The Bad News Bears (1976)

Sometimes I actually wish my sports teams were like this.

Walter Matthau stars as the grumbling, beer-guzzling Morris Buttermaker, a former minor-league pitcher roped into coaching a crass bunch of perpetually losing half-pint misfits. Desperate to win, Coach Morris brings in two ringers. One is his ex-girlfriend’s athletic daughter, Amanda (Tatum O’Neal), and the other the rebellious but talented Kelly (Jackie Earle Haley).

I have seen the 2005 remake, a number of numerous times, and that one’s fine. However, I just wish this one could have held up as well.

There’s a lot of inappropriate stuff in this movie that just totally sent people into rage when it came out back in 76. These kids are using racial slurs, drinking bear, fighting almost everyone, and basically put into harm’s way every time. However, I found some of the funnier moments come from when the kids were being asses. Its always funny to see a little kid say bad words, or cause havoc, so why should this be any different?

Its different cause there isn’t enough other funny stuff supporting the raunchy jokes. There is bits and pieces of drama in this, but it doesn’t work and just comes off as cheesy. Other jokes seem to exploited, and over-used, like the whole basis of the film is to just show these kids doing bad stuff, and hope to get a chuckle out of how absurd this is. That was hilarious in 76, now its kind of like something we see almost on TV.

I’m at least glad that the film does show some satire, and truth about “win-it” factor, that is so highly used in sports nowadays.

Walter Matthau probably plays one of his best known roles, and for good reason, he’s pretty funny. He plays this low-life drunk with plenty of reality, and shows some other dramatic sides to his character that we weren’t expecting. Its funny to see Jackie Earle Haley in this young kid role, as a total bad-ass, and his performance was good and funny, for all the wrong reasons.

Consensus: Bad News Bears isn’t as great as everybody says mostly due to the fact that it exploits its joke, and doesn’t hold up well today, but still features some funny moments, including a good performance from Matthau.



    • Sorry Frank, I just didn’t think that it was as great as a classic as everyone has said. Oh and you caught me, I watched it on Comcast Demand (Damnnnnn youuuu).

  1. I have to agree with Frank on this one. It’s held up very well for me and I’d give it at least a 7. Maybe it’s just because of the nostalgia of watching it with my dad when I was young.

    Sorry to nitpick, but I’m a journalism minor. Isn’t the phrase “a number of numerous times” a bit redundant?

    • Yeah, I don’t know this was probably my second time seeing this, and the first I barely remember. And no don’t worry, sometimes I even forget what I write down. Hahha thanks for the help on the English bro!

  2. I haven’t seen the remake, I probably won’t ever: moral grounds.

    I hope you give it another shot, maybe a little while down the road when you have fresh eyes. Next time you watch it, notice how the season wears on, the maturity levels of the kids are on an up swing, whereas the adults bottom-out.

    While Buttermaker is out there trying to find ringers and convincing 12 year old girls to flirt in order to get Kelly LEak on the team, Tanner is sticking up for the weaker Lupus against bullies.

    I just think it’s brilliant.

  3. I didn’t like the film when I first saw it but it improves on multiple viewings – I think this is due to me getting into the humour a little more. It is very dark but I think this makes it stand out as a superior baseball/film about kids movie. I preferred it to the remake with Billy Bob.

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