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Major League (1989) – DVD Review


Written & Directed by: David S. Ward
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Rene Russo, and Bob Uecker

Released by: Paramount
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yep

My Advice: Rental.

Rachel Phelps (Whitton) has assumed control of the hard-luck Cleveland Indians, and would like to see nothing more than a move to the richer, sunnier market of Miami. But in order to push the move proposal through, she needs to make sure the team has such a rotten season that they lose money on ticket sales and merchandise. Once the team is in difficult enough financial straits, she can pull up stakes and move to Miami.

To better guarantee her chances, she loads the Indians up with the biggest stack of washed-up has-beens and high-risk never-weres she can find, including a catcher with bum knees that’s well past his prime, a pitcher with more felony charges than wins, and a catcher that just wants to draw a salary and ride out his endorsement deals. What she doesn’t count on is the will to win possessed by this group of no-names.

[ad#longpost]The story in Major League is one that’s been told before, every place from The Dirty Dozen to The Bad News Bears. Take one part grizzled old veteran misfits, add one part new and reckless misfits and a pinch of common adversity, and stir vigorously. The end result here is pretty amusing, as the cast of misfits assembled makes for some entertaining moments. The comedy plays for the cheap laugh, but it makes no bones about it.

For a middling guilty-pleasure comedy, the film sports a solid cast, all of whom give the script all they’ve got. Berenger and Bersen are solid in their roles as the team’s elder statesmen, and particularly amusing in their personal conflicts over how the game should be approached. Sheen likely didn’t have much stretching to do to manage a vaguely strung-out petty convict, and seems to be carrying his Ferris Bueller cameo into a career in baseball. This also marks one of Wesley Snipes’ earliest gigs in a major motion picture, and he performs admirably.

The DVD presentation couldn’t get more spare without actually cutting scenes from the feature. There is no additional material whatsoever included. Even trailers are absent, which strikes me as a bit lazy on the part of the DVD production–I’m not a big champion of trailers as a feature, but just how damned hard is it to include them? Essentially, Paramount wants this one out so that those people, like myself, who enjoy the film as a sort of brainless guilty pleasure can get their copy, and the video stores can replace all their worn out VHS copies.

Click here to buy it from Amazon.
Click here to buy the “Wild Thing” edition on DVD from Amazon.