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PCR # 278  (Vol. 6, No. 29)  This edition is for the week of July 18--24, 2005.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Bad News Bears"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Two stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Bad News Bears"
 by Mike Smith
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 by Mike Smith
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Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, and Marcia Gay Harden
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hours 51 mins

I've always had mixed feelings about remakes of previous films, especially ones that I really liked. "Planet of the Apes," "The Longest Yard" and "Cape Fear" are just a few of the films I enjoyed in their original versions. I enjoyed aspects of their remakes, but still felt in the back of my mind that something was missing. I've got that same feeling with the new "Bad News Bears".

In 1976, "The Bad News Bears" stood out as not only a funny film, but a great vehicle for the talent involved. Walter Matthau, Tatum O' Neal and Vic Morrow held their own against a group of kids that felt like the kids you grew up with. Almost 30 years later, the kids seem to have been chosen more for their ethnicity then their ability and that takes away from the film. In fact, the only new Bear that can stand with an original is Timmy Deters, who plays a very hot tempered Tanner Boyle. Not only are the Bears not that interesting but the dialogue is unrealistic. In 1976 precocious kids were allowed to be just that: precocious. In fact, I can remember the trailer for the first film containing Tanner's very un-p c description of his teammates. In today's Hollywood, those words would be considered too insensitive. Sadly we are instead subjected to various and unending descriptions of the teams' body functions. Heck, they don't even let tough Kelly Leak (Jeff Davies) smoke. Speaking of Kelly, in the original film both Jackie Earle Haley and O'Neal, who played pitcher Amanda Wurlitzer, fit in with the kids. Here both Davies and the new Amanda (Sammi Kraft) seem much older then their dugout mates. Thornton, who in his youth was a star high school pitcher and was invited to try out for the Kansas City Royals, is fine as the coach. Following in the footsteps of a comic legend like Matthau is no easy task and Thornton adds his own spin to the role. Kinnear has always been hit or miss as an actor and here he misses. He certainly doesn't seem to appreciate the game as much as his character is supposed to and his performance suffers. Oscar winner Harden is pretty much wasted as the mother of one of the Bears with a hidden wild side. The filmmakers may have thought they had a home run on their hands but they only ended up with a ground rule double.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Bad News Bears  Two stars

This week's movie review of "Bad News Bears" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.