Review: Major League

The funniest movie about baseball, eighties classic Major League stars Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen as baseball has-been’s who rise above their scheming owner.

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The great thing about Major League is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, opting for a light tone and some crazy characters who embody the subtle sarcastic zaniness of the film. After the corrupt new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants to relocate the team to Miami where she can wine and dine herself in the sunny climate, she invites lots of “has been’s and never will be’s” to spring training in the hope that her terrible team will finish last allowing her to achieve her goal. However, when her screwball players start winning games she starts to wonder if her plan will backfire.

One thing Major League has in abundance is great comedy – it’s without doubt one of the funniest film’s about baseball ever made. You’ve just got to look at the characters from Pedro Cerano (Dennis Haysbert) and his praying to a voodoo god to help him hit curveballs; Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross) who wears any lubricating agent he can find on various places of his body just so he can doctor the ball to help his pitches have more movement; and Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn who takes his “call-up” from a prison cell. The film’s ability to continually find something funny within any situation is a great virtue that never allows it drag.

There’s a great scene in a public library where Rene Russo and Tom Berenger are arguing about their failed past relationship. Just when it seems like the usual clichés are being delivered, Russo asks him about a girl that seemed to be the catalyst for their ending friendship to which he replies: “She bet me fifty bucks she had a better body than you…I had to defend your honour.” This sums up the film – a conventional story inspired by sudden shots of inventive humour and wry social sarcasm. The fact the film has so many memorable comedic moments – Charlie Sheen’s over-the-top glasses to help him pitch, and when he inadvertently sleeps with his team mate’s wife; the boat-engine Jacuzzi and when one his players tells coach Lou Brown (James Gammon) a point in his contract, he throws it to the ground and with a straight face, pisses all over it; when uninvited Wesley Snipes gets taken out during the night whilst sleeping in his bed and wakes up outside saying “I’ve been cut already?” – highlights the film’s fun, lasting appeal.

The film might be straightforward and predictable, and the romantic sub-plot between Berenger and Russo doesn’t quite work (the music that seems to pronounce each of their scenes is awfully melodramatic), but Major League has an abundance of laughs to rise above the clichés and enough lovable, screwball characters to keep you entertained.

Review by Daniel StephensSee all reviews

Directed by: David S. Ward
Written by: David S. Ward
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Wesley Snipes

Released: 1989 / Genre: Sports-Comedy / Country: USA / IMDB

Buy from Amazon.co.uk: DVD
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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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    Alex Withrow Reply

    Great review of a truly great, carefree comedy. You’re right, it’s not revelatory or anything, but it’s the kind of flick that if it’s on, I’ll watch it.

  2. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Excellent review and this, along with films like Office Space and Anchorman, are some of the most quotable comedies of all time. Cerrano still cracks me up to this day. And of course the iconic and inimmitable James Gammon taking a wiz on Corbin Bernsen’s contract is hilarious.

    Thanks for the terrific review and some great memories.

    “I look like a banker in this.”

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    Evan Crean Reply

    I don’t love baseball, but I do love Major League! Nothing like a great underdog story filled with zany characters. Agreed that the romantic aspect doesn’t work so well, although it’s not all that important in the grand scheme of this film. Great review!

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