"Bad News for the Athletics!" This movie should be required viewing for parents and coaches of any sport at any level. It reminds me of what is wrong about youth sports, but at the same time what makes youth sports great. There are many lessons to be learned from this movie. It is sad, but many parents and coaches continue to make the game about themselves and not about the children playing. Bad News Bears shows just how ridiculous that type of attitude regarding youth sports is.Bad News Bears is the original kids/sports movie without the Disney cliches. There isn't a clear cut bad guy, each coach (Buttermaker and Turner) have there faults and motivation. It is also refreshing that the movie does not have the typical Hollywood ending, but instead one that is fitting for the team sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds.
Bad News Bears is also a great reminder of life in the late 1970s, the uniforms, clothes, cars, etc. Finally, it is an entertaining movie, especially for anyone who has played little league baseball (or any youth sport). It makes me laughs every time I watch it.
I was really impressed with how well this movie has "aged." Walter Natthau plays that role of the alcoholic wash-out to perfection, and Tatum O'Neal portrays the struggle of a young girl trying to enter adolescence without losing her sense of "self" with delicacy and skill. It's a good story,with quite a bit serious to say about human nature and the understandings and misunderstandings between generations; it makes me mad that it never received the attention it deserved because it's "just" about kids. On a sadder note, I also couldn't help being impressed with how far this culture has regressed since 1976. The children's use of even mild profanity would never be permitted now in a "family film," and the wonderful scene at the end would certainly send the Thought Police running for their placards and boycotts. It's worth watching this film again just to remind ourselves that only 30 years ago children still enjoyed some autonomous space in which to grow, and the iron doors of the Nanny State had not yet completely swung closed upon them.
"The Bad News Bears" came out in 1976, the summer that I started playing little league. I know I am not breaking any new ground when I say that this film is a classic, but hopefully I can educate some of the younger viewers and posters as to how realistic this film is, in some ways.First of all, I believe that anyone who has ever played organized youth sports has had a Tanner Boyle, Timmy Lupus and a Kelly Leek on their teams. This is just how it is, and for better or worse, it is one of the galvanizing factors that make youth leagues etch themselves indelibly into the memories of all those who have participated in them.Second of all, kids curse. I don't know who the "nay-sayers" out there are, but they should look back into their own memories and try to figure out just when they learned to use the F-word. If you didn't learn it from your parents, you learned it from other kids. Granted, not all of us knew exactly what the words meant at that age, but we still used them. It was a small measure of rebellion at the age of seven.When Tanner Boyle makes the comment that the team is filled with "niggers, spics, Jews and now a broad," it would be a crass, hateful comment if it had come from an adult. Yet, as a youth, Tanner gets a laugh because we all know that he doesn't really mean it, he is just repeating what he has heard at home -- not to condone what might have been said over the Boyle dinner table. The proof of this is obvious when Tanner "takes on the seventh grade," and makes a valiant attempt to preserve Timmy Lupus' honor before he gets thrown into a garbage can. Regardless of Tanner's racist remarks about the team, and his shunning of Lupus, "Lupus, why don't you sit over there? (abbr.)" he is willing to fight for those same people.Third, (sorry for the digression), that's what parents are like. It is a truth that goes down through the ages: when it comes to their children, all adults are a-holes. When it comes time to see their children strive to excel at something, they become the obnoxious, bullying, chest-beating sh**s they have warned their children not to be. For the most part it is an extension to the children for what the parents' couldn't be in the first place, e.g. a good shortstop.And Fourth: Losing. There is something about those pinstripes and even the moniker "Yankees" that make some of us want to do violent things to a couch. Mind you, I am not a native southerner, nor am I a Red Sox fan. I am just a man who can see the fact that pinstripes and the word "Yankees" symbolizes a corporate juggernaut that tries to annihilate the concept of fair play. For the Bears to ultilmately lose to the "Yankees" is just. They got beat. Perhaps it is an irony that this movie came out one year after the last choppers left Saigon, that defeat was in the air, so to speak. There was still a message to this movie. A message that I have carried throughout my adult life. A message that Churchill had during the Blitz, and Giuliani had in the post 9/11 rubble. Once again, a line from Tanner Boyle: "Hey Yankees, you can take your trophy and shove it up your ass. Just wait until next year!"
Scrappy pool-cleaner (and former ballplayer) in Southern California gets talked into coaching Little League to a bunch of no-talent boys. I don't think I've ever seen another movie that captured this bit of Americana so vividly: you can almost smell the freshly-cut grass and the cigar smoke in the air! One of Walter Matthau's many triumphs, and Tatum O'Neal as the pitching ace is also terrific (especially in the dug-out scene where she tries involving Matthau in her life and he cracks, sending her away in tears: "You don't wanna go, fine, no big deal."). The young boys are mostly all wonderful: Alfred Lutter, from "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore", as the nerdy brain; Jackie Earle Haley as the cool kid with shades and motorcycle; Brandon Cruz, from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father", as the pitcher for the enemy-team. The film has some overacting and is occasionally sloppy (with the boom-mike showing, as well as O'Neal's stand-in in a wig), but is otherwise extremely well-written and designed and directed. In 1976, this had kids and adults lining up to see it, so I wouldn't consider the picture a 'sleeper' or an underrated film. It was a big commercial box-office hit and there is an audience for it wherever there's a DVD player and a screen. ***1/2 from ****
This is a superb movie. I don't think it will ever become dated--not as long as little league baseball is in existence. I remember first seeing it at a drive-in when I was ten, shortly after my own little league season had finished. Walter Matthau is excellent as Buttermaker, the beer-soaked coach who takes on the unwanted task of coaching a team of misfit kids who were allowed to play in the league only after a civil action law suit was won in their favor. Tatum O'Neal shines as the team's recruited pitcher Amanda, whose mother once dated Buttermaker. A touching subplot involves the relationship between Amanda and Buttermaker which turns from distant to warm as the final game approaches. Vic Morrow gives a frighteningly good performance as the out-to-win-no-matter-what coach of the opposing team who was never happy with the fact that the Bears were allowed to play in the first place. Joyce Van Patten is also good as the butch, outspoken league supervisor.It's the kid players that really give this movie the edge. All performances are top-notch, and director Michael Ritchie splendidly keeps the focus mostly on them and their feelings about the whole ordeal. Stand-outs include Jackie Earl Haley as the heroic Kelly Leak and Chris Barnes as shortstop Tanner Boyle. This film should be a warning to relentless adults who try to achieve stardom on the backs of their children, be it on the baseball field or on the ballet floor.
Hilarious film with a darker side that sometimes pokes through, especially in its serious moments. This is classic Walter Matthau, and classic Jackie Earle Haley, too! (Love that air hockey scene!) It reminds me of my childhood, and not many movies do. I can watch this film a dozen times and never get tired of it.
I know that is an exaggeration, but I truly believe that this movie sets the standard by which all other "kids and sports" movies will be measured.What it does that is unique is that it keeps the swearing and fighting where it belongs: on the field. This movie does not even try to make anyone look good, for the sake of making them look good. It just shows the kids at their very essence: booger-eating morons, just out to have a good time trying to play baseball.
I'm surprised this film is not higher rated. This is a great film about America and certainly one of the great comedies. Walter Matthau was born for this role. The kids are impeccably cast. Hilarious, moving and inspirational.
LOL, I know I stole that line from I love the 70's, but I just thought it was so true and that was my exact thought from the first minute I started watching The Bad News Bears. Now to the movie, The Bad News Bears is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time, I almost died laughing throughout the whole movie. I obviously heard about this movie from the show I love the 70's on VH1, way before the remake with Billy Bob Thorton. It always slipped my mind though when I wanted to rent it, but finally I remembered and I am so glad that I got the chance to see it, because this is one of the best comedies to come out of the 70's.Buttermaker is a has been baseball player and now an alcoholic, he is given the job of a little league coach for the Bears since no other fathers are taking the job. But he's definitely taken back when he finds out that the team he is coaching are kids who are, well, I guess you could say "lacking" in the department of knowing how to play baseball. But he just wants to get paid and get the job over with, but when their first game comes along, the kids get creamed 26-0, Buttermaker is pressured to drop the team out of the league, but instead teaches the kids how to play and recruits a couple of new kids, a girl who's mother he used to date, and a rebel without a cause. The kids get better in each game, but it's a matter of Buttermaker getting his priorities straight when he lets the game get the worst of him... and he's an alcoholic! The Bad News Bears is just so funny, Walter Matthau was just too perfect for this role as Buttermaker, he was so believable. I think my favorite Bear was Tanner, because the role could have been over done, but the kid did it just right, not to mention his last line of the film is just classic and fit the movie just right. I loved how the film wasn't your traditional your favorite team is always going to be out of no where champions, this was an awesome comedy that anyone would just fall in love with.9/10
I have to admit I am not a huge sports fan, but several sports movies have sparked my interest, such as Hoosiers, Breaking Away and Remember the Titans. I saw The Bad News Bears mostly for Walter Matthau and I really enjoyed it. While it could have been a tad longer perhaps, and one or two scenes could have been tighter in the pace, it is a very good movie. For a sports movie, it is quite different, taking on the underdogs taking on the big boys scenario for example, and it works wonderfully.The production values are very nice, and Jerry Fielding's score compliments each scene beautifully. The film's script is quite gritty, but it is also funny and thoughtful, while the story is always engaging and well-thought out with the relationship between Morris and his team particularly pulling you in. The direction is solid, while the acting is excellent. Walter Matthau is simply brilliant as the boozy coach Morris, while Joyce Van Patten gives great support and the child stars are more than a match for Matthau. Especially Tatum O'Neal, who is quite charming yet very spunky and likable, and I personally think she has better screen presence than her dad.All in all, a very enjoyable movie, and whether you are a fan of sports movies or not, this movie is recommended. 8/10 Bethany Cox
I remember watching the Bad News Bears as a teenager close to when it first came out, and thinking that yeah, this was a fun movie that kind of reminded me of real life. The movie was famous at the time, and I never remembered it being anything more than a fun entertainment. When I watched it again a few days ago (perhaps the first time in 30 years), I was really startled. This movie was not just funny but impressive, capturing something of the truth about the way adults and kids really interact with each other in our society. The kids are gritty--they swear, they fight, they are insolent and belligerent, they are cruel (sound familiar?). The adults are hyper-competitive, drunken, prone to selfish projection, lazy and insensitive (sound familiar again?). The movie becomes much more than a feel-good underdog story (although it would inspire many such imitations) but rather becomes a desperate struggle for dignity among all the participants in a situation that is full of snares. This is a really good movie, not particularly for kids to view.