Preview by: Jack Foley
THE Bad News Bears may be a remake, but it probably rates among
the most keenly-anticipated 'cover versions' in recent movie history
for a number of reasons.
First and foremost is the chance to see Billy Bob Thornton delivering
another deeply disinterested turn as the alcoholic coach of a
team of little-leaguers.
While secondly, the film is directed by Richard Linklater, the
hard-working but deeply talented man behind such recent mainstream
and indie classics as School
of Rock and Before Sunset
and Before Sunrise.
And third, but by no means least, is the news that The Bad News
Bears has been written by none other than Glenn Ficarra and John
Requa, the brains behind Terry Zwigoff's unforgettable Billy Bob
Thornton starrer, Bad Santa.
The original Bad News Bears first appeared in 1976 and starred
Walter Matthau as the grouchy coach. It spawned a trilogy.
The remake features Thornton along with the likes of Greg Kinnear
and Marcia Gay Harden.
Thornton will star as Morris Buttermaker, an ex-pro baseball
player, who was thrown out of the game for attacking an umpire.
Now working as an exterminator, and more interested in women
and boozing than baseball, Buttermaker is lured back into the
game by Liz Whitewood, an attorney whose class action suit has
forced the Little League to accept all players, regardless of
Not every cloud has a silver lining,
however, as Buttermaker finds himself coaching the Bears, the
most losing team in Little League history.
Initially only in it for the money, it isn't long before his
inept young charges have a transformative effect on him that transforms
the fortunes of everyone involved.
If the role doesn't sound that much of a stretch from Thornton's
Bad Santa persona, it's worth pointing out that this is no bad
Thornton was a riot as the foul-mouthed, hard-drinking shopping
mall Santa, and promises a similarly winning turn in Bad News
Bears - if the funny trailer is anything to go by.
What's more, he's working with another top director and should
have another saccharine-free script to work from.
Fans worried about Thornton's on-screen attitutde to kids, however,
will do well to remember the actor's real attitude towards them
- as revealed during a London interview for Bad Santa, during
which he talked about his own child.
"With Bella, my daughter, I have a certain calm about me.
When she cries, Connie freaks out and I'm like, 'don't worry,
it's just gas, she'll be over it in a minute'.
"It's amazing how kids can give you peace. It's like animal
lovers. Some animal lovers can hold a dog and their blood pressure
will go down.
"For me, it's the same with kids. I get home at night, I'm
stressed out in my life there's always some nightmare to
deal with so I get home, sit in the rocking chair, start
watching the baseball game and have the baby there, and it totally
puts me in a different place. So it's pretty cool."
Bad News Bears is released in the UK on August 26.