“How’s Your Wife and My Kids?”

There’s something sentimental about Major League’s opening credits, with a shot of a beer league baseball field consumed by industry and CO2-pushing smokestacks surrounding it in every direction. The camera sweeps over Cleveland landmarks, but spends extensive time filming factories where workers inside no longer have the time or money to spend playing or watching baseball. Times changed. The Cleveland Indians, however, did not.

It’s surreal in 2024 to watch Major League and wonder aloud how standards change. Imagine, in this social media and image-obsessed, PR-ruled world, an MLB team willingly handing over the license to their name to make a movie about how terrible they are. At one time, it was possible to be in on the joke while living the fantasy of winning a division against the wishes of a wealthy owner looking to relocate.

Major League is working class comedy, even if it takes place a professional level

Major League is working class comedy, even if it takes place a professional level. Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) is asked what he makes playing for the Indians and replies, “League minimum.” In the late ‘80s, that was a fairly comfortable $60-$70k (depending on the year), if hardly a beacon of financial freedom. Coming together as a team, Major League is brought to relatable level of underpaid, hard-working, body-sacrificing employees looking to upset their boss. Add in R-rated locker room talk, behind-the-scenes affairs, and being forced to accept even the oddballs in the group, and Major League becomes an ode to the middle class.

Decorated by stars including Berenger, Renee Russo, Charlie Sheen, and Wesley Snipes, they never consume the movie. Major League makes the most of its bit parts, in particular Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle, the disgruntled announcer so funny and earnest, it’s an Oscar-worthy supporting role. There are the groundskeepers who never speak a word of English yet have some of the best lines subtitled, or the fans pounding wardrums arguing that home runs balls shouldn’t go so high. There isn’t a single miss in the script and while writer/director David S. Ward stuck primarily to directing comedy (and effectively copied the hockey great Slap Shot to make Major League), his work never quite landed as masterfully as it did here.

Video

Paramount nails this master, preserving the grain structure for all time, naturally and cleanly too. It’s razor sharp, and the precision brings Major League visual life. Detail and texture both impress over a soggy Blu-ray previously. Every jersey or hat stitch shows, even at some distance. Natural sun falling onto the field is a natural detail maker. The wide shots of Cleveland make the city look better than any previous attempt to do so.

A splash is made with Dolby Vision, enlivening the contrast with a satisfying pop. It’s not extensive, but bright, and nicely calibrated black levels hold up their end consistently.

Equally splendid, the color saturation thrives. Again it’s the jerseys, the reds spectacular and vivid. Major League of course scores elsewhere too, like the spot-on, natural flesh tones with a slight warmth added for pop.

Audio

Copying the TrueHD mix from the Blu-ray. The light, breezy soundtrack is fine, bleeding minimally into the surrounds. Dialogue works into the mix with no need for adjustment.

Major League’s audio highlight is the final game as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn steps in as relief. As the music blares, the crowd sings along. Every channel comes to life with wonderful clarity, finally creating that open atmosphere everyone was waiting for.

Extras

Writer/director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser provide a commentary, a fine companion to the well-produced making-of My Kinda Team.

A Major League Look at Major League has current players (“current” as of 2010 when this was made) discussing the film and their memories of it, and how well it recreated the real thing. Bob Uecker: Just a Bit Outside catches up with the former player about his role. An alternate ending was one of the wisest deletions ever, and a brief look at the small locker of Cerrano was filmed on set. A photo gallery is left.

Major League
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Major League is a sports comedy masterpiece, joining the likes of Slap Shot at the top of the list.

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User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 46 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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