Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on May 24, 1978 in Eugene, Oregon
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Written by Arch McCoy
Cast: Richard Lincoln, James Zvanut, Kathy Bell, Noel Cunningham, Sean P. Griffin, Max McClellan, Kevin Moore, Ted Oyama, Michael Pastore, Philip Scuderi, David Schmalholz, Todd Weeks, Nancy Willis, Terry Vance, Manny Lieberman, and yes, introducing Xavier Rodrigo
Here come the Tigers…and there goes my breakfast! Take an annoying collection of juvenile delinquents, troublemakers, and miserable little pissants, put them on a Little League baseball team, name the team after a ferocious animal, supply them with ugly uniforms, and plunk a hesitant manager into their laps, and what do you get? No, not that one…instead, you get the most excruciating, slapped-together, purely awful baseball movie you’ll find anywhere, a completely unabashed rip-off of a certain bear-titled kids baseball film from 1976, and one that made no attempt to hide that fact.
Good lord, what an absolute simple-minded mess! The rookie screenwriter, Arch McCoy, never worked in film again, but the director most certainly did: Sean S. Cunningham, who two years later would direct the original Friday the 13th, and would go on to helm A Stranger is Watching, The New Kids, and Deep Star Six…four films whose horror roots could all be traced to Here Come the Tigers. Yes, it’s supposed to be a comedy, and yes, I did laugh quite often; this laughter, however, was of the derisive, ‘I can’t believe the idiocy’ variety, and should not be construed as complimentary.
When a small-town police officer takes over coaching duties of the out-of-control Tigers—with help from his stumblebum, comedy-relief partner—he soon finds himself knee-deep in it when the team continues its losing ways, and a court orders him to become a foster parent to a young hellion with a record. Faster than you can say Tatum O’Neal and Jackie Earle Haley, the team adds a whiz-kid pitcher and a power hitter to the roster, and suddenly the Tigers are contenders, and facing the thuggish Panthers for the Piddletown Acorn League crown. And do the Tigers win it all? Well, of course they do.
Ugh. That’s the condensed version of the story, of course, but to get the full impact of the film’s abhorrent mediocrity, it must be seen in its entirety, a situation I would wholeheartedly not recommend. Besides the terrible acting, gloomy direction, lack of skilled ballplaying (close-ups removed the necessity for batters to actually make contact), and irresponsible use of foul language, scenes seemed to consist mainly of sight gags and reaction shots, set to ridiculous whoop-de-doo music cues.
At the least, I wish I could say that the film’s heart was in the right place, but I can’t, because it wasn’t: there wasn’t one lesson to be learned, one emotion conveyed, one moment of sportsmanship carried out, or one scene that didn’t go by without an excrement joke. And besides being sexist (the only female player on the Tigers was suddenly demoted to cheerleading duties) and questionably racist (the team’s new slugger was a bowing, board-chopping Asian), it was embarrassingly absurdist as well, especially when it came to adhering to common sense on the playing field.
One glaring example of this occurred during a game when a batter hit a smash to the left field gap, and tried to stretch it into a triple…only to have the throw to the third baseman come from the vicinity of the pitcher’s mound. And so it went. And went. And went again. Remember, I watched this because I had to; you, on the other hand, are under no such pressure, obligation, or threat. (0/10)