#10 of the Top Ten Baseball Movies
Major League (1989)
Written and Directed by David S. Ward
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Margaret Whitton, Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo
The Cleveland Indians are in the midst of a rebuilding year. Unfortunately, the team has just been inherited by Rachel, the showgirl wife (Whitton) of the late owner. She’s convinced that she can put together a team bad enough to finish in last place. If Rachel is successful she’ll be able to move the team to Miami and release all of the current players. As she sets her plan in motion she begins signing as many unknown and has-been players that she can. This includes guys like Ricky Vaughn (Sheen), Willie Mays Hayes (Snipes), and Jake Taylor (Berenger). When the players find out about her plan they’re willing to do whatever it takes to ruin it.
This is one of the often mentioned films when baseball movies come up. The unique approach to the game is really a salute to the misfits of baseball. David S. Ward (The Sting) wrote and directed this movie. Later he would also write two sequels, directing the second film. The stars of this one includes Charlie Sheen (Eight Men Out), Tom Berenger (Platoon), Margaret Whitton (The Man Without A Face), Wesley Snipes (Blade), and Rene Russo (Thor: The Dark World). The weakness of this one is the overuse of some of the comedic elements. Sometimes this just feels like it’s trying too hard. Overall, this is a funny approach to the game of baseball with some memorable moments.
The story is fun, simple, and allows for the comedy to shine at every moment. The cast all do a great job bringing their characters to life. Each one of the players has a unique and memorable personality. The writing did a great job working in dialogue that fits the actor and their character. The film also seems to work on sympathy for the underdogs or the outsiders. No matter how you look at this one, it’s a funny movie.
The acting fits in with movies like The Naked Gun or Hot Shots!. Every actor found their own way to exaggerate and magnify the eccentricities of their character. Sheen actually gives a relatively mild performance when compared to many of his co-stars. In my opinion, Snipes is one of the highlights of this movie. The struggles of his character are hilarious throughout the movie. All together, this cast brought the ragtag bunch of ball players to life in excellent ways. Margaret Whitton is also great as the cold and cruel new owner of the struggling team.
This is a fun look at baseball from a different angle than most films have used. This unique approach is geared to an adult audience and sometimes tries a little too hard. If you’re a fan of The Naked Gun movies or others like them; this is one you should see. I would also suggest this to anyone looking to enjoy a new way of looking at baseball. I give this one 3.7 out of 5 stars.