Devils In The Outfield

Everyone plays in Richard Linklater's 'Bad News Bears'

Cheering section: Billy Bob Thorton flanked by happy players in 'Bad News Bears'
Paramount Pictures
Cheering section: Billy Bob Thorton flanked by happy players in 'Bad News Bears'

Each of the other young actors makes an impression, though, and neatly fills the bases for Billy Bob Thorton's grand slam. His Buttermaker beans his players in the helmet with a baseball when he's drunk, maybe because he has to be meaner in an era when "Let's do it for the children" is a national joke. He tells the Armenian player to go ahead and lie to Dad, because, shit, "This is America." Candidly distinguishing between "role models" and mentors, the movie dares to lay claim to both patriotism and the national pastime--and just when overzealous sports dads seem to have taken over the country.

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