There are certain movies that a film-addict simply can’t avoid. They may be bad but I watch them anyway. Any romantic comedy from the 80’s. A Transformers flick on FX. Loverboy with Patrick Dempsey. They aren’t good cinema, but I watch because somehow, the interest level is there. I like to think of it as the body needing a healthy dose of crappy movie viewing to balance out the great ones. It’s probably just a weakness.
On Saturday, I was getting ready to watch a very good sports flick, Draft Day(note to self, if Kevin Costner is in it, the movie is gold on the ceiling) and Major League 2 came on the MLB Network. It was just beginning, which means there is no way to avoid it. I watched the entire flick. Keep in mind Major League 2 is a bad movie. It pales in comparison to the original for several reasons, but it is funny at the same time. It’s like that bad fast food restaurant that happens to find you on your way home when you are so hungry anything looks good. It’s dangerous.
Years later, a few things stick out to me about this movie. Mostly bad, but there are reasons for that which I will discuss below.
*I don’t get the transformation of the Roger Dorn character. Corbin Bernsen created this gritty veteran third baseman who had the attitude of A.J. Pierzynski and the hitting ability of Matt Carpenter. The sequel took place only a year later, or the next season. So in the span of one year, Bernsen’s Dorn goes from being this blunt mean old veteran to an overweight retired player turned owner. In the middle of the movie, when Dorn activates himself, Tom Berenger doesn’t want him to swing the bat. This doesn’t make sense because a year ago he was very good. This movie gets the little things wrong. When you follow comedic baseball gold like Major League, there are certain things you can’t do.
*I hated the Pedro Cerrano transformation. Dennis Haysbert returned to the franchise but was poorly used. Making him some peace loving Buddha worshiping saint only a year after he was a Jobu adoring mean old slugger. Something that would NEVER happen in real life is a man smoking a line drive that hits a bird and then running out to the bird and checking to see if it was okay before getting tagged out. Lover of nature or not, that man would be suspended. It is supposed to be silly funny but was really stupid instead.
*Charlie Sheen’s Rick Vaughn could have went fifty different ways but they chose to make him rich and boring. I like the fact that he lost his fastball and had to rekindle it, but I didn’t need the hot blonder girlfriend using him as well as the names for all his pitches. Once again, they took an edgy character from the first film and sent him to Sesame Street. Poor writing as well.
*Omar Epps taking over for Wesley Snipes was a complete bomb of a decision. Bad all around. I blame Snipes for balking at the salary offered but I have detested Epps since he nearly ruined a great college football flick in The Program. Once again, it’s silly and horribly unlike Snipes’ character.
*The Tanaka and Rub Baker stories didn’t pan out well either. Again, silly and stupid.
The Bright Spots
*Bob Yecker is hilarious as Harry Doyle. His bit on Cerrano once he returns to the plate at the beginning of the film is priceless. “He led the league in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and total baldness.” He was the highlight of the first film and he makes the second film digestible. Yecker is the play by play guy for the Brewers and I feel it is right for him to be Doyle for one game a year. Preferably against the Indians.
*The late James Gammon is also very good as Lou Brown. His antics in the clubhouse and inside a hospital watching the show confirm that the blowups behind the scenes for a manager are very real and common. They didn’t change his character or Doyle’s, so they are as effective as the first time.
*David Keith’s bad boy slugger. Parkman was a guilty pleasure and Keith played it just right. The slicked back hair. The little shoulder shake at the plate. The attitude. The beard. Everything. It was 1990’s mad man baseball bashing arrogance at its finest. It wasn’t silly. It was just right for the World of Major League. He was the sequel to the Bad Boy Yankee from the first film.
Change was the main problem with the sequel. They tried to change things and twist characters and it had a silly effect. It didn’t work at all. The intent may have been to make something kind of silly. If that was the case, I am still unimpressed.
Yet it comes on and I watch. It’s irresistible. It’s as bad as it was years ago, and I will watch it. That’s life as a movie fan who also adores baseball. The third Major League film is very bad, but also kind of watchable. As a big movie buff, I watch the bad ones too. Sometimes, more than once. Especially if it features Bob Yecker drinking Jack Daniels’ in a tank top while calling a fight on the field.
Another note. Kevin Costner didn’t make an appearance in either film. That’s a bad call. As the ultimate cinematic MVP of sports films(especially baseball related), Costner had to make an appearance somewhere.
What are your thoughts on Major League 2? Sound off in the comments section below or contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter, @buffa82.