The Bad News Bears (1976)
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A major surprise as one of 1976's top grossing films. THE BAD NEWS BEAR S is a movie about children that is refreshing, utterly believable, and quite cleverly funny. Walter Matthau is at his absolute best as the gru mbling beer-guzzling former minor-league pitcher who gets roped into coa ching a band of half-pint misfits somewhat loosely called a team. With t his bunch in uniform, it's impossible to get caught up in the suburban c ompetitive spirit that drives other adults to extremes of parental dscip line. So, instead, the Bears have a good time.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
What follows is the familiar plot of a bunch of underdog kids coming together as the "Team Nobody Believed In" and contending for the championship against a team that represents everything that's wrong when parents spoil simple pleasures for their children (the Yankees, coached by Vic Morrow, in a neatly-observed performance). Look, I don't know if "Bears" even did it first, but this movie certainly does it best, and without the labored sentimentality of its progeny.
"Bears" never turns cartoonish. It captures just the right atmosphere- slanting, late afternoon sunlight during the games, the bikes parked behind the dugouts, the post-game chants. The kids, led by Tatum O'Neal and Jackie Earle Haley all perform well, and each has a sharply defined personality. Even Morrow, as Buttermaker's antagonist, isn't portrayed as bad or evil- just a guy with misplaced priorities that make him act like a jerk.
But Matthau makes this movie, conning kids into making martinis for him and cleaning pools while he regales them with increasingly drunken stories of his baseball glory days... until he passes out on the mound in a litter of beer cans. Matthau plays Buttermaker as a modern day loser who discovers (eventually) he still has a better nature.Read more ›
The Bad News Bears is great! When kids are allowed to act like real kids, they can be pretty convincing. The humor is derived from watching the kids deal with each other or watching Matthau deal with their exasperating antics. And it has quite a number of actually touching moments, as when loud mouthed little Tanner sticks up for Lupus, or when Matthau coaxes Ahmad out of a tree after a particularly poor performance on the field, and of course, when both coaches lose their cool in the dugout during the final game. (Parents can learn lessons from this flick as well).
So, if you have not seen this since you were a kid, check it out, there was a lot more going on than you remember, and if you are an adult wondering if you should let your eight year old see it, go for it. I turned out alright!
We never see the kids at home, or with their families except for some brief snippets at the very end; the film exists only on the playing field and the dugouts. Matthau is simply wonderful as a gruff drunk who doesn't suddenly become loveable in a bland burst of generic orchestral mediocrity -- kudos to the filmmakers for incorporating the score to Carmen throughout the entire film.
Vic Morrow shines in a supporting role that embodies the cutthroat world of American Little League (and sadly the movie made me ask, does everything about America have to be so cutthroat?) and Morrow's performance is eerily true-to-life of all the sports parents and coaches out there who are more into the game than the kids. Watch for the tense stand-off scene between Morrow and Brandon Cruz.
The Bears went on to sully their legacy with two less than stellar sequels and a short lived TV series but this original film is worth holding onto.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie would not be politically correct in today's society. It his soo funny.Published 7 days ago by kathryn peterson
Very funny and refreshing given today's PC sensitivity. All done with comedy in mind.Published 11 days ago by Patrick M
This movie is a classic and a must see for all baseball fans!Published 1 month ago by pkextravaganza