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Let's Go Tribe Movie Club: Major League review & discussion

"Juuuust a bit outside"

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Major League, Paramount Pictures

There is not a whole lot I can say about Major League that everyone (especially you guys) do not already know. It is a fantastic comedy, let alone a comedy based around baseball. The jokes are punchy, intelligently written, and it manages to juggle more than half a dozen main characters perfectly.

In particular, the opening act does a great job giving you every bit of information you need to know about the main characters. It does not go about it in a very creative way, the film simply goes from player to player as Manager Brown helps the audience establish their issues, but every character works so well off each other that it does not need to dance around introducing them. More character elements are sprinkled throughout the movie, but most everything you need to know is smartly introduced right up front. The whole sequence of Willie Mays Hayes being carried out on his bed, waking up outside, and beating a couple of guys in a race is still amazing as I remembered it.

Every main character's arc, even outside the scope of baseball, intertwine and are balanced well. No one character ever feels more weighted as the "main" character more than anything other. Even Ricky Vaughn, who is arguably the true main character if not the most popular, is just another guy in this team full of misfits.

James Gammon as manager Lou Brown is the perfect glue to hold them all together. He's just enough of a serious manager that he does ruin any level of immersion, but his constant dry humor remarks deliver time and time again. Wesley Snipes is incredibly charismatic as Willie Mays Hayes, taking complete control of the character and making it his own. And Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle is one of my favorite characters in the film, and also the reason that he is one of my favorite real life announcers.

So many great jokes, so many quotable moments. As long as baseball exists, Major League will be relevant.

But that brings up another point I have always wondered in regards to the film--could another one like it ever be made? The reason it worked so well is that the Indians were such a down-trodden and awful franchise for so long that they were already a punchline. Most of the time you need to "punch up" in comedy, but doing so with a sports movie would just be insulting to that team's franchise and probably not received well.

But with the Indians, even Cleveland fans knew how bad off they were and loved (still love) the movie. With the way sports are moving towards league-wide parity and every team is a least competitive once in a while, I don't think any professional sports team will ever be as much of a punching bag as the late-80s Indians were. Even today's Miami Marlins, who are arguably the closest we have, are competitive every few years before dumping their team. We may never see another movie quite like Major League again.

The Cleveland connection

Basically everything. The entire main cast is a part of the Indians organization one way or another. They are either washed up has-beens, never have-beens, ex-convicts, or future vampire hunters. The movie also sprinkles in some real facts about the Indians and the state of the franchise in 1989, right down to the depressing details of their World Series drought (which still exists today).

Next week's movie: The Sandlot

The Sandlot won by a pretty large margin and I could not be happier about that. In fact, it is easily the movie I most wanted to see on the list. Be sure to watch or re-watch The Sandlot before the next post on December 14! Here's how you can find it online if you do not already own it: