In the previous post here, I explained the premise: road trip, baseball movies, best of the best. Easy. But not all baseball movies can make the cut and so, a list of those that didn’t, why they didn’t and some quotes along the way.
Bad News Bears – I mentioned this briefly in the previous post but do believe it is entitled to a bit more explanation of why it gets cut. Good, wholesome idea and plot – unruly kids, drunk coach, improbable odds and a bit of magic creates a memorable film. However, the sequeals killed it and in reality, I need more than a bunch of foul mouth kids, drunk coach and pratfalls and mistakes to think it deserves classic status. Entertaining? Yes, Good baseball movie? Yes again. In the same league as some of the best? No, not this film. But I do give kudos to Walter Matthau who seems to have been born to play that role.
“This quitting thing, it's a hard habit to break once you start”
Pride of the Yankees – This is what passed as a great baseball movie back in 1942 when it was released. It wasn’t about baseball, it was about relationships. Where are the car crashes, where are the explosions? No really, it is a look inside a complicated man and the relationships he has with the various people in his life – his parents, domineering mother, wife, sports writers and teammates as well as the public. Problems – multiple, starting with the fact that Gary Cooper was not an athlete, was right handed and they reversed the film to make him accurately bat left handed but then considerably altered Gehrig’s speech to the fans at Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Day to better fir the tenor of the film. With such a well covered event, it would be like having Charlton Heston part the Red Sea in the “Ten Commandments” with an iPad. That plus there is so little baseball playing shown, in part due to Cooper, a fact that is covered with stirring montages of stadiums and pennants and other similar images. Come on people, play ball why don’t you.
“Is it three strikes, Doc?” “You want it straight?” “Yeah”. “It's three strikes.”
Bang the Drum Slowly is a melodrama staring a then unknown Robert DeNiro. Again this is not about baseball but rather is a drama set in a baseball uniform. These guys could have been any other sports figures by changing very little. Good moving film, just not one deserving of the Hall of Fame Bus Tour.
“Skip the facts, just gimme the details.”
Major League – Not much to see here I must admit. Sure, some funny parts and lines but no lessons learned except that sometimes fiction (Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn” plays out in reality (Charlie “Two and a Half Men Meltdown” Sheen). Just not enough to warrant inclusion in the classic baseball extravaganza.
"I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars." (woops, sorry, quoted the real Charlie Sheen…)
“Vaughn's been looking good out there today. “ “Don't worry, he'll blow it.”
(You tell me which quote is more appropriate and truthful…)
A League of Their Own – This was the toughest one to eliminate and I will admit right from the start that should we expand this to the Top Six Baseball Films, it gets the nod as next one in. It is funny, historically based, full of baseball lessons that are real. A bit too much “girly stuff” for my taste in a baseball movie but the acting and directing and pace are all winners in my book. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Jon Lovitz, Garry Marshall, directed by Penny Marshall. American Classic. Put it in the bullpen and be ready to call it in, but it just does not make my starting five.
“Well I was just wonderin' why you would throw home when we got a two-run lead. You let the tying run get on second base and we lost the lead because of you. Start using your head. That's the lump that's three feet above your ass.: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pig shit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry? NO. And do you know why? Because there's no crying in baseball. THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! No crying!
A list of movies I would not even have considered…
The Rookie – good movie with Dennis Quaid, almost made it to the also ran status
Air Bud, Seventh Inning Fetch - enough said
The Babe starring an incredible simulated Babe in John Goodman nor The babe Ruth Story with William Bendix
BASEkatball – remind me to tell you the Mrsfabp story about this classic
Ed – the monkey and Matt LeBlanc, what were they thinking?
Summer Catch – please…
Fever Pitch – Jimmy Fallon AND Drew Barrymore, in the same movie?