Major League (Wild Thing Edition) - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll May 27, 2009, 14:26 GMT
She’s beautiful, smart, goal-oriented, and she just inherited the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, she wants to move the franchise to Miami, and a losing season is her only ticket to Florida. So she signs the wildest gang of screwballs that ever spit tobacco. They’re handsome, but they’re hopeless! Her catcher (Tom Berenger) is a washed-up womanizer who struck out in life. Her ace pitcher (Charlie Sheen) is a punked-out crazy who ...more
When the team’s new owner wants to move to warmer climates and hires a bunch of misfits to drive ticket sales down, she never imagines that they’ll pull it together and make the playoffs. That’s just what happens in this 1989 baseball comedy. Play ball!
Former Las Vegas showgirl Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) has inherited the Cleveland Indians baseball team from her late husband. She’s not happy with the wintry climate of Cleveland and wants to move the team to the warmer Florida. To do so she has to reduce the stadium attendance to void the team’s contract.
So she instructs the new general manager Charlie Donovan (Charles Cyphers) to hire the worst team imaginable from a list she has already prepared.
Those bad players include catcher Jack Taylor (Tom Berenger), pitcher Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) who is in jail, brash center fielder Willie “Mays” Hayes (Wesley Snipes), voodoo practicing right fielder Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), veteran pitcher Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross), prima donna third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), and manager Lou Brown (James Gammon), a tire salesman who once managed the Toledo Mud Hens.
Sure enough, her handpicked team of misfits starts to drive ticket sales down with Vaughn’s out of control pitches earning him the moniker “Wild Thing.” However, Brown discovers that it’s his poor eyesight that causes this and when he’s given glasses he begins to improve.
As the team begins to improve, Phelps starts to cut back on their amenities to try and discourage them. Unfortunately for her, the team begins to try harder and they end up in a one game playoff with the New York Yankees for division first place.
Major League is one of the better sports comedies and certainly a surprise hit (leading to two sequels that got gradually worse). David S. Ward was a Cleveland Indians fans had long watched his team suffer indignation after indignation since they were something of a joke. He made them the heroes of this comedy and about five years after the film came out the team seemed to shrug off their curse and began to rise again.
They made it all the way to the 1995 World Series though they lost to the Atlanta Braves. The film features some old pros as well as some new faces. I don’t think that Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen (who actually pitched in high school and is widely cited as having one of the most realistic pitches on film), or Dennis Haysbert were exactly household names when the film opened.
The film also features a role for Rene Russo as Ricky’s ex-girlfriend. Old pros Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, James Gammon, and Bob Uecker had played ball before but they also shine in their respective roles. We can always cheer for the underdogs and Major League also throws in some very good laughs to boot.
Major League is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). Special features are presented in standard definition. They include a commentary by writer/director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser.
The 23 minute “My Kinda Team” interviews the cast and crew about making the film. The 14 minute “A Major League look back at Major League” has professional baseball players and broadcasters talk about the film. The 13 minute “Bob Uecker: Just a bit outside” looks back and the player, pitchman, and actor.
Next is a 4 minute alternate ending, with an introduction by Chesser, that puts Rachel Phelps character in a new light (one that test audiences didn’t like so that’s why it’s an alternate). The 90 second “Tour of Cerrano’s Locker” has Haysbert, in character, showing us his locker. Finally you get a photo gallery.
Major League hits it out of the park as far as baseball comedies go. The Blu-rays adds an upgrade in picture as well as porting over all of the special features from the DVD “Wild Thing” edition. It’s certainly an entertaining evening at the ballpark.