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April 20, 1998 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-20

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12 -_The Michigan Daily

Mo dyMA rl20n98day,_ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _ __April_ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ __20,_ _ __ _ __ _ _ __ __1.998_ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _

HAS THE NATION'S PASTIME BECOME PAST TENSE?

0

With the release of 'Major League: Back to the Minors,'
By Daily Arts Writer Matthew Barrett
Recent screen outings place
diamond flicks in the rough

the once-great baseball film genre continues its extended slump.

"I believe in the soul." Upon hear-
ing this, fans of baseball movies
should immediately kick into a
recitation of Crash Davis' musings
on life, love, and his holy game from
the classic baseball film "Bull
Durham." In the movie, Kevin
Costner plays Crash, a catcher who
can never quite cut it in the big
leagues but is able to star in the
minors.
Brought in as a veteran mainly to
counsel hot pitching phenom, Nuke
LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), Crash,
along with his relationship with
LaLoosh and their ongoing competi-
tion for the affections of Durham
Bulls groupie Annie Savoy (Susan
Sarandon), is the picture's focus.
Unlike many sports films, "Bull
Durham" does not let the game slip
into the background so it can solely
concentrate on relationships. This is a
movie about people who live and
breathe baseball and it is strength-
ened by writer
director Ron
SheIton's
extraordinary
knowledge of
the game.
Through-
out the movie,
scenes set in
the dugout,
bus, or club-
house are sec-
ond to none in
authenticity
and help
make the
audience feel
as if they were
a member of
the Durham
Bulls.
Ba s e ba11 Tommy Lee Jones st
has been our 1994's underperform
national pastime for over a hundred
years and has been the subject of a
countless movies. Popular topics
have included player bio-pics

("Cobb" and "The Pride of the
Yankees"), the Black Sox World
Series scandal ("Eight Men Out"),
players seeking one last shot at great-
ness ("The Natural") and even ghost-
ly games played in corn fields ("Field
of Dreams").
Lately, with the exception of "A
League of Their Own," a look at a
'40s women's baseball league, and
"The Sandlot," the story of young
neighborhood friends who spend a
summer playing the game, baseball
movies have been very lackluster.
One disappointing trend has been
the movies dedicated to the wonder-
ful achievements of youngsters on
the major league level. In "Rookie of
the Year," the perennially weak
Chicago Cubs receive a boost from a
10-year-old fan who recovers from a
broken arm with the ability to strike
out everyone from Barry Bonds to
Bobby Bonilla.
"Angels in the Outfield" deals
with a young
fan who uses
angels to help
the Angels in
their drive for
the champi-
onship.
And in
"Little Big
L e a g u e,"
Hey ward
gets to live
every young-
sters' dream
when he
inherits the
Minnesota
Twins from
his grandfa-
Courtesy of Warner Bros. ther. Not con-
red as Ty Cobb in tent with just
ng "Cobb." owning the
team or how the manager is doing
his job, Billy takes it upon himself
to fire the manager and hire him-
self.

Movies like "The Bad News
Bears" show that it is possible to
make entertaining movies about
youngsters playing the game, but for
it to work the playing level must be
somewhere below the big leagues.
"Friends" star Matt LeBlanc got
into the baseball groove with the
quickly forgotten ape comedy "Ed."
In it, LeBlanc performed alongside
an incredibly talented baseball-play-
ing hairy beast.
Another inferior baseball movie to
recently hit the theatres is the Robert
DeNiro thriller "The Fan." In the
drama, DeNiro plays an obsessed fan
who stalks a baseball star played by
Wesley Snipes. Directed by Tony
Scott, the picture is very predictable
and although it tries to emphasize its
baseball aspects, the story doesn't
work.
The "Major League" series of
baseball films that started off strongly
but has tailed off badly with the ensu-
ing sequels. The first picture was a
mildly inspiring look at the cellar-
dwelling Indians making a run for tne
pennant. "Major League" benefited
from the Indians' roster of interesting
personalities and contained some
funny moments and memorable lines.
The scene where Charlie Sheen
enters the game to a rousing rendition
of "Wild Thing" is something that all
little leaguers across the country
dream about. But the franchise has
fallen into the bland and boring
sequel rut with the two follow-ups.
In the past few years, due to the
players' strike and length of the
games, baseball has lost a great deal
of its appeal to fans. This is likely one
of the big reasons for the less-than-
stellar baseball films than have been
called up to the big screen. But if
Hollywood can find a few people
who believe that there should be "a
constitutional amendment outlawing
astroturf and the designated hitter" to
make movies, then all will be well for
baseball films.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The men of "Major League: Back to the Minors" give our beloved boys of summer a bad name.
Minor 'Major' lands 1n foul territory

Things are looking pretty grim when you actually wish for Charlie
Sheen to appear in a movie.This is the case with "Major League:
Back To The Minors" an awful rehashing of the tired and no longer
amusing baseball series. The movie is not funny and most of its
attempts at humor are either borrowed from its predecessors or
involve a baseball hitting someone in the head.
For example, the scene where Buzz manager Gus Cantrell (Scott
Bakula) asks God to send him some real players or strike him dead,
only to be struck in the head by a baseball is guaranteed to leave you
in stitches. If this doesn't do it for you, prepare to bend over in sheer
laughter when an angry coach throws a ball against a wall only to
have it hit him in the head! Hilarious stuff. Seriously, this is supposed
to be a comedy, but I don't know anyone over the age of five who
would crack a smile through the entire movie.
The flick's setup is simple and familiar: fill a clubhouse with
eccentric personalities, make the team really awful, and add one play-
er/coach seeking their last shot at greatness. Then make the players
squabble and bicker before pulling it all together for a late run at the
pennant.
In the story, Roger Dorn (Corbin Bemsen) offers washed-up minor
league pitcher, Gus Cantrell, the chance to manage the Buzz, a minor
league team of the Minnesota Twins. Cantrell accepts and, surprise,
when he meets his team he finds out that they're a bunch of hopeless
hacks.
There's catcher Rube Baker, who apparently forgot how to throw the
ball to the mound after he spent so much time on it in "Major League
IL" Later on in the story, familiar faces Pedro Cerrano and Taka Tanaka

rejoin the roster. Finding Tanaka is an incredible stroke of luck, seeing
as the Buzz were rolling along on their team bus when they passed a
very suspicious looking miniature golf course. Turns out, Tanaka runs
the place and is eager to get back in the game. What luck!
One of the picture's lamer subplots involves the bond that forms
between Cerrano and Tanaka. Drawing on their deep spirituality, they
lead each other up to the plate wearing a black hood. The hood is then

Major
League 3
No Stars
At Showcase

removed in a brief ceremony, followed by the
batter finally stepping into the batter's box.
Every "Major League" movie has to have
a rival team and in this case it is the
Minnesota Twins. Yes, it turns out that
Cantrell and Twins manager Leonard Huff
(Ted McGinley) have quite the little tiff going
between them and the only place to settle it is
the baseball diamond.
Not to send chin music someone's way
when they're down, but the baseball scenes in
the film are downright atrocious. Nearly
every time a batter is hitting the shot is done
in slow motion, making the game feel very
unrealistic.

ar
mil

Overall, "Major League: Back to the Minors" is a horrible movie
that is a waste of time to see. If someone is going to put the time and
effort into making a baseball movie, they should concentrate on quali-
ty rather than making an unnecessary sequel. Save the $7.50, go to the
real Tiger Stadium, while it still exists, and take in a real baseball game.

I

a

The Michigan Student Assembly is looking for students
to serve on various University-wide committees. If you
want to have a voice in how the University operates, this
is a great way to get involved. If you are interested in
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mmadia@uminch.edu. This is a great way to get
involved in the decision making process of our
University. Applications are due Friday, April 24th by
5:00 pm.
The following committees are looking for student
appointments:
* Committee for a Multicultural University
* University Relations
* Medical Affairs Advisory Committee
* Student Legal Services
* Michigan Leadership Initiatives
* Civil Liberties Board
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Sticking around
this summer and
looking for some-
thing to do?
Come write for
Daily Arts. Call
763-0379 and
ask to speak to
Michael or Amy
for more info.

'. ern ._ .. ..

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-m GRADUATION
SPECIAL EDITIoN T-BaSEIRT
1v ' Dedicated to:
All Those who

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WAith 2101

have ever had
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