A drunk, irritable little league coach tries to turn
his team of untalented misfits into genuine champions.
Bad News Bears (2005)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Written by Bill Lancaster, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden, Sammi Kane Kraft, Jeffrey Davies, Ridge Canipe, Brandon Craggs, Timmy Deters, Troy Gentile, Jeffrey Tedmori
Remake of 1976's The Bad News Bears
It's a little bizarre that Richard Linklater, Austin TX indie film darling, would choose to remake a 1976 sports comedy. Fans and critics thought the same thing, as the film was a box office dud and fell into obscurity. Now, I haven't seen the original Bad News Bears, so I can't speak for it, but I found the remake to be funny, endearing, and worth a watch. Billy Bob Thornton was perfectly cast as a drunk bum of a coach, and watching him insult a bunch of little league rejects is pretty damn hilarious. Granted, the plot is pretty predictable, but the comedy evens everything out.
Thornton plays Morris Buttermaker, a former minor league baseball player who played in the majors for two-third of an inning. Since then, his life has gone downhill and he agrees to coach a little league team made up of kids who were rejected from the other teams for being shitty players. The Bears are all played by kids who never went anywhere, despite great comedic timing and chemistry. Buttermaker's rival, Roy Bullock (Kinnear), the coach of the best team in the league, the Yankees, is your typical overenthusiastic dad coach who pushes the kids too hard. In response, Buttermaker trains his own team to be damn good players, and the games end up being pretty entertaining.
I understand that this film isn't everyone's cup of tea. It's a far cry from Linklater's other work, but it's still pretty funny. Comedy films are always the hardest to review because it's tough to say "It was funny" in more than three words. And ultimately, I guess that's the best thing I can say about Bad News Bears. It was funny.