Thursday, September 19, 2013

Major League (Wild Thing Edition) (1989)

Major LeagueConsidered by many sports fans as "the greatest baseball" film that captures the excitement of America's past time, the 1989 sports comedy film "Major League" brought in over $50 million during its theatrical run.

The film which was written and directed by David S. Ward (writer for "The Sting" and "Sleepless in Seattle") was known for jumpstarting the careers of Wesley Snipes ("Blade", "U.S. Marshalls", etc.), Dennis Haybert ("24', "The Unit", etc.) and Rene Russo ("Lethal Weapn 3 and 4', "Get Shorty", etc.) but also trying to capture the realism of underdogs sports teams and even Charlie Sheen (who was a former high school baseball pitcher), an actor throwing actual pitches. And possibly breathing new life into the Cleveland Indians baseball team (which did very well during 1990's) and giving significance to the number #99 and also athletes utilizing the song "Wild Thing" as their theme song.

"Major League" is the ultimate sports film featuring a group of underdogs not expected do accomplish anything but in the process, becoming a team that has a chance of making it to the playoffs.


"MAJOR LEAGUE" is featured in 1080p High Definition. And is actually a very clean and vibrant transfer thanks to the fact that the film was remastered several years ago.

For a film that is 20-years-old, you realize how beautiful the actual picture quality is as colors pop, blacks are well done and although evident, minimal specks of dirt. Of course, as many films created back in the late 80's and mid 90's tend to have a softness to it, "Major League" also has that soft feel. But the amount of sharpness and color vibrancy makes this release much, much better than the 2007 "Wild Thing Edition" DVD release.

As for audio quality, audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (also French and Spanish Mono). The film is primarily a dialogue-driven film and only until you get to the last half hour of the film, where the stadium is finally packed with people and Vaughn getting his "Wild Thing" introduction, do you finally see the sound being kicked up a notch.

Audio is front channel heavy, with some subwoofer usage during X's "Wild Thing" theme (even more pronounced on the menu selection). Rear surrounds featured a little stadium ambiance but nothing significant in terms of audio direction but overall, you hear things quite clearly.

Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.


The "Major League: WILD THING EDITION" Blu-ray Disc release comes with everything that was included on the 2007 DVD and all are in Standard Definition. Included are:

* Commentary: Commentary by Writer/Director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser The commentary for "Major League" was quite interesting. Especially how David S. Ward wanted to reshoot scenes, for example, Wesley Snipes final scene and by the time he was done, he was black and blue from sliding a lot. Also, Ward and Chesser discussing the crowd scenes especially in the championship game, shooting long hours to the early morning (which Russo cried because she was forgetting her lines because it was so late) and how CG wasn't used at all, especially during Charlie Sheen's pitching and more. Discussion of how the ending had to be reshot because it didn't test as well in front of the audience. So ,they had to travel to London to have Margaret Whitton reshoot her scenes as Rachel Phelps. Also, how both men were almost speechless because they were enjoying the film. Overall, an informative and fun commentary.

* My Kinda Team Making Major League (23:10) Interviews with the Director, Producer and cast of "Major League". How the film continues to stay strong and how David S. Ward is a true baseball fan and how he modeled certain characters from a combination of a few baseball players and working with LA Dodgers Steve Yeager who put the cast through a 2 week baseball boot camp and more.

* A Major League Look at Major League (14:27) Interview with several Cleveland Indians baseball players and staff who discuss similarities or differences from the characters of "Major League" and people who actually play in the big leagues. Especially how one minor leaguer watches the film each day he is supposed to start pitching.

* Bob Uecker: Just A Bit Outside (12:43) A look at Bob Uecker the baseball player, the baseball announcer and being on the film. Featuring cast of "Major League", Cleveland Indians players and staff and interviews with Bob Uecker.

* Alternate Ending with Filmmaker Introduction (4:18) In the original screenplay and for the film, it was supposed to be revealed that the owner Rachel Phelps planned it all along and that she had to use the baseball players that they had because the team had no money. But because it was tested badly among fans who despised her character, they had to reshoot the whole scene with her character.

* A Tour of Cerrano's Locker (1:35) A short segment with the character of Pedro Cerrano showcasing his vodoo shrine in his locker.

* Photo Gallery Still photos from the film.


"Major League" still manages to have the enthusiasm as it did back in 1989 with sports fans in 2009. Many baseball players and even athletes talk about the film and how it ranks as one of their top sports films of all time and whenever its on television, they have to watch it.

It's an enjoyable film but it all comes down to what your preference is for a baseball film. Are you looking for inspirational and serious films such as "Field of Dreams" or do you want a sports comedy film such as "Major League". It's also an honest film that even professional baseball players and staff have said it has its relevance because many elements from the film actually happen in real life. From veterans assisting rookies, players having their daily rituals before a game, relievers in their own element and the feeling of sadness and excitement for a fan of one's baseball team.

Obviously, not all audiences enjoy sports films but for those who do, "Major League" definitely is quite fun and entertaining with its team of interesting to unusual characters but most of all, watching a group of people rising to the occasion as a team and most of all kicking some butt!

"Major League: WILD THING EDITION" is worth checking out!

No, you're not going to walk away from this movie thinking about how to achieve world peace or end poverty, but you will be walking away with a smile. MAJOR LEAGUE is a lighthearted, entertaining film that also happens to be hysterically funny. Throw the great sport of baseball into the mix and MAJOR LEAGUE is a win/win for those who love the game and those who just want to have a good laugh.

There's nothing complicated about the plot. When an aggressive femme fatale (Margaret Whitton) inherits the Cleveland Indians from her late husband, her plan is to put together a team so bad it will lose its fan base and allow her to relocate. And so a band of misfits is put together: washed-up players, inexperienced players, headcases. Of course, predictably, her plan goes awry, but it's still good fun watching the antics of the Indians as they misfire and then come together over a long, long season.

Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo, Corbin Bernsen, and Wesley Snipes headline a great cast. Bob Uecker is absolutely hysterical. My favorite character is manager Lou Brown (James Gammon) who delivers the film's funniest line, but one I dare not repeat here (it would never get past the editors)! Grab a hot dog and a beer, pull up a chair, and let MAJOR LEAGUE put a wide grin on your face.

Buy Major League (Wild Thing Edition) (1989) Now

It's not a deep drama and it won't make you ask you any tough questions of yourself, but Major League is pure entertainment from beginning to end. As such, it's my all-time favorite movie. It's easy to invest in the story (a Cleveland team made up of spare parts tries to overcome their owner's plot to move the franchise) even if it's been dated by the Indians' '90s success. The comedy doesn't pull any punches but still stays pretty tasteful, and I still find it laugh-out-loud funny even after 30+ viewings. The comedy is equal parts outstanding writing by David S. Ward and brilliant characterizations by the actors. James Gammon is dead-on as grizzled manager Lou Brown and Tom Berenger is actually sympathetic as journeyman catcher Jake Taylor. Dennis Haysbert and Corbin Bernsen give great performances, and Charlie Sheen is inimitable as Wild Thing Vaughn. I think any baseball fan will enjoy this movie, but fans of good comedy will probably like it, too.

The DVD has no special features (what else do you expect from Paramount?), but the picture and sound are good.

Movie: 6/5

DVD: 4/5

Overall: 5/5

Read Best Reviews of Major League (Wild Thing Edition) (1989) Here

I LOVE this film... since it's initial release, it has been one of my "guilty pleasure" VHS tapes. Now that the DVD has finally arrived after several years of waiting, I feel as though I've been taken. In the first place, this film is OBVIOUSLY CROPPED from the 4x3 format to make it look as though it's widescreen. This is NOT the theatrical "widescreen" release. Check out the opening scenes where the Indian's futility is told via a series of newspaper headlines of the times. Most of the headlines have the upper halves of the letters CHOPPED OFF! This is SHAMEFUL! The DVD's producers have actually given us LESS than the VHS tape. Second, there are NO, NONE, ZERO extras on this DVD. What exactly were we waiting all this time for?

Anybody out there who waited as I did for all this time for this DVD is in for a big letdown.

Want Major League (Wild Thing Edition) (1989) Discount?

Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Charlie Sheen, and Wesley Snipes star in this fun film about the woeful Cleveland Indians baseball team and how a group of misfits and castoffs came together to make the Indians pennant winners again.

Berenger stars as Jake Taylor, a former all-star catcher who has been toiling in the Mexican league. He gets a call from the Indians GM to come to spring training to be the team captain and help mentor the younger players. These players include Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes), a speedy outfielder who can only hit pop flys, Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), a flame-throwing pitcher fresh out of the California penal league who possesses a blazing fastball but has no control, and Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), a hard-hitting Cuban who defected for religious freedom. He can crush fastballs, but nothing else. He also has a shrine in his locker with an idol named Jobu. Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) is a high-priced third baseman who cares more about his investment portfolio than he does about baseball.

Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitten) has inherited the Indians after the death of her owner-husband. A former showgirl, she is determined to move the team to Miami, where she will cash in on several perks from the city. But to do this, the team's attendance must fall below a certain level. Determined to get what she wants, she begins taking things away from the team, such as whirlpools, and even their private plane. Soon the team is travelling to games by bus. However, the team has Lou Brown (James Gammon) as their manager. He is determined to make the Indians winners, regardless of what Rachel does.

The season starts off slowly for the team, and they are in their traditional last place position. But the GM lets Lou in on Rachel's scheme, and things begin to change. The players realize that the only option they have other than becoming free agents or being released is to win it all. And that's what they set out to do.

I'm a big baseball movie fan, and this movie is one of my all-time favorites. The story is excellent (being a Cubs fan, I'm glad the producers didn't pick them as their team to use), and the acting is tremendous. The choice of Bob Uecker as Indians announcer Harry Doyle was a stroke of genius. His announcing and one-liners really add a great dimension to the film. Rene Russo does a good job as Jake's on again, off again girlfriend Lynn Wells. Its fun to watch their ups and downs throughout the movie. There's even a take-off on the then-popular "do you know us?" American Express Card commercials.

I give this teriffic movie my highest recommendation. Watch and see how a bunch of no-names and has-beens bond together for one magical season to become winners.

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