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She’s beautiful, smart, goal-oriented, and she just inherited the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, she wants to move the franchise to Miami, and a losing season is her only ticket to Florida. So she signs the wildest gang of screwballs that ever spit tobacco. They’re handsome, but they’re hopeless! Her catcher (Tom Berenger) is a washed-up womanizer who struck out in life. Her ace pitcher (Charlie Sheen) is a punked-out crazy who struck out with the law. And her third baseman (L.A. Law’s Corbin Bernsen) is more concerned fielding endorsements than grounders. Throw in a busload of other misfits and you’ve got yourself a hilarious line-up that’s destined for disaster! Or is it?
For more about Major League and the Major League Blu-ray release, see Major League Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 13, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Rene Russo
Director: David S. Ward
» See full cast & crew
Major League Blu-ray Review
I don't care if I never get back...
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 13, 2009
It's my kind of team.
Perhaps the end-all, be-all of sports Comedies, 1989's Major League remains as fresh as newly-manicured grass, as smooth as a baseball slathered in Vaseline, and as cool as a pitcher straight off the diamonds of the California Penal League even some 20 years after throwing out its ceremonial first pitch. Easily the best baseball Comedy, and one of the best baseball films in the history of cinema, Major League sets a standard that will likely never be duplicated, smashing every pitch thrown its way into the bleachers beyond the outfield wall. "Out"rageously funny, peppered with memorable characters, trotting out an All-Star lineup of actors, sacrificing a few laughs to lend to the film just a bit of romance and drama for the ladies, and stealing the hearts of moviegoers and baseball fans everywhere, Major League is a surefire Hall-of-Famer, and is now available on the All-Star Blu-ray format.
What I want is for us to finish dead last.
When the owner of the Cleveland Indians, one of Major League Baseball's perennial losers, dies suddenly, his scheming, ex-showgirl wife, Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), takes over the day-to-day operations of the team. She invites to spring training a group of washed-up has-beens and never-will-be's in hopes of fielding a team so bad that attendance will dry up and the team, per an obscure clause in its contract with the city of Cleveland, will be allowed to relocate to the sun and fun of Miami, Florida. Among those invited to camp are the once-great All-Star catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger, Platoon) who now hobbles around on two bad knees; the prima-dona veteran third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang); the power hitter, Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert, TV's "The Unit"), who practices voodoo and can hit the fastball a mile -- but misses breaking pitches completely; the speedster Willie Mays-Hayes (Wesley Snipes, 7 Seconds) who, no matter how hard he tries, cannot leg out a pop-up; and the young fireballer Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen, Navy Seals), the bad boy who can throw 100MPH but is more likely to knock a hitter's head off rather than throw strikes.
Every newspaper in the country has picked us to finish last.
With the roster set and the team headed north for the 162 game regular season, the Indians seem to be in shambles. In-fighting plagues the clubhouse; the play on the field manages to sink below even the modest expectations for such a rag-tag group of players; and the city of Cleveland has already begun mourning another losing season before the first pitch is even thrown. Even on opening day, the seats of Cleveland's Municipal Stadium are sparsely filled, only the most ardent of die-hard Tribe fans showing up to watch what many expect to be the worst single-season team in Major League history. Despite the team's consistent poor play, manager Lou Brown (James Gammon, Revenge) keeps the club from completely self-destructing. Thirty-nine games into the season, the Indians are 15-24 and only 7 games out of first place in the American League East. Unsatisfied with the fact that the Tribe remains competitive, Phelps orders any and all luxuries taken away from the players, from recuperative clubhouse whirlpools to comfortable (and safe) travel to and from away games. Nevertheless, the team remains within striking distance of the pennant, and when Lou Brown learns of Phelps' true intentions for the team, he devises a scheme sure to propel the lowly Indians to the American League East pennant.
Most of these guys never had a prime.
Though an undeniable classic thanks to a highlight-reel script, Major League solidifies its roster with an unbeatable lineup of actors that pitch a perfect game. Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, and James Gammon all pitch-in to breathe life into the script, delivering the lines and performing the physical aspects of their roles with the confidence of an MVP stepping into the batter's box to face a fatigued hurler lobbing hanging breaking balls over the heart of the plate. The actors understand the game, the humor, and the point of the film, circling all the bases and making Major League a game-winning roundtripper. The characters gel superbly and come together as a true, believable team, and whether in the clubhouse or between the lines, they emit a certain aura that makes them shine as if they were under the bright lights high atop the field of play.
What is so special about Major League is the fact all audiences -- Indians fan or not, even baseball fan or not -- can enjoy the laughs and the drama both on the field of play and in the players' personal lives, as if they were sitting in the bleachers and soaking it all in with peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Through the course of the film, the Indians become everyone's team; whether a fan of the 26-time World Champion New York Yankees or the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team set to break the consecutive losing seasons streak, audiences will come to cheer on the Tribe as they suit up and take the field in an effort to save baseball in Cleveland -- and prove the world wrong. Major League, aside from the strong laughs that define the film, toes the rubber and delivers an emotionally satisfying experience that speaks on the importance of teamwork and belief in the viability of accomplishing a goal in the face of scrutiny and hardship. Major League is solid one through nine, its entire lineup consisting of five-tool movie magic delight.
Major League Blu-ray, Video Quality
Major League steps up to the plate with an all-around decent 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. The film's opening credits montage showcases some dirt and debris, soft imagery, and an obvious layer of grain. Once the movie gets started, though, the transfer reveals a rather average high definition transfer of a classic catalogue title. The film retains a grain structure throughout but offers only moderate levels of fine texture and detail. The image, at times, takes on a slightly soft texture but, generally, appears adequately sharp and crisp. While colorful, the transfer doesn't appear terribly robust in is display of the palette. The green grass and varied colors of the Major League uniforms -- the red of that worn by the Indians or the green and yellow of the Athletics, for example -- all stand out nicely enough. Flesh tones appear fairly reproduced. Major League presents a rather pedestrian image, but it makes solid contact and hits one into the gap on Blu-ray.
Major League Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Major League winds up and delivers an average Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a front-heavy soundtrack that never creates much of an atmosphere. Whether in the spring training ballgames or inside a chic restaurant, the rear channels present virtually no ambience. The track does come alive near the end with the sellout crowd singing along to the Wild Thing song, though still without much of a surround experience. Still, both the song and the crowd noise pour from the speakers clearly and with a good deal of power and precision, adding quite a bit to the experience. The sounds of the game -- the crack of the bat or ball hitting leather, sound as good as one might hope for. Dialogue reproduction is strong throughout. Major League doesn't necessarily call for a zippy, fastball soundtrack, but this one makes for a solid middle-of-the-rotation performer.
Major League Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray edition of Major League makes the call to the bullpen and sends in a fine selection of bonus materials. First up is a commentary track with Writer/Director David S. Ward and Producer Chris Chesser. A nice, laid-back track, Ward shares his love for the Indians, talks about the franchise, the city, shooting locations, deleted scenes, filming techniques, the baseball and athletic ability of the actors, and much more. Not the liveliest track ever recorded, this commentary is nevertheless a joy to listen to, and baseball fans in particular should love spending 107 minutes with this one. My Kinda Team: Making 'Major League' (480p, 23:10) features cast and crew interviews discussing how the film came together, the character traits of the primaries, the baseball skills of the actors, the film's staying power, and more.
A Major League Look at 'Major League' (480p, 14:27) is a great piece featuring real Major and Minor leaguers who currently play, or once played, for the Cleveland Indians, including Paul Byrd, Aaron Boone, Jason Michaels, Jensen Lewis, and Grady Sizemore. Also interviewed are Indians broadcasters Tom Hamilton and Rick Manning. Bob Uekcker: Just a Bit Outside (480p, 12:43) features the same participants as above, along with some cast and crew and Uecker himself, looking back on his professional career and the memorable performance he delivers in the film. Also included is an alternate ending with filmmaker introduction (480p, 4:18). Coming in to close the special features is a tour of Pedro Cerrano's locker (480p, 1:36) and a photo gallery.
Major League Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
No doubt about it, Major League winds up and delivers an uproariously funny, crowd-pleasing home run that tickles the funny bone and emotionally satisfies with a bit of hardball drama and wonderfully-shot and played baseball segments. Each cast member pitches a perfect game in front of the camera, each character as memorable as a home run to win the World Series. Paramoun't Blu-ray release of Major League might not be a future Hall-of-Famer, but it definitely makes the team. Featuring a decent video and audio transfer in the dugout and a plenty of great bonus materials warming up in the bullpen, Major League is a pennant contender on Blu-ray. Buy it (and don't steal home without it) today! Highly recommended.
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