Let Them Play, Let Them Play – Bad News Bears
…ahhhhhhhhh, memories of simpler times for a kid with a late 60′s birthdate. These 2 movies (Bad News Bears Japan was an abomination) actually gave kids credit for their complexities, long before todays PC police forced fake sentimentality and “gee wiz they won the championship” whitewashed Mighty Duck turds down our throats. If Raidergirls were a little league team (perish the thought) we’d be the Bears… asking Chico to bail out our beer swillin’ coach.
When faith in humanity is lost there is always solace to be found in the Bears… and if it’s a ”make it a double bartender” day for brotherhood, “The Sandlot” ( ”Stand By Me” on a baseball diamond… or morphed with “300″ in this silly but well synced vid) also stands at the ready. No amount of self pity or woe for modern fellow man can withstand the double dosage of a “Booger Eatin’ spazz” and ”You’re killing me Smalls.”
“Golly Violet, grab Little Giants, these Bears curse and chase women”
”Let Them Play, Let Them, Play”
– This Bad News Bears clip still gives me goosebumps every time
Goosebumps immediately follow the first “let them play” chant from the absentee dad of rebellious Marlboro toking ballhog Kelly Leak. Then comes the Bad News Bears theme music as second base chucking Tanner Boyle continues to elude floundering security guards. I need a tissue…
Bad News Bears Random Facts and Minutiae…
- Tanners Tirade… ”Jews, Spics, Niggers and a Wop that throws airballs” would get you killed in todays PC world.
- Don’t jump in Engelberg. You’ll flood the valley… catching a break of epic proportions, the real Engleberg (or “Englepuke”) the lovable lug playing the stereotypical fatassed catcher, missed the atrociously bad Bad New Bears in Japan movie… due to losing to his rotundness, and Paramounts unwillingness to write it into the script.
“…it’s a substantial bucking of the trend toward ever more chubby, surly and inert children“
- “virtual” Yosemite sucks balls… unlike todays portly ps2 generation, kids raised in the Bad News Bears era were EXPECTED to be playing something outside until dark.
- win some lose some… ”Original” Engleberg also missed out on the cultural phenonema that was Breaking Training… and of course being forever remembered as the dude with a bucket of KFC covering his junk… while talking a dump.
- He who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserves neither… One listen to “life is looking good” which played as the Bears took their “borrowed” van on an epic roadie to Houston, spurs those circa 70′s era feelings of hope & freedom… that seem fewer and farther between in our post 9/11 world.
- Da Bears… stayed at the Houston Hilton in Breaking Training. They stayed in Rooms 324 and 325, and could see the Astrodome from room 325.
- Road Trip Mandate… The original movie and some scenes from the second movie were filmed at Mason Park in Chatsworth, CA. The park is still there on Mason Ave. just north of Devonshire. The ballfield has been completely redone and there is nothing to indicate there was ever a movie filmed there.
- Road Trip part deux… the bell-bottom wearing hitchhiker from Breaking Training plays a close second (to Phoebe Cates scorching the earth in that red bikini from the Phoebe Cates Fast Times at Ridgemont High Red bikini pool scene… another tissue please) in movie hottie moments that stand the test of time.
- Courtesy of the real Rudi Stein… “We had the Astrodome to ourselves for a full week. Between scenes we would explore the tunnels and backrooms of the place. It was pretty amazing. We actually put an ad in the paper for extras when we needed large crowd shots. As I recall, we needed about 1,000 extras one day and had 3,000 people show up. When we started turning people away, there was a mini-riot outside that require police intervention.”
- Disingenious… There is a field named “Bad News Bears“ in Westwood, CA.
- Sign O’ the times… The remake with Billy Bob Thornton (not watched by me for reasons of tradition) got a scathing review from Movie-Mom.
”The Bad News Bears was instrumental in turning a formerly docile population of pint-sized fielders into a foul-mouthed field of anarchists.”
- …and more from a peculiarly astute suck.com … ”For a nation of Timmy Lupuses, accustomed to seeing the pains of adolescence portrayed on the big screen while the misery of pre-adolescence gets ignored, the thrill came in seeing their own lives up on the screen.”
- Meant to be funny… Miguel and Jose’s, “four dollars…for both of us“ actually got me to ask for LESS allowance from my parents.
- wtf???… ”Check me out on Myspace” saysMiguel.
- Deep… In his 1976 review, critic Roger Ebert called the Bad News Bears series “an unblinking, scathing look at competition in American society.”
- and Buttermaker talked Ahmad down from the tree…Roger Ebert calls the movie “disturbing” in his review (racial epithets, drunken coach, 12-year olds swearing, etc.) but also duly notes that ”The members include a black, a couple of Mexicans, various other minority group members and, eventually, a girl.”
3 Life Lessons learned from the Bad News Bears…
1. sport sees no prejudice… aka welcome Ahmad, Miguel & Jose, Amanda, etc. to the North Valley Little League. Sports is a place where how well you perform impartially measurable tasks truly outweighs the amount of pigment in your skin.
* …or whether a cup is mandatory protection. Cheers, Tatum.
2. sports is a great equalizer… Whether it be by greed or the intrinsic beauty of a ballteams singular focus on a seemingly improbable goal (e.g. yesterday’s Penguins Championship) the proverbial glass ceiling (think beyond just gender) is routinely smashed in sports… Amanda pitches, the WOP throws his airballs…
3. sport is one bastion of a true meritocracy in action… The scales of Sports justice tilt decidedly in favor of karma, which unlike political appointees… usually leads to the most qualified candidate getting the job.
* Meritocracy dillema: Kelly Leak races in from left to call off the Looper on a pop fly; as Kelly is clearly the best man for that job… right, wrong… you decide?
Where are these little rodents now?
With the exception of Chris “Tanner Boyle” Barnes who has become a recluse (go figure… the Napoleon Complex finally broke him, perhaps the trauma of the ketchup donnybrook???… may you live in rebellious peace Tanner Chris) they seem to be an all too normal slice of americana. Much as Jerry Mathers will always be the Beaver, I shall purge the “Tanner sold more copiers than Oglivie this month…” minutiae gleaned from the video above, and choose instead to respectfully remember them as Kids from the North Valley League in admittedly selfish perpetual bliss.
This grainy angst filled “Kelly Leak stares forlornly at the Astrodome” photo perfectly captures a moment in all of us, when we questioned authority, our role with our parents, a team of some sort counting on you… what to do…
To fellow late 70′s – early 80′s era sports obsessed youth… may your little Tanner Boyles also share in these life altering rite of passage movies.
- Bad News Bears in Breaking Training Video
- You’re Killing Me Smalls | Benny The Jet is Tanner Boyle
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