Major League Review
The great thing about Major League is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, opting for an exceedingly light tone and some crazy characters who embody the very subtle sarcastic zaniness of the film. After the corrupt new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants to relocate the team to Miami where she can wine and dine herself in the sunny climate, she invites lots of ‘has been’s and never will be’s’ to spring training in the hope that her ‘terrible’ team will finish dead last allowing her to achieve her goal. However, when her screwball players start winning games she starts to wonder if her plan will backfire.
One thing Major League has in abundance is great comedy – it’s without doubt one of the funniest film’s about baseball ever made. You’ve just got to look at the characters from Pedro Cerano (Dennis Haysbert) and his praying to a voodoo god to help him hit curveballs; Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross) who wears any lubricating agent he can find on various places of his body just so he can doctor the ball to help his pitches have more movement; and Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn who takes his ‘call-up’ phone call from a prison cell. The film just doesn’t take itself as seriously as some other baseball films that perhaps fail because they are far too pretentious, and its ability to continually find something funny within any situation is a great virtue that never allows the narrative to become stale.
There’s a great scene in a public library where Rene Russo and Tom Berenger are arguing about their failed past relationship. Just when it seems like the usual clichés are being delivered out of the textbook closet, Russo asks him about a girl that seemed to be the catalyst for their ending friendship to which he replies: ‘She bet me fifty bucks she had a better body than you...I had to defend your honour.’ This sums up the film – a conventional story inspired by sudden shots of inventive humour and wry social sarcasm. The fact the film has so many memorable comedic moments – Charlie Sheen’s over-the-top glasses to help him pitch, and when he inadvertently sleeps with his team mate’s wife; the boat-engine Jacuzzi and when one his players tells coach Lou Brown (James Gammon) a point in his contract, he throws it to the ground and with a straight face, pisses all over it; when uninvited Wesley Snipes gets taken out during the night whilst sleeping in his bed and wakes up outside saying ‘I’ve been cut already?’ – is testament to the film’s fun, lasting appeal.
The film is straightforward and very predictable, and the romantic sub-plot between Berenger and Russo doesn’t quite work (the music that seems to pronounce each of their scenes is awfully melodramatic), but it’s a movie that has enough laughs to rise it above its own clichés and enough lovable, screwball characters to keep you entertained.
The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and anamorphic enhanced. The image is very good overall displaying a sharp and quite detailed picture with only specks of dirt and some grain on the print degrading it somewhat. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t anything special as it is very front-orientated but dialogue is clear and during the games the rear speakers get something to do.
Major League is a terrific comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The DVD doesn’t have any special features, but the sound and image quality are adequate.