The Bad New Bears (1976)

Directed By – Michael Ritchie

Screenplay By – Bill Lancaster

Cinematography By – John A. Alonzo

Starring Walter Matthau

102 min.

The Bears are playing the Yankees next week and what does that mean for the Yankees? Bad News for the Yankees!

This is a terrific piece of film history from a time where the reigns on society weren’t so tight and people let things slide if it was depicting a certain type of reality. Nowadays, parents would be furious if the protagonist/coach of a movie was a swearing drunk who gave his kids beers to celebrate, although that’s the kind of coach I wish I had.

For some reason I don’t think most of my generation has seen the original The Bad News Bears. Maybe this is because there were more sports movies geared towards kids while we were growing up then there was when Bad News Bears came out or we had our own kid baseball movie in The Sandlot. Whatever the reason this one is a must for all American boys (and really all American children). Like several team movies, it shows a group of misfits (including the coach) coming together as a team and as friends, and does so with “guts”.

What’s great about The Bad News Bears is the grittiness of it all, as it shows kids cursing and using racial slurs that were used during this time by white America. The feel of this movie verges on the documentary. It is also a great story with hilarious kids and a heartfelt ending. If anything this movie makes you want your little league days back so you can do it again, or for me, do it right. It also has a young Jackie Earle Haley way way before he was Rorschach and a remade Freddy Krueger.

This is a classic American film that wouldn’t hurt anyone to watch even if it is just to show how far we’ve come as a society in terms of what is acceptable. But there are a ton of other reasons to watch this movie too, one being that it is great!


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