"I can't decide if everything around Cerrano is racist or not. The owner slapping his naked ass and the jungle music behind him are pushing things in one direction." - Jon
"The most important part of Major League is that the baseball part works fantastically." - Bryan
"I think through out the movie there are enough laughs and smiles to hold off any issues with the plot." - Bobby
patterns, same jokes, same big moments. I have no idea why you all have rated it so highly.
Was this movie supposed to be funny? I kept a running total of times I laughed. It was once. I laughed once. Early in the movie, when there's a quick montage of Cleveland-ers talking about how bad the team is, the Japanese guys got a chuckle out of me. That was it. The announcer interplay was alright, but it was all in Uecker's delivery, not anything funny he was actually saying. Compared to his blernsball announcing career, this was a footnote. Wesley Snipes's dancing around was solid physical comedy, but that was more an admiring smirk than a laugh. How could this be so devoid of humor? I've got comedies in my all-time top 50. I have a good sense of humor. Where was any of that here? The average episode of Breaking Bad has more laughs than this, and that's one of the most depressing shows ever made. How is this regarded as a classic comedy?
If the comedy side is a near-failure for me, how about the sports side? Better, but still not great. The owner-as-villain is a fine idea, but the stakes are whether or not she's going to be able to move the team to Miami. In the late 80's, that sounds like a great idea. Forget Cleveland, go to Miami, by all means. There's so many Latinos down there, they should have a baseball team. Setting aside my disinterest in the stakes, building the team had some potential, but it's all start and finish with no middle. Vaughn's got an arm but no control, Hayes has running speed but no bat, Cerrano has power but can only hit easy pitches. Raw talent and no polish. I'm with the movie here. Talent will only get a person so far, but they have to layer the technique on top of it. The movie walks away from this because there's too many players to service and everything just gets magically solved. There was a real movie in bridging the gap between talent and technique, but just slap some glasses on Vaughn, Cerrano curses Jo-Bu, and everyone's an all-star. This made it look incredibly easy to be a professional player. The actual beats of the movie could not be more predictable. Of course Dorn's going to encourage Vaughn on the mound. Of course they're going to play the Yankees at the end, and each player will get their big moment. It was so transparent that it became boring.
Back on the stakes, the goal line isn't win a pennant; it's sell greater than 800,000 tickets. The ticket mark gets totally lost. The journey of the movie shouldn't be about winning pennants; it should be about making the city love them. The players have either seen better days or they're scruffy outsiders, overlooked by everyone else and hoping for another chance to play the game they love. There's a solid metaphor in there about the decaying Rust Belt, but instead, it's just generic Let's-Win-It-All boilerplate. Semi-Pro nails this kind of movie, though it has other problems. That team isn't going to win anything, but what they can do is give Flint, MI a little bit of pride for one night. That's a movie that is putting a twist on the sports genre, instead of riding every cliched thing about it into the ground.
So, I didn't like it as a sports movie either. Any memorable characters or relationships in there? I've praised Uecker's voice already, so there was that. Vaughn is a non-entity, a supposed bad-boy who doesn't do anything in the movie to earn the reputation. Hayes is probably my favorite, but apparently, all he needed to become a professional was a bunch of push-ups. He's not developed any further, and he somehow is hitting .291 by the end. Taylor is pretty much a hangdog douchebag. We talked about stalking in the Fisher King. At least Parry just tailed Honey Bunny. Taylor walks into what he thinks is Rene Russo's twice. No knock, no call, no buzz. He just walks in. That is creepy as hell, and I'm not rooting for him to finally get it together. The manager is a standard, gruff authority figure.
This movie has a difficult relationship with what's viewed as acceptable today. I can't decide if everything around Cerrano is racist or not. The owner slapping his naked ass and the jungle music behind him are pushing things in one direction. Holy shit, how did this manage to get made without Indian protests? Uecker uses every euphemism and stereotype in existence to liven up his broadcasting, plus the imagery of fat white people dressing up in feathers, red face paint, and rain dances. The depiction of the owner is pretty rough, especially the cut-out of her that they slowly remove pieces from. Apparently, there's an alternate ending in which she's revealed as a die-hard fan who voluntarily placed herself as the villain to rally the team. She personally scouted all these deep cut players, and has to make excuses for the shitty planes and buses because the team was actually bankrupted by her useless dead husband. That is such a better movie, and it solves the problem of how these players are all so good so suddenly, but test screening revealed that audiences liked the character better as a vindictive bitch, so that's what they went with. Wonder what's going on there.
It wasn't a total wasteland. An epic shot of Vaughn getting off his motorcycle was fine, and I hate Charlie Sheen. There's a prescient line about celebrity that very much applied to the Sheen of the late 2000's, full of cocaine, domestic abuse, and tiger blood. Cerrano's big home run is stirring, but the movie doesn't get a lot of credit for that, because that moment can only be stirring. I actually laughed twice. In a big climactic moment, the director cuts to a yawning kid. Probably an accident, and not really earned by the movie, but I enjoyed that fuck-up. Vaughn's red ticket and Taylor's bunt were nice twists. That's all the good I have to say about this. Completely forgettable. Not funny. An utterly average sports movie, which is a genre I'm not a big fan of already. Get out of the top 30, Major League. You're a D+.