Saturday, August 06, 2005

REV: The Bad News Bears XXV

Review, The Bad News Bears, Kerrville, Texas, 5 August 2005

Bad News All Right . . .

Here's what's important:

The movie is the same as the original, except: a) the kids have not only picked up a lot more language, but now they actually know what it means; b) racism, misogyny and cruelty are now officially back in the national repertoire; and c) you'd think there would be some kid actors with personality out there who might like to be in a classic tribute movie with Billy Bob Thornton (unless c is because the parents of kids with personality actually read the script containing a and b and figured there were better ways to get in the business, or that maybe X-Box is not so bad a diversion after all).

Okay, the kid playing Tanner makes such a deal of throwing his glove, and stopping baserunners that you get a tiny soft spot for him -- but up close, in person, naaaah. And the Kelly character? Is there a more flat performance around? Not even in The Bad News Bears Go To Japan.

Billy Bob. Well, he has moments, but early in the film he's just line reading.

So, okay, i'm on this jag about how the world has changed lately, and i mean lately, and not to society's benefit. But let's say you recognize this, you're a parent, and you've accepted kids will run across these things. Do you really wanna pay $6 (or whatever the gouge rate is in your town) to have your 12-year-old learn all these vile putdowns and provocations? Not unless you wanna spend the fall visiting your progeny in the principal's office.

The original was funny, i think, because it was unexpected -- but also because it had heart. Here, it is neither unexpected nor heartwarming. In fact, i'm still trying to figure out exactly who was the protagonist. I'm thinking maybe it was one of the Hooter's waitresses . . . maybe.

Positives? Well, i can think of one -- the dialogue was well-written. In a movie that depends on so many one-liners, you'd think stilted speech would be a natural by-product, but somebody got that part right. But what's it worth if you don't want your kid to see the movie anyway.

I got to quit getting my hopes up.

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