Saturday, November 20, 2010

1976 - THE BAD NEWS BEARS, tame comedy and social satire


Nobody remembers Michael Ritchie or his films anymore.  For a while he was known as a director who could mix social satire into his stories in an entertaining way. 


The Bad News Bears is actually a typical sports film.  A group of misfits on a ball team rally together to become friends and compete in the big championship game.  The novelty in this film was to make the team a bunch of Southern California kids with little potty mouths, there is lots of little kid swearing.

The film is pretty conventional and follows the predictable story path leading to the big game.  There's lots of heartbreak and bonding and moments of self discovery, etc.  The satire in the film is also very mild with some tame criticism's about the competitive nature of team sports. 


Walter Matthau good as usual is the drunken team coach of the Bears.   Vic Morrow is also good as the type A coach of the opposing team.  Tatum O'Neal was a pretty hot kid actor at this time so she was cast as the tomboy pitcher for the Bears.  The rest of the cast is a bunch of kids where the main entertainment for the audience  is to watch them screw up on the softball field.


The Bad News Bears was a big hit for Michael Ritchie but in a way it was the high point of his career.  Ritchie for the most part stopped adding social satire into his films and moved into  a more mainstream Hollywood career making mostly uninteresting films after this. 

102 minutes

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