Every great streaming service has a bevy of worthy movies for you to check out. Unfortunately, given the fractured nature of the streaming landscape, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of what titles are on what service.
Prime Video has an ideal combination of archived titles and originals, and one of those archived titles is well worth checking out before it leaves the service. The Bad News Bears is one of the great sports movies of the 1970s. Here are three reasons you should check it out before the movie leaves Prime Video at the end of October.
If you’ve ever loved a sports movie about a ragtag group of kids, there’s a good chance you would also love The Bad News Bears. The film follows an alcoholic former pro who starts coaching for a little league team.
The movie’s ragtag team is filled with some of the most foul-mouthed kids you’re ever likely to come across, and Tatum O’Neal’s central role cemented her as one of the great young stars of the 1970s. Most crucially, though, the movie resolves itself by realizing that kids’ sports don’t need to be hypercompetitive. Baseball is supposed to be fun, and the second it no longer is, it feels pointless to play.
As Morris Buttermaker, Walter Matthau has maybe never been better. Although he spends the lion’s share of the movie interacting with children, Matthau manages to sell every interaction as he plays a coach who comes to genuinely care about the players on his team.
The scenes he shares with O’Neal are particularly sizzling, filled with the kind of banter that only a laconic actor like Matthau could deliver. Few people could play grumps quite as well as he did, but what made Matthau’s grumps work so well is that you could always sense that there was a soft, nougaty center underneath just waiting to emerge.
Few sports translate as well to the big screen as baseball does, and The Bad News Bears knows how to take advantage of the tension and romanticism that the sport can provide. Baseball is a sport rife with interpersonal drama, and The Bad News Bears makes every character on this team of misfits feel like a person, in part because we fully understand how they play together as a team.
Not every great sports movie is about baseball, but there are more great sports movies about baseball than there are about any other sport, and The Bad News Bears is right up there with the best.
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