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Bad News Bears (2005)

 
 

Not All Bad News

Billy Bob Thornton as Morris Buttermaker in Bad News Bears (2005)

The 2005 remake of "Bad News Bears" is probably the best example for my repeated argument about remakes, that argument is that they are not made for those who enjoyed the original but for a new generation which will think the original is dated. And so it is little surprise that there are plenty reviews of the 2005 remake which slate it for being a weak imitation which never should have been made to those which really love it usually from those who haven't watched the original. As for me, well I prefer the original, it had charm, character and humour which was not as good this time around and it definitely feels like the whole movie relies on Billy Bob Thornton but for those who were never charmed by Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal it works.

One time professional ball player and now alcoholic pest controller Morris Buttermaker (Billy Bob Thornton - Bad Santa) is persuaded to coach The Bears a misfit bunch of children who suck at baseball. Not overly bothered about turning these misfits into a team Morris suddenly finds himself feeling guilty for not helping and with a few extra recruits as well as sponsorship by Hooters The Bears start to become a team with a shot at the championship.

Sammi Kane Kraft as Amanda Whurlitzer in Bad News Bears (2005)

So the good news is that in this remake of "The Bad News Bears" they didn't change the storyline but only elements, such as adding a kid in a wheelchair and that Buttermaker drinks non-alcoholic beer spiked with whisky. And in a way this remake is like non-alcoholic beer spiked with whisky because for the most it is ordinary pepped up by the occasional nice embellishment. Those embellishments mainly revolve around attitude with the kids in this version far more in your face than in the original which does mean more swearing. But not all the embellishments work and at times it does end up trying too hard, forcing the humour of these characters.

But the thing is that of course we are talking a remake and as I already mentioned if you enjoyed the original "The Bad News Bears" with Walter Matthau then this remake isn't for you, it is not a homage to the movie but an update for a new generation. And I can see how it would be more entertaining for a new generation because whilst it doesn't have the charm and characters of the original it has the simple entertainment which young audiences will like from a skateboard scene to the humour of Buttermaker sleeping with one of the player's mums. It also still serves up the important lesson that at a young age sports should be about fun and being in a team rather than the desperate need to win which makes it worthwhile.

The trouble for me is that this version basically relies on Billy Bob Thornton and no one else, the kids don't make a big enough impression and whilst we have Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden in small parts they do end up very small parts. Now on one hand Thornton is well cast as a modern Buttermaker, anti establishment cool with an aggressive but laid back attitude but there is only so much that Thornton can do and without the kids really creating characters for themselves he struggles.

What this all boils down to is that the remake of "Bad News Bears" is made for a new generation and for a new generation it will probably work, keeping the basic storyline intact but updating and embellishing it. But for those who enjoyed the original "Bad News Bears" this will be a weak remake and in truth if you enjoyed the original you shouldn't watch it.

Tags: Baseball Movies

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