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Major League - 1989

Major League - 1989

Director(s): David S. Ward

Writer(s): David S. Ward              

Cinematography by: Reynaldo Villalobos

Editor(s): Dennis M. Hill

Cast: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes, Bob Uecker, Charles Cyphers, Chelcie Ross, and Dennis Haysbert


This year marked the thirtieth anniversary of one of the best sports comedies of all-time, Major League. After its release, it quickly gained a large cult following among sports fans, sports announcers, and professional players - there are even MLB pitchers come out to the Wild Thing song just like Sheen does in the film. So, with the baseball season almost at the halfway mark, how about we revisit this beloved sports film.

The story follows the Cleveland Indians baseball team as it falls on the hands of an owner looking to tank the season, so she can justify her plan to relocating to Miami. The owner scraps together a group of washed out misfits, in hopes of a horrible season. Much of her chagrin, the team rallies together, and string together a winning streak that takes them to the playoffs, uniting the city, and recharging the fanbase making it impossible for the owner to relocate and giving the players one last chance of glory. 


I want to get this out of the way first; yes, there are a lot of outdated jokes that for a first time viewer (and even for a returning one) including sexist jokes, and mainly the voodoo/Latino re-occurring jokes of All-States' Dennis Haysbert's Pedro Cerrano. Yet, somehow this film manages to overcome these faults thanks to the charm, and positive energy an underdog story inherently brings along. And as a disclaimer, I am of Latino descent - and I have always hated when an American plays the Latino on screen and destroys my language, and I am still able to enjoy this film every time hit play. 

The story plays out as all sports films depicting an underdog story - we get the first streak of losing, with the team not getting along - then a leader emerges from the group. The experience of losing, and their new-found leader, rallies the team to put their differences aside, and they right the ship. The stadium gets packed full of fair-weather fans, very realistic, and it forces the owner to stay in Cleveland.  The cast has incredible chemistry, and their different personalities allow them to play off each other in fun ways. My favorites of the players are Charlie Sheen as Wild Thing and Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes. Sheen is an incredible pitcher that has no control, and Snipes is extremely fast on his feet, and cannot hit a single pitch. They are our way in as an audience since this is their first team in the league and we learn of baseball traditions, rules and customs through them. However, what I love about this film is Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle, the announcer of the team. Uecker's delivery of witty, dry jokes regarding the team, players, fans, and the owner always gets me, and his voice is perfect.

Major League doesn't need a review; I just wanted to mention that it turned thirty-years-old, and I have been watching it since I was a kid. The energy is infectious, and you end up rooting for the team and enjoying the ride. Also, there is a small love story between Russo and Berenger, woven in for the movie watchers that aren't fans of sports stories. It is just a fun film that always delivers no matter how much times you watch it.

Major League is Glass Half Full.

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