Angels in the Outfield (1994)
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As a young adult the performance of Al and the other angels seems far less impressive, however I will give credit to the actors playing both children and Danny Glover who all did a fantastic job.
The spirit shines through in two ways: A funny cast with Danny Glover and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the heavenly herald Al, taking the dynamic form of Christopher Lloyd. Its an energetic movie. It gets you smiling, and really involves you in the sport.
Therein lies my gripe. the one thing that kinda bugs me is these sports movies that kind of turn you into an unexpecting fan for the team. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just find it odd that I should come away from the movie thinking the Angels are a strong, cool team, when really my base loyalty, such as it is, lies with the Toronto Blue Jays. It's interesting, really. If it's just a movie about an underdog kids team, then its okay.
Young foster children Roger and his friend J.P. love to sneak into baseball games of the hopelessly dreadful California Angels. Still in limited contact with his widower father, Roger asks when they will be a family again. His father replies , "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant." Taking his father's words literally, Roger prays for God to help the Angels win. After he prays, a star, unseen by Roger, twinkles in the sky. His wish comes true as real angels help the Angels win and the down on his luck coach George Knox uses him thinking he's a good luck charm. But then he discovers that there may be a little something more to Roger, then opening up his heart to something bigger. He becomes a better coach, the team becomes better naturally and Roger starts to believe not only in angels but love as well.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Roger was so wonderful, he had such heart and put passion into the role. Most child actors are very annoying and play up to the cute factor too much, but if you're telling me that you did not tear up when his father just abandons him in court and he breaks down in Maggie's arm you need to have your heart checked to see if it's beating. His chemistry with Christopher Lloyd was wonderful and they really played off each other well. Danny Glover, how could you not love his character? George Knox is a has-been who has lost any faith that anything could happen, the boys that entered his life just changed it forever. I love everything about this movie, I don't know how anyone couldn't. It's a wonderful movie and if given the fair chance it deserves, the rating should be much higher. After all the angels are always watching.
I have now told you everything you need to know to figure out every plot turn in the movie. Yes, it is THAT predictable. Combine that with some unbearably goofy comedy, and you have what would appear to be a complete waste of 90 minutes.
But appearances aren't everything, and Angels ends up being more than the sum of its parts. While every part of the movie stays true to formula, the acting and directing never descend into mediocrity, and this infuses the film a with a sincere heart, a sense of joy that allows us to care for the characters even though we know exactly what's going to happen to them.
To be sure, there are many better films out there, and adults would almost certainly want to spend their time watching one with a bit more maturity. But for those looking for a movie they can enjoy along with their children, they will find Angels worth their time.
Highlights from this funny, touching movie include the following (if you haven't yet seen "Angels in the Outfield," don't read any further). Knox belligerently explodes at his team after its "one more loss." Sportscaster Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders) attempts to interview Knox, but it gets cut short with Knox's fist! While in his bunk bed, Roger says a quiet prayer that he might someday be part of a family again. On the baseball diamond, one angel helps an Angels batter (Tony Longo) swing & subsequently break the bat, two other angels lift up an Angels outfielder (Matthew McConaughey) to catch a fly ball, another angel helps Mel Clark (Tony Danza), who is not even on the Angels' active roster, pitch a no-hitter, and yet another horde of angels goes absolutely bonkers with the ball as they toss it around, much to the consternation of the opposing team trying to get its hands on it. The Angels' media relations administrator David Montagne (Taylor Negron) goes to ridiculous extremes in trying to keep his suits clean, but he accidentally sits on JP's nachos! Knox plays a friendly ball game with Roger, JP, and other neighborhood kids, one of whom completely misunderstands the rules of the game. Soon afterward, there is a fun little "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" montage. At the press conference, all of Knox's ballplayers stand up to confirm their belief in him; consequently, before the start of the championship game, Knox tells his team how proud he is of each person in it. The boss angel Al (played by Christopher Lloyd, one of my favorite character actors), who has befriended Roger from the beginning, tells him that Mel Clark will be on his way to join the angels in Heaven in a short six months; Roger reacts worriedly, but Al reassures him that Mel is well taken care of and that Roger concentrate on his own life ("We expect great things from you, kid. We'll all be watching"). And finally, at the end of the championship game, the worn-out Mel has only one strike left for the Angels to clinch the pennant; Knox wants to take him out, but Roger insists otherwise ("All he has to do is believe"), and the crowd also insists otherwise, as everyone rises and flaps their arms like real angels with wings. Mel stays in, and the Angels win the pennant and boisterously celebrate.
"Angels in the Outfield" is simply a remarkable film with plenty of laughs, yet it almost never fails to bring a tear to my eye as well. Its message is one of sincere hope & encouragement, and it stresses the importance of every individual believing in herself/himself. Yes, "Angels in the Outfield" is quite predictable, but for myself, that's exactly why this picture works so well. Enjoy it!
THE BAD - There is a prayer scene where the kid doesn't know whether to address God as a man or a woman. (Well, you knew Disney was going to have some Liberal propaganda.) Danny Glover overacts something brutal in this film and the baseball player who is the star, played by Tony Danza, doesn't have a clue how to throw a baseball much less portray a Major League pitcher. Is that the best actor they could find for this role?! Come on, let's have some realism. That sort of thing went out with the end of the classic-age era.
This is your typical disney film.
1.Policticly correct what with the foster home that has an even divison of races.
2.Insults the viewers intellect with its simplistic lines.
3.The boy's slezy father is almost directly taken from the Never Ending Story 2.
4.In a world full of crime,disase,corruption,starvation and other proplems that need to be taken care of,only a losing team is worthy of divine intervention.UGHHHH!!!
5.Did you know that angels don't like swearing?! Where the heck did that come from!
6.In helping the team,the angel cause pain and humilation on the opposing team.Very angelic indeed!
7.The team the angels are helping are called...can you guess...THE ANGELS! Disney at its worst!
8."Just got his training wings." Brillent line!
My conculsion:I did not like it at all.
The story is functional but there are a few problems. It's more compelling if a bad team wins because they improve. It's less compelling if angels come and help them. There is less drama that way. There are a few interesting actors as players. Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey don't do much. Neal McDonough plays an idiot pitcher badly. He's no comedian. Tony Danza is the bigger star back then. Danny Glover is way too unlikeable. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quite an actor even as a kid. He keeps the movie interesting for the most part.
This movie was about a couple of orphaned children who wanted a family. A man promised the boys a family, only if the Angels won the pennant. So, he called upon God one night about this. The boy who prayed could see the help coming on the way (and ONLY that boy); for instance, when the first angel had come down, a player hit a ball so hard not only did the bat break, so did the ball!!!!! For much of the post-All Star season of 1994, the Angels were at the top of the AL West (of which my home team the Rangers is one and it still is). However, they lost a game because the boy was at court instead of the White Sox/Angels game (there was no Central Division in Baseball back then, hence Chicago being in the West), and no angels were there to help. Thus, a new rule was created: no angels can help in championship games. But wait! In the final championship game, the Angels won!!!!! It was a miracle indeed!
What I liked about this film: This is a good movie. I mean, I prayed every night for the last few years asking for help with school and stuff; look at me now! My work was good!!!!! So for one, this shows that if you believe, God can send His angels down to help you with any troubles that you may have in life. And second, this is a family baseball movie, which is always exciting. This is an old Disney movie, too; I've seen this just recently on the New Disney Channel (blech!!!!!).
"Angels in the Outfield" will change your life forever once you've seen it!!!!!
I'm a guy from Japan, born the 90s, and this is one of my top favorite Disney movies! Always has been & will continue to be!! This is just one of those MANY sports film that were plain *awesome* from the 90s! (Though I personally wouldn't count "Mighty Ducks" - I never was really a fan of hockey - I sort of think it's an overrated sport.) I'm actually going by the lines of "Cool Runnings", "The Big Green", "Rookie of the Year", etc. I even hear this movie actually had the BIGGEST film premiere in 1994, with the movie grossing more than DOUBLE than what they started with in their budget!! Isn't that saying something? ;)
I'm sure in many ways that not only people who play baseball, or believe in God can relate to this film; I even believe children who are ORPHANS can relate to it, too - I'm sure they want films they can relate to as well! And there may also be people who just KNOW there must be a bigger & deeper meaning to life than just getting glory, making money, & dying.
Before I forget to mention, man oh man, is Randy Edelman's music so uplifting! I think the man deserves an Oscar nomination for at least SOMETHING! (I mean, this is the same guy who did the "Beethoven" movies, a "Tall Tale", "The Big Green" & "Dragonheart"!) I thin almost 50% of this film owes it's thanks to his GENIUS score! The guy is surely underrated - he deserves more attention from Hollywood than he's getting.
I give credit to this movie for INTRODUCING me not only to the sport of baseball, but also the California Angels, big Hollywood names as Danny Glover (with always the loyal & friendly character to support the main characters throughout whatever story there may be), Joseph-Gordon Levitt (LOVE how he's always kept that same innocent boyish face, lol), Christopher Lloyd, Adrien Brody, Matthew Mcconaughey (BOTH Oscar winners today!), and Tony Danza. I mean I didn't know it was them at the time - but now of course I do, with such modern-day access to information on the Net these days. I guess they were just really good at playing their characters!
(But if I had to say if there was downside to this movie, I would have to say that people don't "become angels" when they die, as the film suggests - in fact, angels are just meant to be ministering spirits for us ~ Hebrews 1:14. Either Heaven or Hell or our destination after we die.) And I might wanna add, the way the ANGELS are depicted themselves in this film is indeed impressive! The effects surely do hold to this day! I mean, they are just GORGEOUS to look at! When I was a very young, I really thought that's how they looked. But hey actually, they're actually more amazing than THAT! Yes, I am sure serious. But that's another long story...
Again, I'm fan of and I still love Joseph Gordon-Levitt; he is RENOWNED for being in this film in my memory! But I''ll be honest when I say I hate or seriously DISLIKE a lot of the recent films he's been in (ie. Looper, Inception, Don Jon, etc.) As if he almost WANTS to ruin our childhoods of him. I can't believe he would go to great lengths and such deep measures by including himself in this great, wholesome, family movie that encourages good behavior, loving relationships, stronger faith in Heaven, God, angels, etc., but then gets into OTHER films that are not only just all-round atrocious, awful, disgusting, filthy, and encourage BAD behavior, but even misuse & take the Lord's name in vain! Unfortunately, that happens all the time, and I'm sick of it! Rarely are there ever films these days, except for "Facing the Giants" that really praise and upholds the name of Lord. But I guess as always, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". (Prov. 1:7) Ugh, with "Don Jon"........... &@!$#% that movie!!!
But on the bright side, I even find that quote that Maggie says near the third part of the film about a "football player kneels to thank God after a great game", I immediately knew it seemed to foreshadowing Tim Tebow, a great sports player of today!
And I find it just RUDE & BIGOTED for thee Nostalgia Critic to come across this movie, and think it "silly & simplistic" that boy ask God for a family & helps a baseball game win, "when there's starving children in Africa" or "war in the Middle-East". CUT IT SOME SLACK, Critic! God could clearly say the same thing about US (we) people! Have you forgotten that God is all places at all times??? God CAN send His angels for supernatural interventions; God tries even WORKING THROUGH people to feed starving people or bring peace to the Middle-East - it's just that most of us are too far caught up in our everyday lives or self-indulgence we just don't notice it, nor is it reported by the mainstream media.
But DITTO to that last quote by AL the Angel - "We're always watching!" DITTO, to that, man! Ditto and amen!
With this film whether like "Beauty & the Beast" and "The Lion King", as I get older & older, it only gets better & better!
I'll say "CHECK IT OUT" to those who still haven't! :DDD
(And I wrote this review since I'm convinced NO ONE ELSE would - so I'm glad I did.)
*** out of ****
Danny Glover, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brenda Fricker, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, and Milton Davis Jr. are brought in with a variety of talented actors and understanding of the sport. The plot was believable, and I love the message. William Dear and the guys put together a great movie.
Most sports films revolve around true stories or events, and they often do not work well. But this film hits a 10 on the perfectness scale, even though there were a few minor mistakes here and there.
At the time, in 1994, this movie held the record for the biggest movie premiere in motion picture history (and may continue to hold). It was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - no doubt in honor of the original film's "Angels" who "haunted" the Pittsburgh Pirates. In this remake they "haunt" the California Angels.
Anyway, the premiere was held at the long gone Three Rivers Stadium which was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers at the time (the Pirates are now housed in PNC Park and the Steelers at Heinz Field). The premiere was held on a movie screen that was five stories in height inside the stadium and held (and may even continue to hold) the record for the largest movie premiere in history, shown to 60,000 fans. Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd were all in attendance to the admiration of thousands of sports fans.