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MAJOR LEAGUE
Movie Review

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MAJOR LEAGUE
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Eric Brevig
Starring Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo
Review by Mike Peters



SYNOPSIS:

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians purposely assembles a baseball team consisting of untalented misfits. Her goal; if they are bad enough then she will be allowed to relocate the team to Miami. However, things do not go as expected.

REVIEW:

To put it simply, Major League is a predictable and clichť ridden underdog story. There is nothing truly innovative about the structure of the plot. The characters are not very dimensional and appear to have been cut out from another movie and been pasted into this one. As well, the film fits the formulaic blue print of a Hollywood production to a tee. So why submit a review on a film that does not have the fortitude to stand out on its own? Well, for one reason, I like the film.

Major League follows the story of a group of (un)talented, uncoordinated baseball players who somehow manage to bring it all together (through numerous differences with one another) and become an actual team driven by passion and heart. One player practices voodoo while another just shows up to Spring Training without so much as an invitation. Then there is the guy who uses snot on the ball to help him pitch while another who refuses to dive for a baseball because it might jeopardize his face if it hits him. Itís like The Bad News Bears of the older generation.

We have seen it all before but yet this is a film with sincere intentions. It has a desire to please and for the most part it succeeds. Letís face it. The ĎRockyí story (if done correctly) should work all the time. We want to see this group of individuals (who have already been pre-judged) to overcome the obstacles placed in their way.

Hollywood understands the formula to deliver a mainstream film (heck, they created the formula). Their goal is to simply entertain and usually I am more then willing to contradict the actions of the Hollywood institution. But, in this case, I have made an exception. I donít know why I like this film so much. Perhaps it is because I grew up with it as a child. Maybe it is because I played baseball for over fifteen years and I loved anything to do with the sport.

Usually as one gets older, their tastes change. There are a tremendous amount of films I loved growing up but as I try to watch them now I find that I can no longer endure a mere five minutes of their running time. Sometimes I ponder, what was I thinking? As one grows, one is supposed to mature (I think). Isnít that the way life is? Perhaps I havenít reached that stage yet or maybe, as much as I try to deny it, I am still a fan of Hollywood entertainment, no matter how simplistic it may be at times.

Major League was a major hit at the box office back in 1989 and eventually led to the creation of two horrendous sequels attempting to capitalize on its success. However sequels rarely can capture the heart and soul of an original. This is especially true with this series.

I have always been a big fan of Tom Berenger and he is quite likable in this light hearted (yet vulgar) piece of mindless entertainment. It truly does anger me though that he does not receive more quality roles nowadays. In the 80ís he was a bona fide superstar appearing in many good films. Trying to find him in a decent film nowadays is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I always vowed that if I were a director, I would try to hire him for my movie in an attempt to resuscitate his career a la Tarantino. I feel he deserves it.

Charlie Sheen is also fun to watch in his role as Ricky Vaughn, an ex-con pitcher who canít hit the strike zone because he is unable to see the plate. His talent for comedy is truly on stage here. Of note, it is certainly interesting to watch Berenger and Sheen interact with one another during the course of the film. They are good friends in this film but it is definitely difficult to forget the onscreen tension that they had for one another only three years prior in Oliver Stoneís Platoon. The director, David S. Ward, does an adequate job of telling a story but does not attempt anything special. He simply allows the film to unfold in a manner that compliments itself. Though, he does provide a relatively entertaining last twenty minutes. What I mean is that he does not jump the gun with dispelling the suspense. He allows it to slowly unveil itself (not every pitch is a hit-there are pauses in the delivery so to speak) as a real baseball game would. As a result, the film concludes with a predictable but yet heartwarming finale.

So my advice to those who havenít seen the film is that in all likely-hood, you have seen something like it before. There is nothing new to be delivered and many may be turned off by its lack of originality. However, the film truly has a feel good quality underlying its surface and for this reason may be why I have not shut it off after five minutes.

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