"Remember, fans, Tuesday is Die Hard Night. Free admission for anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won the pennant."
Major League was released in 1989 with the two leads (Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen) just being declared the hottest new actors in the business after playing the roles of their life in Platoon and Wall Street. Major League was of course much lighter fare than an Oliver Stone movie, but had solid co-stars in Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes and Corbin Bernsen. The camaraderie and on-screen chemistry is palpable and gives the rather mediocre story a nice shine and a sparkle. Director and writer David S. Ward (who probably did his most famous work with The Sting) produced a delightful ensemble comedy, that even works for people who think that baseball is not quite the acme of sports.
The story is the classic American tale of the underdog overcoming horrible hurdles: The Cleveland Indians, a under-performing Major League Baseball team loses its owner to an unfortunate death and his wife, an ex-Las Vegas stripper takes over the running of the club. An avid Cleveland hater, she wants to get the franchise relocated to Florida, where some provincial town is offering a new stadium and a membership for the local country club for her. To get out of the contract with the city of Cleveland, she has to prove that the attendance records are abysmal, so she plots a devilish plan: invite only the crappiest and most inexperienced players and a minor league coach and then turn enough fans off to get out of the contract.
So a rag-tag team of players shows up for the training camp: a Cuban defector who can't hit curve balls, a near-sighted ex-convict pitcher who throws the ball at a 100 mph but doesn't know where it's going, a lazy and arrogant third baseman, a catcher with arthritic knees and a coach who can't give a shit. Together they overcome all hurdles and play some amazing baseball.
The charm of the movie, as mentioned before, is certainly an ensemble of good actors enjoying their company, supported by a very funny script, some wonderful dialogue and some truly great off-beat comments by baseball legend Bob Uecker, who plays basically himself: a rambling, drunk radio commentator.
One of the few baseball movies worth watching. And Kevin Costner nowhere in sight!