Justin does Major League II

“Mr. Parkman, you’re a great ballplayer and I just like to say, you’re standing on the tracks and the train’s coming through, butthead.”

The Scoop: 1994 PG, directed by David S. Ward and starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Bob Uecker

Tagline: The dream team is back!

Summary Capsule: The Indians return but haven’t quite learned the lesson of teamwork yet.  Also, mohawks are WACKY, yo!

Justin’s Rating: Like 4 balls, it’s a functional play but dull nonetheless

Justin’s Review: Ensemble comedy sequels may be the trickiest things to ever pull off right.  I mean, heck, sequels are already at a disadvantage, but toss in the high expectations of a funny first movie with a perfect mix of actors and quotes, and trying to catch that lightning in a bottle twice becomes near-impossible.  Ocean’s 12?  Ghostbusters II?  Police Academy 2-7? Most often, they’re just better off not trying at all — except, of course, there’s money to be made.  And Hollywood simply cannot ignore a singing cash register.

I don’t mean to start this review on a negative note, but there’s little in the way of “Rah! Rah! This is the sheeeezbit!” cheering I can summon either.  Major League II is, by all accounts, a complete dud.  It takes absolutely no risks with the concept of baseball comedy, and instead decides to play it obscenely safe by photocopying the first movie.  I mean, pretty much word-for-word with only a couple “wacky” reversals.

Coming off their division victory in the first film, the former underdog Cleveland Indians begin their second season in a position of strength.  This of course means that the plot requires for them to be brought low again, humbled and tormented almost to the point of losing it all, until the individual members of the team can turn their zany weaknesses into strengths and come together to… yeah, you know the rest.

It’s actually all a bit depressing instead of fun, which you’d think would ring some bells in the minds of the screenwriters.  Wild Thing (Charlie Sheen) has sold out to “The Man” and has lost his punk street cred or whatever.  Willie Hayes is now portrayed by Omar Epps instead of Wesley Snipes, and now he just makes lame action movies and fades into the background.  Tom Berenger becomes the team captain, the voodoo guy has converted to Buddhism, and whatever actors declined to return this time around are replaced by a few one-note characters.  Kind of like how the Police Academy series progressed, now that I think about it.

And if you’re hoping that all the hijinks are saved for the playing field, well, you’re going to be as disappointed as a little kid who finds Santa Claus’ decaying corpse in the chimney.  Doubly so, once you discover that Randy Quaid snuck into this film to portray a particularly obnoxious baseball fan.  The game stuff is neither hilarious nor gripping, and the fact that Major League ball plays well over a hundred games every season means that montages are employed like carpet bombs.  Baseball is a much slower game played over a longer period of time, and as such, it’s tougher to edit in a way to make it exciting for cinema (at least compared to many other high-impact sports).

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, but I did hope that I’d enjoy a mindless comedy at the very least.  It turns out that mindless yes, comedy no.

This shrieking into your ears for two hours will cause deafness. Because you will stab your ears with a screwdriver to make it stop.

Intermission!

  • A year after the movie came out, the real Indians made it to the World Series, but lost.
  • The Jesse Ventura cameo

Groovy Quotes

Rube Baker: Women: you can’t live with them, and they can’t pee standing up.

Jack Parkman: I’m the only winner on this team. The rest of ’em, they’re losers. Either by choice, or by birth.

Harry Doyle: Well he’s gonna walk Beck to pitch to Parkman obviously Taylor’s thinking… I don’t know WHAT the hell he’s thinking.

Monte: I heard that.
Harry Doyle: Dynamite drop-in, Monte. That broadcast school has really paid off.

Tanaka: [in Japanese] May you be mounted by a rabid dog. You’re lower than rat excrement.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Major League
  • The Replacements
  • The Mighty Ducks
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