The Good

This is the kind of release that should make fans of this film do a big seventh inning stretch.

The Bad

Packaging makes it hard to fit normally into a collection or a metal rack of DVDS. (Well, I had to think of something!)

Major League: Wild Thing Edition is the kind of release that fans of this film are going to love. When Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) inherits the Cleveland Indians, she decides it would be in her best financial interest to move the team to Miami. How is she going to do this? By stacking the deck so high against it that the Indians will have no chance hell of winning. However, a funny thing happens on the way to the Indians annihilation. The team, led by their coach Lou Brown (James Gammon) comes to realize that sticking it to Rachel is their biggest motivation.

With Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) in the catchers box, Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) as the pitcher, and Wesley Snipes as the quick Willie Mays Hayes, this team, (which also features a voodoo practitioner (Dennis Haysbert) amongst it's brands of misfits), somehow manages to beat all the odds put in front of them. Aided by Harry Doyle's (Bob Uecker) hilarious baseball commentary, the Indians story becomes one of laughable to one of triumph.

As the years have past, it seems like people have really come to appreciate all the comedy and humanity that Major League has to offer.

Features

My Kinda Team

People like Director David S. Ward, Producer Chris Chesser, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Tom Berenger and others are on hand for this very nostalgic look back at the making this movie. They talk about it being an "honest film," how it has "stood the test of time," how everybody got involved and how the story came about. I particularly liked hearing Charlie Sheen saying how much he enjoyed getting work with Tom Berenger again, simply because their roles were so much different than the ones they played in Platoon. Also, they mix actual footage from an older production featurette with new footage, so we can see the actors then and now. A very well made companion piece to this film.

A Major League At Major League

Bob Uecker: Just A Bit Outside

I wasn't so sure this was necessary, then I watched it and it was awesome. We get to hear Uecker's classic lines from the movie, how they have influenced SportsCenter on ESPN, and how this movie really captured who Bob Uecker was. We also get to hear him tell his story and talk about his relationship to baseball over the years. There is something very warm and genuine about this person. I don't know that this is mandatory viewing, but if you are spending some time going through these featurettes this is certainly one you should screen.

A Tour of Cerrano's Locker

This is a piece of footage that I am assuming was shot when the first movie was made. We see Dennis Haysbert clad in his Cerrano outfit, falling in and out of his accent, as he introduces us to Jobu, voodoo candles, sea shells and everything else he has in his locker. Who would have ever thought that Dennis Haysbert would go from this role to doing what he's done in other movies and on TV? What's funny is that it's not like Cerrano is a role that he shouldn't be proud of. In fact, I think it makes him a better actor because it shows how truly versatile he is. Again, I don't know that your life will be lacking if you miss this, but I am sure it is something the fans are going to want to check out.

Alternate Ending with Filmmaker Introduction

My mind was debating whether I was going to write about this segment simply because I didn't want to give anything away. So, I won't. I will say that this piece is well done and Producer Chris Chesser does a good job taking us through this alternate ending. The images seem like they are falling apart, but with his help we come to understand why the ending that was chosen was indeed the better way to go. Definitely give this a look because it illuminates a lot about the way this film could have gone.

Photo Gallery

Commentary

Director David S. Ward and Producer Chris Chesser do the honors on this track. They discuss shooting this movie in Cleveland, why Randy Newman did the soundtrack, and how brutal the shoot was. They talk about how they were able to fill the stands (taking pride in the fact that it wasn't done with CGI), what they did in editing to help enhance the performances on the field, and if they could do it all again, they wouldn't have Wesley Snipes move around so much as he was waiting to steal bases. Aside from sounding like they both needed a nap, Ward and Chesser do some very good work here.

Video

This film is presented in "widescreen" format. Enhanced for 16x9 TVs. This movie came out in 1989 and, aside from the hair styles and clothes, it really doesn't seem that dated. This probably has something to do with the fact that so much of it takes place on a baseball field, and there really hasn't been much of a change in regards to how the game is played. This picture seems like it has been bumped up. I had only seen this movie when it played on TV, but I never recall it looking as sharp and as clear as it does on this DVD. Great production work all the way around.

Audio

Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround. English 2.0 Surround. French Mono. English Subtitles. The audio on this DVD was leveled really well. I was expecting to have to turn up the sound a great deal louder than I did. As I mentioned, this movie is set in a ballpark so I tried to maximize the experience by screening it in a room with surround sound. The audio was really full in those scenes and then not as full in the dialogue ones. Overall, this is the kind of release that should benefit baseball fans who watch their programming on big screen TVs.

Package

This is both funny and annoying. The plastic, amaray disc that holds this movie actually has an astroturf like covering, which has a picture of Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen and Tom Berenger on the front cover. The back features shots of the cast, a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs. The front cover of the amaray case has a bigger image of the three actors, while the back cover is exactly the same as the astroturf covering. If you own no other version of this movie this seems to be the one you need.

Final Word

I don't think I have ever appreciated this movie as much I did on this screening. I always liked Major League but I never understood what was so special about it. I guess it was just one of those broad comedies that happened to touch a nerve. It is about baseball and when you add good actors, good material and everything else it makes sense that they would have had a hit with this film. I remember at the time being surprised that this movie fared so well because it seemed like Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen had sort of reached a lull in their careers.

This DVD is so packed with extras that it really feels like they went out of their way to make the fans happy. To include a bunch of features that don't all cover the same material, a director's commentary that features such sly wit, old footage with Dennis Haysbert giving a tour of Cerrano's locker in character, etc... this DVD has it all. The best part is, Major League is a really good movie and the Major League: Wild Thing Edition does everything it can to bolster that.