid that had a moment. He isn't even a boogie-eating moron now, he eats poop and is too weird to be a factor in the hearts of any viewers. If I were Quinn Smith, I'd try to sue BIG TIME. Anyways, he doesn't even get to make the catch to redeem himself. He misses that too, and this WHEELCHAIR kid Hooper makes it. I get it, Hooper=Looper, Gay for the pun...Yank, yank on my lower extremity. A wheelchair...OK, it was funny...But you stole the glory from Lupus. He has no respect from the viewing public now.
Hooper should have been named Ogilvie, and played that role. Let him bat in the sixth, and get walked when a ball hits his chair or something...Then he hits super-speed on his chair or something and scores on Ahmed's bunt after stealing a base or two...The girl that played Amanda has boobs. Couldn't they cast a flat girl with some ANGER in her acting to play the Bears ace? This kid had no spunk, no attitude, no talent for acting. And the bra line was lost because of her body. Period line? Cheap replacement.
I did like the ending parts between Buttermaker and Amanda, them being friendly and maybe a bit tender. Better way to see them ride into sunset...Although the dugout scene with her arm in ice was lacking, considering what they couldn't or wouldn't say in this day and age. Kelly and Amanda kiss...BULL. A terrible thing. Since she won't be in a sequel (BETTER NOT BE, DON'T MESS THE SERIES UP MORE,)why tease us? There are so many other problems I have with this movie, but there is not enough time or space to list them all. Yeah, I'll buy it on DVD when it comes out to add to my COMPLETE sports movie collection...But I guarantee it will remain sealed. I wouldn't let anyone that saw the original poison their eyes with it.
The thing that makes me most angry though, is the fact that in 10 years or so, I'll be telling my kid or some kid (I coach baseball actually) about how anyone can make a great play. I'll bring up the Bears and say Timmy Lupus or something, and the kid will say "the kid in the wheelchair?" Or after a loss, I'll say that some calls are just wrong...Like Kelly in the last at-bat, and they will argue and say it was some Armenian kid. I hate that most kids growing up today won't see or know about the original movie. This piece of crap is all they will know, and it is just WRONG to pass this off as the same. It misses a lot of detrimental parts that shaped the movie, and lines that should never be forgotten. RESCREEN the original in theaters for us, that would be fair. The movie would kick ass these days, and great ratings. Do it and make a fortune, as well as cool me off.
The original is way better, the performance I saw by Walter Matthau in the original got me very excited because Billy Bob always plays a good drunk, but in this film Billy Bob was just too nice most of the time, so his character was a little too dull. If you enjoy baseball films then you might enjoy this, but I doubt even the biggest Billy Bob fan would give this 2 thumbs up...
The film then dissolves into vignettes that wouldn't be out of place in a particularly rancid '80s sitcom. Let's put it this way: there was no reason for this film to be made unless someone really wanted a pathetic sequel to Bad Santa. While that film worked on some level, that does not translate to this at all. It's not even worth a bargain bin price.