Bad News Bears
How enthused is washed-up former ball pro Morris Buttermaker (Billy Bob Thornton) about coaching a bunch of Little League rejects? “I’ve got enthusiasm flying out of my ass,” he deadpans through his hangover. The motley crew of unathletic, profane, foreign, or creepy kids he’s assigned aren’t too thrilled to have him, either. But lo and behold, Buttermaker whips them into a functional ball team without cleaning up their act, and they win a moral victory for America or baseball or something. Director Richard Linklater covers no new ground in this remake of the 1976 original, except more stripper jokes and less racial slurs (that’s less, not none—sailor-mouthed Tanner’s [Timmy Deters] tirades earn a well-deserved PG-13 this time around). The movie gets good comic mileage out of the cynical and filthy-mouthed kids, but starts running on fumes as it grinds to an overlong finish. But then again, no one ever said Bad News Bears had to be Dostoevsky. Thirtysomethings who remember a prelitigious childhood of no seat belts, bike helmets, or modesty boards shielding the Penthouses at the 7-Eleven will probably enjoy hanging out with the Bears more than their kids will. If you’re the “bad” aunt or uncle, swear your nephews or nieces to secrecy and sneak them in—they’ll love you forever.