Friday, September 21, 2012

Instant Forgotten Sequels: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan

Can I just say 'UGH!' and move on with my life.  My inner voices are telling me 'no,' so I guess that I have to elaborate.  This is the third film in the original Bad News Bears trilogy (provided that you don't count the TV show- but why would you).  This one was so bad that they never bothered to make a new entry in the franchise for over 25 years!  If you don't know the tale, I'll give you the basic rundown.  In the first film, a lovable drunk (Walter Matthau) molded a bunch of foul-mouthed kids into a team...but they still lost.  It's kind of like Rocky actually- must be a '70s thing.  In the second film, they lose their Coach, but gain a new one in the father of one of the players.  It was apparently about them playing another team for the right to challenge the famous Japanese World Champions- bear that in mind for later.  In this film, they get their wish- kind of- and get yet another new coach.  Yes, despite their second Coach being the father of one of the kids, he's nowhere to be seen nor is his absence addressed.  Real nice.  The late Tony Curtis is here as the new Coach, so that's certain to be polarizing for a lot of people.  To find out why this film is relegated to the waste dump of sequels, read on...
The introductory scene explains that the challengers to the Japanese team turned down the offer.  That leads our team to challenge them instead.

Yes, we're starting off with a plot-hole right from the beginning.  Joy.
Meanwhile, a sleazy and out-of-work Producer (Curtis) is looking for a way in.  Seeing the crass team, he sees his opportunity.  Time to lie your ass off!
I should mention that Jackie Earl Haley is back for this film and is the only other actor to receive above-the-title-billing here.  In spite of that, he pretty much just appears in group shots and his own sub-plot.  Double joy.

As a bonus, his sub-plot is that he stalks this one Japanese girl because...some reason and this makes her like him.  No, really.
We do get to see legendary Wrestler Antonio Inoki beat the shit out of Tony Curtis('s stunt double).  That has to count for something, right?
The middle chunk of this movie is pretty much just made up of scenes showing how Japan/Japanese people are weird compared to us.  To that end, here's a random Japanese video...
Let's wrap this up, shall we?  We get only the second baseball playing footage of the movie...for the final game.  This is a Baseball movie, right?
The game gets called due to a big fight and the network is mad.
Curtis, however, is happy to see the two teams playing each other in private and breaks the deal.  Oh and Stalker Jackie gets the girl.  The End.
So what is the opposite of Comedy again?  Whatever it is, it defines this movie!  Don't get me too wrong now- I see where the comic potential is.  You have the (still) misfit Sports Team combined with the Hustler with a Heart of Gold character and the Fish Out of Water story.  Even as jumbled as it is, there's no reason that this movie should fail.  It does though.  The biggest problem is that nobody gets along and nearly every character is turned into a Stock one.  There's a scene where Curtis lists his team, mentioning that he has a Jew, a Mexican, etc.  The sad thing- that's all the character that most of them get.  The only two players- save for Jackie's Kelly- with anything to do here are Mustafa (who hates the Coach) and his brother (who follows the Coach around).  Instead, the show turns into being all about Curtis 'playing the game.'  Is Jerk Promoter anywhere in the title The Bad News Bears Go To Japan?  No.  As far as Jackie Earl Haley's part goes, it's...weird.  He's starting to look a little creepy, a fact that's not aided by his behavior.  Seriously, he just follows this girl to her Geisha training, to the Subway and all of the way home.  This makes him- right.  Amusingly enough, it does make me picture a teenage Bill Oberst Jr. (friend of the site) in a love story like this- it wouldn't be any stranger!  Here's the bottom line: this movie is just awkward and almost never funny.  Instead, here's my bad attempt at Photoshop...
Next up, the sequel to a feminist blaxploitation film.  I'll give you a quarter if you've heard of this movie.  Stay tuned...


  1. If I remember correctly from English class (and Metalocalypse), the opposite of comedy is tragedy. Does that help?


    "We do get to see legendary Wrestler Antonio Inoki beat the shit out of Tony Curtis('s stunt double). That has to count for something, right?"

    Yes it does -- but sadly, it's not enough to improve the net worth of the movie. That aside, thanks for subjecting yourself to this pain; let the hatred flow through you, and make you stronger.

  2. re "Amusingly enough, it does make me picture a teenage Bill Oberst Jr."

    This comment made me look up a picture of the real teenage Bill Oberst Jr....which I guess kind of reinforces your point, actually: