Yetitor’s note: regular posts will come every other Monday. Reviews will follow no schedule, posting whenever I finish a book or watch a movie. I have no life, so expect a lot of Friday night movie reviews……
I’ve always had a strange relationship with baseball. Like everyone else in Georgia in the 90s I was required by state law to be a Braves fan, meaning I was a fan when they won the World Series in ’95. Six is way too young to see your team win it all, and I was spoiled because of it. Any year after that not ending with the championship was a waste of my time. I was too young to care if we had a good season statistically and the only pennant I cared about was hanging on my wall and said World Champs ’95.
Despite treating the team with a borderline abusive attitude and maintaining impossible standards (like all good baseball parents), I stuck with them. For starters, tickets were handed out like candy back home. My school gave out nosebleeds just for starting a book and it seemed like my dad had a steady stream of work friends who always had tickets they wanted to get rid of. Why they accepted them in the first place, I’ll never know.
More importantly, former pitcher Greg Maddux was my idol. I couldn’t have given you a single statistic about his career, because all that mattered was he played pro ball, and he did it wearing glasses.
Seeing as it would still be another fifteen years or so before idiots would start wearing non-prescription glasses and remove the stigma, this was huge for me. I played baseball from t-ball through middle school, wearing glasses almost the entire time, and the only way I could have loved Greg more was if he was also waiting to grow into his body.
Then the unthinkable happened: Greg got Lasik. This was one of the first great betrayals in my young life, second only to never receiving the Inspector Gadget abilities I prayed for every night (still waiting). I was heartbroken, as well as still fat and nearsighted.
Greg’s surgery, in addition to all my favorite players from the World Series team slowly being traded away, led to me hangin up my tomahawk. I’ve never looked back.
While still hurt, I kept playing Little League and I did it with glasses Greg. Despite being blessed with the body of a young Babe Ruth, I wasn’t very good, but I didn’t care. I was always on teams with my buddies and loved everything about the game. I got to be outside with minimal sweating, I could talk to my parents from right field, and Big League Chew allowed me to pretend to do something I wouldn’t fully grasp for another ten years. I played in the “for fun” league so most of my teammates were right there with me, leading to lots of screwing around and plenty of memories.
Who should watch this
Bad News Bears is the ideal baseball movie for a guy with my history. I played on more than a few teams that were the joke of the entire league and most of them were filled with plenty of foul-mouthed little snots. The movie celebrates those teams, the ones who lost and had fun doing it.
It’s also an accurate portrayal of how real kids talk when (responsible) adults aren’t around. Whenever a movie has a lot of kids cussing there is always a huge uproar, but the reality is there should be an uproar for the opposite. Kids acting like little precocious geniuses who quote literature and use 25-cent words is beyond played out and just doesn’t happen in real life. The kids in Bears are refreshingly true to life, despite much of their slang being horribly dated.
Anyone who played baseball in high school. Making your high school team means you probably played in competitive leagues and owned all your own equipment as a kid. This means you’ll relate more to the bad guys than the Bears. If that’s fine with you, go for it. Otherwise you might want something a little more inspirational with characters that mirror your competitive drive.
Little League Nostalgia: 4 stars
Humor: 5 stars
Underage drinking: 5 tall boys
Walter Matthau: like seeing your grandpa drunk and yelling at kids.