The Bad News Bears



The Bad News Bears – love this movie, I watched it with Zen, and it is especially poignant, since he is on a Bad News Bears-like team called the Coconuts. In the early scenes, when we saw the hapless Bears making mistake after mistake, it was like a revisitation of the past five years of Coconuts errors and misery; but, like the Coconuts, the Bears became champions through hard work and perseverance. Walter Mathau is fantastic as a drunk ex-minor league pro who is now cleaning pools, getting drunk and coaching kids baseball in a small town, not necessarily in that order. The kids come out on the pool runs, mix his martinis, pick him up when he can’t walk any more, and move on with their day. The team is sponsored by “Chico’s Bail Bonds”. The kids are hard cases, mouthing racial epithets that wouldn’t stand the censors in these intolerant times (hey – it’s not gangsta rap, right; its not ‘Nam, there are rules, man…). Jokes are lost on us, like “Who do you think you are, Catfish Hunter?” Great lines of dialogue:

- Blow it out your bunghole.

- I know an eleven-year-old girl who’s on the pill.
- Don’t ever say that word again.

- Sit down and shut up, or I’ll shave off half your mustache and stuff it up your left nostril.

- Stretcher!!! [when one kid gets hit in the nuts with a ball]
- A stretcher for his balls?!?!?

Cool bell bottom pitching – Tatum O’Neill rocks!!!

There’s a great wordless scene when Walter Matthau learns the price of victory at all costs. We watch the opposing coach lose his son and wife in a withering public scene (the coach is played by Vic Morrow, who sadly died on the set of the Twilight Zone Movie in John Landau’s segment.

Incidentally, the TV show that was one of the end results of the surprise hit was also a monster hit in Japan (it also featured Corey Feldman, some sort of a debut for the young actor).

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