Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Major League

A baseball comedy and slob comedy rolled into one, this one actually works as entertainment, if not as a piece of cinematic mastery. James Gammon is the has-been manager hired to lead the last-place Cleveland Indians whose owner wants them to lose so she can sell them. But the team of has-beens and never-wases that he assembles (including Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, and Wesley Snipes) develops a sense of pride and turns the team around. There's plenty of rowdy humor about sex, race, and whatever else they can make fun of. Look for Rene Russo (in her first film role) as Berenger's romantic interest; Snipes also had his first showy role as Willie Mays Hayes, the team's base-stealing ace. --Marshall Fine
Customer Review: "You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?!"
I love this movie, I really do. MAJOR LEAGUE, to me, hasn't lost an iota of its watchability factor. The uproarious humor, sometimes verrrry salty, still cracks me up. The underdog theme still gets me cheering wildly. Its unexpected moments of poignancy, still heartfelt. The big game at the end, still ridiculously stirring. In terms of its place in my personal hierarchy of baseball flicks, this one ranks right up there with The Natural (Director's Cut), Bull Durham (20th Anniversary Edition), The Pride of the Yankees (Collector's Edition), A League of Their Own (Special Edition) and Field of Dreams (Widescreen Two-Disc Anniversary Edition). Add in a low key but engaging romance, and MAJOR LEAGUE then boasts all the ingredients to be a pretty darn generous picture - if you're looking for laughs and love and baseball. So the plot, in brief, centers around the hapless Cleveland Indians, who haven't won the pennant in over 30 years. This season, the team is intentionally jampacked with a ragtag bunch of losers and headcases and newbies. The film tracks an unlikely season in Cleveland's history, as somehow the Indians climb out of the cellar and ultimately vie for the pennant. This, despite the duplicity of the newly widowed, ex-showgirl team owner, who schemes to relocate her team to Miami. She's not a nice lady. Absolutely, it's a predictable story, and the feel-good ending not much of a shock. But, man, just the sheer entertainment value oozing from this film! Factor in the excellent script, and take into account the really terrific cast. Starting with Tom Berenger, who keeps everything grounded with his broken-down character, who longs for one more day in the sun and who manages to keep his unruly crew together. Trickle down to Charlie Sheen's deadpanned juvenile delinquent pitcher (I think this was his first major comedic role), James Gammon's maverick, raspy-voiced manager, and Margaret Whitton's devilishly wicked (and sexy) Cleveland Indians owner. Rene Russo makes her debut here, after being a highly sought after supermodel. And, while she doesn't have too many scenes, she proves to be very memorable. Wesley Snipes (startlingly hilarious) and Dennis Haysbert were little known back then, and it's hard to recognize them as, respectively, the speedy showboat Willie Mays Hayes and the bald, voodoo-worshipping Pedro Cerrano. And then there's Bob Uecker, who is simply classic as the boozing Cleveland Indians broadcaster Harry Doyle. And how many of his lines can you quote? Does "JUST a bit outside!" ring a bell? Enough ESPN anchorfolks have used it... MAJOR LEAGUE, coming out in 1989, does a great job of capturing the essence of life in the big leagues and depicting behind-the-scenes stuff in the clubhouse, and that rough-and-tumble camaredie which bonds a team together. No, it's not as perceptive or wise as, say, BULL DURHAM, but it has its moments. Not much in the way of soul-searching here, no. Instead, MAJOR LEAGUE has a simpler mission, which is to make you snort with laughter (although BULL DURHAM also does this effectively). The soundtrack rocks, by the way. Randy Newman's "Burn On" nicely opens the movie and is an ode to a long-suffering city of Cleveland. Then there's that one great slow song (don't know the name or singer) which seranades Jake and Lynn up to her loft apartment. And X's "Wild Thing" provides the chills up your spine as Rick Vaughn at last comes to the mound for his big showdown with Yankees power hitter Clue Haywood. In fact, MAJOR LEAGUE has been instrumental in introducing the trend of closers entering the field to some dramatic music. So this dvd is the Wild Thing Edition and contains a pretty nifty set of bonus features, most of which are worth checking out: an informative audio commentary by the producer and the writer/director; "My Kinda Team" - the 23-minute-long Making Of segment (where, sadly, you can see how much Berenger has let himself go); A Major League Look At MAJOR LEAGUE - members of the real Cleveland Indians team talk about the film; Bob Uecker: Just A Bit Outside - a spotlight on Bob Uecker; an alternate ending with an introduction by the film producer - this scene purports that the owner Rachel Phelps actually had the team's best interests at heart; A Tour of Cerrano's Locker (dull); and a long-winded photo gallery. Let's see, off the top of my head: the Wild Thing's birth control glasses; Jobu the voodoo god (created for this movie); duct-taping the plane; "Hats for bats."; "How's your wife and my kids"; and, of course, "JUST a bit outside!" Just some of the stuff which cracked me up so much (and still do). And that's not even mentioning the riveting final game. Anyway, MAJOR LEAGUE proved to be popular enough to spawn two sequels, Major League 2 and Major League 3: Back to the Minors. The first sequel is pretty good, the other one is a tosser. Underdog films just don't get old. And if it's a sports underdog story, then all the better. MAJOR LEAGUE is raucous and off-the-wall and goofy and funny as hell. Ultimately, it's a feel-good movie that hits all the right notes. The characters are earthy and winning, for a bunch of sad sacks. Since this movie came out, the Cleveland Indians have fared much better in real life, even getting to the World Series in 1995 and 1997. Not bad for reality. But give me the movie every time.
Customer Review: moe
This is a great movie. Our grand kids love baseball and this was a funny movie, that made them laugh.

I should have known better to say what I said, seeing how the caller was from an accounting firm. I merely suggested she put the firms logo on the back of a baseball cap. Her silence caused the sort of anticipation you experience when someone blows up a balloon until it pops. The words came slowly at first finally she blurted, "You you want to put my logo WHERE?!"

Trying to regain control of the conversation I asked, "Claudia, why is your firms sign out front?"

She replied, "What? Well, because thats where everyone will see it."

"Right. And if everyone could see your sign out back, youd put it there too, right?" I asked.

"Of course," she replied.

"Well," I said. "When your employees are sitting in the stands at the baseball game, or standing in line for a hot dog or to use the restroom everyone behind them will be looking at the back of their head. Would you like all those people to see your logo?"


Placement of your logo on promotional marketing items, such as baseball hats, should be given as much thought as is given to selection of the item itself. For sake of this article, lets assume youve chosen an appropriate item for your event or promotion. And, your primary goal is to broaden your name I.D. Now, lets give the same serious thought to logo placement. Consider the following: how will the product be used, where will it be used, venue, day or evening event, indoor or outdoor, will people be sitting or standing?

With ball caps worn to a sporting event, most want to put the logo on the front. But if you want to maximize the advertising potential of a cap, put the logo on the back as well.

Folding, portable chairs are another place people commonly misplace the logo. Why put the logo on the front of the chair, where it is covered up when the chair is in use? Better to put the logo on the backside of the chair where everyone behind the user can see your logo.

What about pencils and pens? If you think about it, youll ensure that the imprint is as near the eraser end as possible. This way, your logo remains to be seen even after multiple sharpenings. Same goes for pens but for a different reason. People hold a pen towards the bottom. If your logo is imprinted toward the bottom it will be covered up when the item is used properly. Fat lot of good that does you.

With mugs, ask yourself, "Who do I want to see my logo? The person drinking? The person sitting across from the person drinking? Both? Pick up a mug and drink from it paying careful attention to what you see. Imagine your logo or message on the INSIDE lip of the mug. How about the bottom inside of the mug. And remember the bottom outside of the mug too. All these areas are imprintable with your logo. You need merely decide who you want to see your logo and how much you can afford to invest in a mug.

Say you want to have your name seen at the beach. "Hey! How about beach towels?", someone yells. Beach towels are an ok idea, except for the fact that when people lay on them theyll cover up your logo. And while some people may leave your towel stretched out while they take a dip or play beach volley ball, many will scrunch the towel up to keep sand off of it. So a beach blanket may be a great idea. But again, when in use, your logo is covered up.

A better idea for the beach may be a cooler. Here again, most people will want the logo on the lid of the cooler. Thats fine and dandy if you pretty much want your logo to be seen only by the owner of the cooler and then only when theyre right on top of it getting in it. Better, is to put the logo on the front and/or back of the cooler. This way your logo can be seen by most who walk by the cooler and from a greater distance.

As far as the accounting firm? After some thought, Claudia put the logo on the front AND back of the hat and had a successful ballpark outing. She said that once at the ballpark, the back of the hat made perfect sense.

Big or small, put your sign (logo) where people will see it.

Michael Merrick Crooks is a 23-year advertising veteran, copywriter and founder of Crooks Advertising Alliance. His firm, based near Lansing, Michigan (USA) is a creative strike-force that provides advertising, creative problem-solving and promotional marketing services to a diverse client base. His thinking is fresh and based on his diverse personal life experiences that provide unique insight into the realities of what people do and how they live their lives. From logo development and brochure writing, design and production to targeted, promotional concepts, Crooks has an uncanny ability to look at the same thing everyone else does and see something different. For more thought-provoking marketing articles and insights visit or

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