Dienstag, 30. Januar 2007

Major League (1989)

About The Movie:

The Cleveland Indians are perennial losers. For years, few things have gone right with the team, and when Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), a former Las Vegas showgirl, inherits the team from her late husband, it doesn't look like their fortunes will change any time soon. The greedy Phelps hates Municipal Stadium and the city, and sees an opportunity to get out of Cleveland: if the team's attendance falls below 800,000 paid customers, she can legally void the Indians' lease with the city and move the team to Miami, Florida.

To that end, she signs "a has-been and a couple of never-will-bes," including catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), an aging former All-star (and former Indian, two seasons earlier) with chronic knee problems who has been toiling in the Mexican League; pitcher Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), a punked-out felon from the "California Penal League" with a blazing fastball (Sheen at the time could top 80 miles per hour); Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes), a speedy center fielder who boasts that he hits like Willie Mays and runs like Bob Hayes; Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), a surly Cuban defector who possesses incredible power, but can't hit a curveball and believes in voodoo to help him get out of batting slumps; and Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross), a veteran finesse pitcher who, without a powerful arm like Vaughn's, resorts to doctoring the ball with Crisco, Vagisil, Bardahl, and, if the umpires are watching him closely, snot. Already under contract is third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), a high-priced prima donna who is biding his time until free agency and is making "plans for life after baseball," so he refuses to field the ball properly for fear of debilitating injury. Hired to manage the team is Lou Brown (James Gammon), a tire salesman who's managed in the minor leagues for years, but had never reached the majors. The only person privy to Rachel Phelps' plan is newly promoted General Manager Charlie Donovan (Charles Cyphers), the team's former field manager.

Spring training in Tucson does not go well. Vaughn's fastball is clocked at 96 miles per hour, but he has problems throwing it in the strike zone. Hayes, who thinks he has home-run power but hits pop flies instead, is told by Brown that he should hit the ball on the ground and "leg out" base hits. On the final cut-down day (teams can keep 25 players active through most of the season; those who don't make the team are sent to the minor leagues or released outright), a tag in his locker tells Vaughn that he's been demoted; it turns out to be a prank played by Dorn, who thinks Vaughn is a show-off due to his flashy appearance ("Whoa! Another freak-show candidate. How do you cut your hair, rook, Veg-O-Matic? The earring's cute, too, have you got the, uh, matching bracelet, 'veg-head'?").

Back in Cleveland, Taylor takes the rookies (Vaughn and Hayes) out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, where he sees his ex-girlfriend, Lynn Wells (Rene Russo), dining with her current beau. (Though listed in the credits as "Lynn Wells", her name is pronounced "Weslin" both times it's spoken in the film.) Noting that Lynn "would have been (my wife) if I hadn't messed things up," Jake decides to try to win her back. Because Taylor has a reputation as a womanizer (he was once hit with a paternity lawsuit; though it was a hoax, it was clear he had been with the woman), Lynn brushes off his advances, announcing instead that she and her fiance (Tom, an attorney) are getting married.

Vaughn, meantime, is struggling. In his season debut, his first pitch is delivered about four feet wide of home plate, prompting the team's Jack Daniel's-swilling announcer (Harry Doyle, played by former catcher and current Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker) to deadpan, "Ju-u-u-u-u-u-ust a bit outside." Vaughn then proceeds to walk the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches, causing fans to quickly dub him "Wild Thing". Vaughn's subsequent appearances have similar results, prompting Brown to pull him into his office. "You've got a great arm, it's one of the best I've ever seen," says his manager, "but your control hasn't come around like we'd hoped it would." Brown begins to suggest a stint in the minors, then discovers that Vaughn has vision problems. With glasses, Vaughn's next appearance is a complete-game victory.

After a sluggish start, the Indians show signs of being competitive, compiling a won-loss record far better than Phelps expected. Deciding that the players are being "coddled", she guts the medical staff and equipment, turns off the hot water in the locker room, trades in the team airplane for a propeller-driven craft barely big enough to hold the team, and later dumps the plane in favor of a bus similar to those used by minor-league teams. Still, the Indians keep winning, and a confident Brown tells his General Manager, "all we need is something to bring it all together." Donovan ruefully provides that final ingredient by spilling Rachel Phelps' plans, and when Brown tells his team, its captain (Taylor) says the only thing left to do is win it all. As added incentive for each victory, Brown peels a section of clothing from a life-size cutout of Phelps from her days as a showgirl.

As the regular season ends, the Indians and the New York Yankees are tied for first place in their division, leading to a one-game playoff. During a news broadcast from the team's hotel, Dorn's wife sees him leave with another woman. Mrs. Dorn meets up with Vaughn—sitting in a bar, distraught after learning that he would be passed over in the pitching rotation in favor of the veteran Harris—sleeps with him, and tells her husband just before game time. When Vaughn is called in to relieve Harris in the ninth inning, Dorn runs to the pitchers' mound but, instead of fighting with Vaughn, implores him to strike out the batter (Haywood).

With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Hayes legs out a hit and steals second base. At the plate, Taylor signals a suggestion to Brown, then points to the bleachers, "calling his shot," announces Doyle. "Nobody's done this since Babe Ruth in the '32 World Series!" After a brushback pitch, Taylor points again, then bunts instead, barely beating the throw to first by the surprised third baseman, who had been duped into playing deep. Hayes is waved home by the third-base coach and slides in ahead of the tag, safe, sending the Indians into the playoffs with a 3-2 win.

The team and its fans go wild in celebration; Dorn sees Vaughn in the crowd of people, decks him with a punch, then pulls him back up and hugs him over their victory. Jake looks into the stands and sees Lynn, showing her left hand—there's no engagement ring, meaning she now believes Taylor is "just a guy trying to put his life back together." The film ends with Lynn in Jake's arms, and his teammates giving high-fives and signaling, "we're number one!"


01.Wild Thing - X

02.Cryin´Shame - Lyle Lovett

03.Walkaway - The Snakes

04.Hideaway - The Beat Farmers

05.How Can The Girl Refuse - Beckett

06.U.S.Male - Lonesome Romeos

07.Burn Out - Randy Newman

08.Oh You Angel - Lonesome Romeos

09.Trial & Error (Instrumental Score) - James Newton Howard

10.Pennant Fever (Instrumental Score) - James Newton Howard

11.Most Of All You - Bill Medley

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