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Major League (DVD) Review

Featuring a motley band of eccentric baseball teammates, Major League ranks as one of the best sports comedies ever produced. Released in 1989, it follows the story of the then hapless Cleveland Indians (winners of numerous division titles in the decade since) who are inherited by their dead owner�s self-absorbed, bitchy wife, Rachel Phelps. Uncovering a clause in the team�s contract that will allow her to move the team to Miami if attendance falls below two million for the year, Phelps does everything in her power to make the Indians not just lovable losers, but the worst team in baseball history. The result is a memorable and unorthodox adventure into the annals of baseball playoff history.

Hiring Lou Brown (James Gammon), an ex-Toledo Mud Hens manager turned tire-shop manager, as the new leader of the Indians, Rachel Phelps constructs a team destined to finish in last place. It�s all part of a scheme designed to land her in the far more preferable and climate-friendly city of Miami. To keep Brown company in the dugout, she imports an entire team of oddballs, rejects, and misfits. Among them are the charismatic Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes), a lightning bolt speedster who can�t hit, Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), an aging catcher with bad knees, Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) a high-priced, low-talent free-agent acquisition, Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), a power-hitter who can�t hit a curveball to save his life, and Ricky �Wild Thing� Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), a fireball pitcher who can�t hit the broad side of a barn. It all adds up to a pathetic display of baseball futility the likes of which major league baseball has never been seen before, and most likely, will never see again.

Longtime Indians announcer Harry Doyle (Bob Uecker) provides a plethora of hilarious one-liners and perfect comic relief while, with whiskey in hand, he follows a magical season in the history Cleveland�s troubled franchise. In fact, Uecker�s outtakes alone would make for an extremely entertaining sketch comedy. Off-the-field stories also crop up with Jake�s pursuit of his old flame Lynn Wells (Rene Russo), and Ricky Vaughn�s affair with rival teammate Roger Dorn�s wife Suzanne (Stacy Carroll).

But in the end, only one thing in the world can motivate this strange amalgam of rejects to develop into a contender � a mutual dislike of Rachel Phelps. Punishing the team for each win, she eventually has them flying to games in an antique bi-plane and traveling cross-country by bus. Can the team overcome their personal demons, internal conflict, and an owner determined to see them lose? It�s a load of fun finding out.

Written and directed by the multitalented David S. Ward, creator of such Academy Award-winning films as The Sting (1973) and Sleepless In Seattle (1993), Major League is an amazingly well-written comedy classic that truly delivers. As far as comedies go, you�ll be hard-pressed to find one better than this. Love of baseball is a plus, but not a necessity for one to enjoy it. In the end, a funny movie is a funny movie, and a good laugh is a good laugh. Both extend far beyond the boundaries of the sports world. As such, I wager a shot of Bob Uecker�s whiskey that you�ll fall in love with these Cleveland Indians.

Submitted by:

Britt Gillette

Britt Gillette is author of The DVD Report, a blog where you can find more reviews like this one. Source: http://thedvdreport.blogspot.com/2006/02/major-league-dvd.html


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