Starring: Billy Bob Thornton as Morris Buttermaker, Greg Kinnear as Roy Bullock, Marcia Gay Harden as Liz Whitewood, Sammi Kraft as Amanda Whurlitzer, Timmy Deters as Tanner Boyle, Jeff Davies as Kelly Leak, Brandon Craggs as Mike Engelberg, Ridge Canipe as Toby Whitewood, Jeffrey Tedmori as Garo Daragebrigadian, Tyler Patrick Jones as Timothy Lupus, Aman Johal as Prem Lahiri, Troy Gentile as Matthew Hooper, K.C. Harris as Ahmad Abdul Rahim, Carlos Estrada as Miguel Aguilar, and Emmanuel Estrada as Jose Aguilar
Directed by Richard Linklater
Screenplay by Bill Lancaster, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa, based on Lancaster's 1976 screenplay
I have never seen 1976's The Bad News Bears, the film on which the topic of this entry is based. It is widely considered one of the best sports movies about children of all time, so it makes sense that producers would want to remake it almost 30 years later. The result is not a great film, by any means, but it is a very enjoyable one, with very funny moments and a refusal to succumb to the formulas of all other sports movies involving kids.
The highlight of the movie is without a doubt Billy Bob Thornton as washed up pitcher Morris Buttermaker, who agrees to coach the kids who weren't good enough to be on the other Little League teams. Thornton is given an opportunity to show his comedic skill as the drunken, foul-mouthed Buttermaker. He is very funny in all of the scenes he is in, and works very well with the children. The team is made up of the usual no-talent misfits. One of the best among these is Tanner Boyle, the shrimpy blonde who swears like a sailor and isn't afraid to pick a fight with anyone, usually the portly Engleberg. Other members of the team include an Armenian immigrant, a child genius, a very skinny weakling, a Mark McGwire fan, and a parapalegic. The team is helped by the arrival of hurler Amanda Whurlitzer, who happens to be Buttermaker's daughter, and bad boy Kelly Leak, who can hit the ball a mile. Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden provide ample support as a rival coach and an obsessed mother, respectively.
Bad News Bears will not be winning any awards. It won't be on any top ten lists, and it probably won't even be the top grossing film of the weekend, facing opposition from The Island, The Devil's Rejects, and Hustle & Flow, but it is a very enjoyable movie for teenagers and adults alike.
Overall: 3 stars out of 5