Major League (Review)

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 territory.

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 sport.

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 camaraderie, 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 shit, 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 including.

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 screentime, 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 history.

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.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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