Major League II
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|Major League II|
|Directed by||David S. Ward|
|Produced by||Gary Barber
James G. Robinson
David S. Ward
|Written by||David S. Ward,
Tom S. Parker,
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Editing by||Donn Cambern
|Studio||Morgan Creek Productions|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||105 minutes|
Major League II is a 1994 sequel to the 1989 film Major League. Major League II stars most of the same cast from the original, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Corbin Bernsen. Absent from this film is Wesley Snipes, who played Willie Mays Hayes in the first film and who by 1994 had become a film star in his own right. Omar Epps took over his role.
Major League II also welcomes some new faces to the team. David Keith plays Jack Parkman, a selfish superstar catcher who is looking to replace the aging Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) as the starter. Takaaki Ishibashi of Japanese comedic duo Tunnels is a new outfielder, Isuro "Kamikazi" Tanaka, who helps excite the team. Eric Bruskotter is the rookie catcher Rube Baker who is getting used to the MLB life.
Randy Quaid makes a cameo appearance in the film as an extremely loyal fan of the team.
The film was directed by David S. Ward, who also directed the first installment of the Major League series, in addition to other films, such as The Program and Down Periscope. In addition to Sheen, Berenger, Bernsen, Epps, Keith, and Takaaki, Major League II has an additional cast of Dennis Haysbert, James Gammon, Bob Uecker, and Margaret Whitton, all of whom returned from the first film.
The film touches on the follow-up season of the Cleveland Indians successful season in the first film. Success has spoiled the team and many of its players. Roger Dorn has retired and purchased the team. New relationships are revealed that have affected play on the field.
The film was released in March 1994 and eventually grossed over $30 million at the U.S. box office. The film and its sequel Major League: Back to the Minors were not as well received as the first film, which is considered by many now to be a classic. The film has many cameo appearances by current and former MLB players such as Steve Yeager and Kevin Hickey, as well as several entertainers such as Jesse Ventura and Randy Quaid.
The film was shot at various locations in Baltimore, Maryland, Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Various sports stadiums were also used in filming, including Memorial Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Metro Bank Park and U.S. Cellular Field (then called Comiskey Park) in Chicago.
Cleveland Stadium was not used, as it was not in the first film. Oriole Park at Camden Yards replaced Milwaukee County Stadium as the stand-in for the team's home. Although Oriole Park bore a stronger resemblance to the stadium that the Indians were playing in when Major League II was released (the now-Progressive Field), like County Stadium it was designed to represent Cleveland Stadium in the film. The outfield scoreboard at Oriole Park reads "Welcome to Cleveland Stadium" at various points and scenes in the outfield are played in front of a blue wall, which Cleveland Stadium had (Oriole Park and Progressive Field both have dark green outfield walls).
Coincidentally, a year after this film was released, the actual Cleveland Indians team made it to the 1995 World Series, which was the team's first playoff appearance in 41 years. The Indians ended up losing in 6 games to the Atlanta Braves. In the lead-up to Game 3, the first World Series game played in Cleveland in 41 years, the PA system played "The House Is Rockin," the song from the end of Major League II. In another coincidence, Bob Uecker (Harry Doyle) served as a commentator for the 1995 World Series television coverage on NBC.
The success of last season has changed the attitudes of the Indians. Pitching sensation Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) has become a media sensation and as such is now more concerned about his public image than his pitching, causing him to lose the edge on his fastball and to rely on highly ineffective breaking balls that he gives intimidating names to. Home run hitter Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) became a Buddhist and adopted a more placid, carefree style as opposed to the angry and aggressive player he was before. Centerfielder Willie Mays Hayes (Omar Epps) is still as fast as ever but is more concerned with hitting home runs and his movie career, which saw him star in an action film that was a flop and resulted in him coming to spring training with a sprained knee. Again catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) has also returned, and conceited third baseman Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) has retired and purchased the team from its previous owner, Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton). One of his first acts as owner is to sign Oakland Athletics all-star catcher Jack Parkman (David Keith), which forces Jake to compete for his old position. To further complicate things, minor-league catcher Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) has also been invited to camp despite his inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher with any consistency.
As the team breaks camp, Taylor discovers that although he has made the team, he believes there is no way that manager Lou Brown (James Gammon) is going to carry three catchers as Parkman and Rube have also made the team. Lou, after being confronted by Jake, informs Taylor that he is not going to carry him as a player but as a coach. Although he initially is upset over being forced into retirement, Jake elects to take Lou's offer and join the coaching staff.
Once again, the Indians start slow as Cerrano's religious conversion causes him to struggle and to accept his struggles, Hayes' refusal to play even with the slightest injury, Vaughn's lack of control over his pitches, and Parkman's ego poisoning the clubhouse. To make matters worse, Dorn has been unable to keep up with the franchise's finances and is forced to do strange things to bring in money such as putting advertising on the outfield walls. Eventually Lou reaches the end of his tolerance regarding Parkman and decides to suspend him after Parkman blasted the team in the local papers. Parkman then informs Lou that the suspension is moot as he has been traded to the White Sox. Lou confronts Dorn for not consulting him about the trade, with Dorn saying that he could no longer afford to pay Parkman's salary and was left with no choice but to trade him to someone who could. As part of the trade Japanese import Isuro "Kamikaze" Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibashi), a gifted left fielder with a penchant for crashing into the fence, is sent to the Indians.
Finally out of options, Dorn sells the Indians back to Rachel Phelps, who is still angry over the fact that the team's success the year before prevented her from breaking the team's lease and moving it to Miami (see the original film's page). Buying back the team gives her a chance to get revenge on all the players for the year before. Making matters worse, Lou suffers a heart attack in the clubhouse due to his frustration over the team's performance and Jake is given the reigns of the team.
Things come to a head during a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Late in the first game, Rube is hit by a pitch in his ankle and Hayes is called upon to run for him. Hayes refuses to do it, which angers Jake. Vaughn chimes in, which causes Hayes to bring up his own struggles and the two begin fighting. Soon, the entire team gets involved and begins fighting each other, resulting in everyone being ejected. After the game, Tanaka criticizes Cerrano for not having any "marbles" due to his struggles and Hayes makes a wisecrack at Baker about his injury. Rube lashes out at Hayes and the rest of the team for their lack of passion and decides to play in the second game. Inspired by the speech, Hayes volunteers to run for the injured Baker in the bottom of the ninth inning and promptly steals second, third, and home to tie the score. Cerrano, also inspired, demands that Jake insert him into the game to pinch hit and he responds by hitting the game winning home run.
The win sparks a hot streak that the Indians ride all the way to a second straight division title, clinched by beating the Toronto Blue Jays on the last day of the season. Despite the team's hot streak, Vaughn remains in his slump as his ineffective breaking pitches have caused him to lose confidence in his best pitch, his fastball. To make matters more complicated, he refuses to finish games he starts and has allowed the fans to get into his head.
In the ALCS, the Indians square off in a rematch with the White Sox and win the first three games of the series. This inspires Rachel to give the team a phony pep talk before Game 4, which is purposely designed to get in the heads of the players and distract them. It works, as a still struggling Vaughn continues gives up a game winning home run to Parkman in the bottom of the ninth. The White Sox then defeat the Indians in the next two games, forcing a seventh game played in Cleveland.
The night before the game, Jake goes to visit Vaughn at his home and tells him that he might be called on to pitch in relief in Game 7. Vaughn nonchalantly tells Taylor he will be ready, which infuriates Jake to the point where he lashes out at Vaughn. He calls Vaughn out for having lost his edge and not having his head in the game, and tells him that he is of no use to the team if he continues playing the way he is. Before Taylor leaves, he tells Vaughn to find his edge if it has not already escaped him.
The White Sox jump out to an early lead in Game 7 and lead 2-1 after Parkman bowls over Rube on a play at the plate, telling the rookie that he "shouldn't stand on the tracks when the train's coming through". With the game tied, Hayes reaches base on a walk and taunts Parkman by saying he is going to score on the play without sliding. Sure enough, he does this by hurdling Parkman as he comes around and touches home, laughing at Parkman the whole way. Parkman responds, however, by hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning and the White Sox carry a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Although the Indians get a runner to reach base, two outs are recorded and Jake is forced to make a strategic move he did not want to have to make. Following his selling of the team Dorn, as the team's general manager, signed himself to a contract and was put on the active roster. Taylor never actually used Dorn afterward, but realizes that the pitcher on the mound is one that pitched Dorn tight and inside every time he faced him. With that in mind, Taylor calls on Dorn to stand in and "take one for the team". Dorn obliges and is hit by the first pitch, then is pulled off the field to his chagrin immediately afterward for a pinch runner. With two runners on, Cerrano hits a towering home run to give the Indians a 6-5 lead.
With two outs and two runners on in the top of the ninth, Jake decides to take the ball from his starter and call on Vaughn. To everyone's surprise, especially Rachel's, Vaughn comes out of the bullpen with a rediscovered sense of self. Taylor gives Vaughn a scouting report on the batter he is called in to face, but Vaughn does not want to pitch to him. Instead Vaughn wants to pitch to the next batter, and since he will have to give an intentional walk to the man at the plate it will load the bases and bring his old nemesis Parkman up with a chance to break the game open. Jake tries to talk Vaughn out of it but he declares that the batter he wants a shot at is Parkman. Jake obliges Vaughn and he purposely walks the bases loaded.
Vaughn starts out by throwing a fastball that Parkman takes for the first strike. Vaughn blows the fastball by Parkman again and with two strikes on him, an impressed Parkman dares Vaughn to throw it a third time. Vaughn says he will throw the fastball again, and taunts Parkman by saying that if he can somehow hit it, he can give it his own name. As Vaughn gets set Rube decides to taunt Parkman as well, giving him the same "don't stand on the tracks" speech he got earlier. Parkman ignores it and digs in, awaiting the pitch. Vaughn gets Parkman to swing and miss at the fastball, striking him out and sending the Indians to the World Series.
- Rick 'Wild Thing' Vaughn (Charlie Sheen)
- The star pitcher of the Cleveland Indians in the first film has lost his edge and has become more business-like and professional in both appearance and personality. His new girlfriend and agent, Flannery (Alison Doody) aids this transformation. Vaughn has lost his distinct haircut, endorses products such as Right Guard deodorant and General Cereals, and he even names his pitches (his signature fastball as 'The Terminator'), including his new, ineffective breaking balls ('The Eliminator' and 'The Humiliator'). This change affects his game negatively and his old girlfriend (Michelle Burke) helps him regain his former edge and he, eventually, ends up dumping Flannery, telling her he "doesn't get up in time to eat breakfast anyway" and to "take a hike." As before, his signature entrance is set to a hard rock cover of The Troggs' hit song "Wild Thing", performed by the Los Angeles-area punk band X.
- Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger)
- The aging catcher in the first film returns in the same spot he was in during the previous one, trying to make the team one last time. He indeed makes the team, but when questioning manager Lou Brown about his intentions to carry three catchers, finds out he made the Indian's coaching staff. He becomes the leader of the club when the manager, Lou Brown, falls ill and is stationed in the hospital.
- Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen)
- The third baseman in the first film is now the new owner of the Cleveland Indians, having recently purchased the team from Rachel Phelps. He is unsuccessful as the owner trading away great talent and posting billboards in the outfield to save money and make the payroll. He ends up selling the team back to Phelps after he no longer can afford to run the team. So, he becomes the General Manager. He then becomes the last man on the roster, activating himself. When he asks new manager, Jake Taylor when he's getting a start, Taylor sarcastically replies, "There's an Old-Timer's Game coming up soon.".
- Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert)
- The voodoo practicing slugger found peace within himself and the world thanks to his conversion to Buddhism and refuses to get angry at others for whatever mistakes they may make. When Isuro Tanaka is introduced to the team he helps spark Cerrano by constantly taunting him. He later finds a happy medium, wherein he introduces his Buddha and Jobu icons to each other, finishing with "Now I don't want trouble out of you two!".
- Lou Brown (James Gammon)
- Lou returns as the manager of the team, the same nonchalant person who gives in to no player on the team. He experiences a heart attack when yelling at players in the locker room and Jake Taylor takes over the managing duties while he is in the hospital.
- Willie 'Mays' Hayes (Omar Epps)
- Epps reprises the role that Snipes played in the first film. In the first film, Hayes was somewhat narcissistic and has only become worse. He has begun an acting career, he hits for power instead of speed, and has an entourage. He gets a leg injury during the season which keeps him on the bench. People begin to question the injury and a fight ensues between members of the team. It is after this that Hayes returns to old form. (Hayes' desire to be an action movie star may in fact be a reference to Wesley Snipes' inability to return for the sequel. After the original movie, Snipes went on to star in action movies like Passenger 57, Rising Sun, and Demolition Man.) In one scene of this movie, character Willie 'Mays' Hayes recreates Willie Mays' famous catch in the 1954 World Series.
- Harry Doyle (Bob Uecker)
- Doyle returns as quick-witted Indians radio announcer who enjoys drinking Jack Daniel's whiskey while calling the games, often getting drunk during losing streaks. He constantly makes fun of the team and its actions with sarcasm, one-liners and occasional on-air swearing.
- Jack Parkman (David Keith)
- Parkman is a superstar catcher that the Indians acquired through free agency from the Oakland Athletics. He is very cocky and brash and not afraid of smoking cigarettes in the dugout during games. He believes he is the best player on the team and that everyone else are losers by choice or birth and is not afraid to reveal this to the media or other members of the team. He is traded to the Chicago White Sox during the season and ends up facing his old team in the ALCS.
- Isuro Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibashi)
- Tanaka is acquired in part of the deal that sent Parkman to Chicago. He speaks very little English and uses a dictionary to look up certain translations. He's full of energy and provides a spark for the Indians eventually, most notably Pedro Cerrano.
His name, Isuro, was unnatural as a Japanese name. Therefore, his name became Taka Tanaka in the Japanese dubbed version after Takaaki Ishibashi's nickname. Taka appeared in the sequel. (see: Major League: Back to the Minors)
- Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton)
- Phelps returns as the owner of the team. It is revealed during the beginning of the film she sold the team to Roger Dorn but she buys it back once the Indians begin to struggle. She is very interested in her original plan of relocating the team to Florida, so she indeed wants them to fail.
- Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter)
- Baker is a new rookie catcher on the Indians. Baker is sensitive, and, at times, clueless. He is from small town America and is not accustomed to the major league baseball life. Jake Taylor is in charge of guiding his career. Baker is made the starter when Parkman is traded away to the White Sox. His problem involves not being able to throw the ball back to the mound properly (this was based in part on the real-life problems that plagued former New York Mets catcher Mackey Sasser). This problem was solved with the aid of Playboy and a Frederick's of Hollywood catalog.
- Rebecca Flannery (Alison Doody)
- Vaughn's new girlfriend. She is high-class and determined to make the "Wild Thing" respectable, much to the disappointment of his fans. It also has the unfortunate side-effect of ruining his pitching abilities.
- Nikki Reese (Michelle Burke)
- Reese is an old girlfriend of Vaughn. She is in charge of a program for under-privileged children. She eventually helps Vaughn get his edge back and abandon his new look.
- Rene Russo makes a cameo for one scene (lasting less than 2 minutes) as Lynn, Jake's love interest from the first film. They are wearing rings implying that they have married in the time since the original.
- Jay Leno also makes a cameo when Vaughn is a guest on The Tonight Show.
- Randy Quaid plays an extremely loyal fan in the outfield stands.
- Richard Schiff has a cameo as a director for a Right Guard commercial starring Vaughn.
- Jesse Ventura plays himself in a cameo as a movie-star opposite Hayes in the action film "Black Hammer, White Lightning".
The movie debuted at No. 1, knocking out D2: The Mighty Ducks, another sports comedy featuring Major League star Charlie Sheen's brother, Emilio Estevez. In the United States, the movie made a total of $30,626,182 in the box office.
When released in theaters, the film was preceded by the Animaniacs short, I'm Mad.
David S. Ward has announced that he is working on new film, which he calls Major League 3, and hopes to cast the original stars Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes and Tom Berenger. The plot would see Sheen's character Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughn coming out of retirement to work with a young player. The film is being seen as the third film in the series, despite the fact that a third film, Major League: Back to the Minors, was released in 1998.
On April 6, 2011 in Cleveland Ohio, Charlie Sheen during his "violent torpedoes of truth" tour announced to the audience that he's in the process of doing a Major League 3, and said "We are gonna shoot it right here in Cleveland!". He opened the show wearing a "Rick Vaughn" #99 Cleveland Indians jersey.
- "Weekend Box Office : A Good Turnout for 'Four Weddings'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "Major League II (1994)- Movie Info- Yahoo! Movies".
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Major League's' High Spirits". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Published Wednesday, Jun 23 2010, 14:41 BST (2010-06-23). "Sheen returning for third 'Major League'? - Movies News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
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