"Bad News Bears"
Directed by Richard Linklater.
Written by Bill Lancaster (who also wrote the 1976 original),
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 8/4/05
I literally hadn't seen the original in 20
years, but that didn't matter to me, and it shouldn't to you...if
you liked Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad
Santa" and you liked director Richard Linklater's other kinda-kids
of Rock", you'll be in hog heaven with the remake of "Bad News
That's because watching ex-minor league
pitcher Morris Buttermaker (Thornton) booze and curse his way
through a season trying to coach a bunch of 11- and 12-year-olds is
pretty damn funny. Buttermaker, who apparently only pitched in
the majors for less than a month, has turned his life into a big
bowl of shit, drinking himself into oblivion every weekend, dating
strippers and working as an exterminator somewhere in California.
When a rich lawyer (Marcia Gay Harden) offers to pay Buttermaker big
cash to coach a worse-than-dogshit Little League baseball team,
Buttermaker takes the check thinking he'll have the chance to do
nothing more than drink on the bench. Of course, he eventually
begins to "care" about his players, so with the help of his
estranged daughter (Sammi Kane Kraft) and a local ringer named Kelly
(Jeffrey Davies), he kicks the booze to the curb--temporarily--to
help beat the current kings of the hill, coached by asshold/Under
Armour spokesmodel Roy Bullock (Greg Kinnear).
Thornton, not quite as soulless as his "Bad
Santa" character but almost as profane (on a PG-13 level), is great
once again, from his line delivery to his hilarious outbursts of
anger...hopefully, we'll be able to recognize his genius when he's
dead and gone, because Thornton always turns in an A+ performance
whether the film is good or bad. Many of the lines that he
utters under his breath will end up in cult lore; I am not
remembering how many were uttered in the Walter Matthau original,
but it don't matter to me as long as they get the laughs. The
kids are great but don't steal the show; Linklater is showing a deft
touch when it comes to child actors in his films, since he seems to
know that adults are sitting in the audience but finds a way to make
the flick entertaining for both the kids and the parents that are
forced to come along. Linklater then gives you scenes like one
where the kids and Buttermaker are celebrating at a local
Hooter's...fun for the whole family.
Yep, I laughed, and yep, I thought the movie
was predictable yet still entertaining, but I didn't walk out
thinking that it was the daddy of all daddies. Kind of like a
solid all-around player, "Bad News Bears" doesn't do anything badly,
it just doesn't knock it out of the park. Certainly worth the
cash you will drop on it, though, because it really is funny stuff
and it's got a little something for the whole family. It's
nice to see movies that are far from PC still get the green light
back at the studio.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard