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.
Because the film was made between the Indians last season at Cleveland Stadium and before the opening of Progressive Field, (originally Jacobs Field) Oriole Park at Camden Yards was used. The producers felt that the Orioles' new stadium could stand in as a close likeness for the Indians' new home.
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) is now a bland yuppie concerned about his endorsement potential, 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) underwent a spiritual conversion, from aggressive voodoo to placid Buddhism, which affects his competitive spirit. Conceited player Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) retired and bought the team from Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton). Aging catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) has also retired to become one of the coaches who work for manager Lou Brown (James Gammon). And Willie Mays Hayes (Omar Epps) is still as fast as ever, but he has added some power to his hitting and a sprained knee from performing stunts in his new movie. However, Dorn signs arrogant power hitting catcher Jack Parkman (David Keith) as an offseason free agent, and minor league catcher Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) makes the team out of spring training, despite having a problem returning the ball to the pitcher.
The Indians get off to another slow start, as egos clash. The signing of Jack Parkman has put Dorn in a financially tough spot, as well as putting a strain on the clubhouse, so Dorn trades Parkman to the Chicago White Sox, the team that defeated the Indians in the playoffs last season, keeping them from the World Series. In return, the Indians receive Isuro "Kamikaze" Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibashi), a gifted left fielder with a penchant for crashing into the walls.
Dorn, still short on money, sells the team back to Rachel, but is retained as General Manager. He then announces his comeback to the majors and returns to the team, but cannot regain his former form. Rachel sees this as an opportunity to get revenge on the Indians for what happened last season, so she tries to find ways to make them have a losing season this time.
Things only get worse as Jake is forced to take over as manager when Lou suffers a heart attack in the clubhouse. Things come to a boiling point during the first game of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. Rube is injured when he foul tips a ball off his ankle, but Hayes refuses to run for him. This leads to a fight between Vaughn and Hayes, a brawl that eventually gets the entire team ejected from the game when they all beat each other up.
After the game, an angry Baker chastises his teammates for not having any passion and decides to play with his injured ankle in the second game. Inspired by Rube's speech, Hayes reacquires his desire and in the bottom of the ninth pinch runs for the injured Baker and promptly steals three bases, including home, to tie the game. Cerrano, who had been chastised by Tanawa for not having any "marbles", inserts himself in as a pinch hitter and hits a walk-off home run to win the game.
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. This earns the team a rematch with the White Sox in the ALCS, and they win the first three games of the series.
Prior to Game 4, Rachel Phelps gives the team a phony pep talk designed to throw them off their game. It works, as Vaughn gives up a three-run game-winning home run to Parkman in the ninth. The Indians go on to lose the next two games, forcing a Game 7. Meanwhile, Taylor confronts Vaughn at his home the night before the game and calls him out for losing his edge. Before he leaves, Jake warns Vaughn that he had better find it again.
Game 7 starts out with the Indians falling behind 2-1. The second run is scored when Parkman bowls over Baker at the plate and taunts him by saying he "shouldn't stand on the tracks when the train is coming through". The Indians get 2 runs back—the second run scoring when Hayes hurdles Parkman on a play at the plate. Parkman hits a 3-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, drawing boos from the fans, to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
With Taylor running out of time in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and needing runners, he decides to call on Dorn whom he has refused to put in the lineup. Telling him to "take one for the team", Jake sends Dorn up to bat and he promptly reaches base when the pitcher hits him. Cerrano then follows with a towering 3-run home run to give the Indians a 6-5 lead.
With two outs and two runners on in the top of the ninth, Taylor calls on Vaughn to get out of the jam. To the surprise of everyone (and the chagrin of Rachel) Vaughn has rediscovered his edge and his brashness. He shows this by refusing to face the batter Jake brought him in to pitch to. Instead, Vaughn wants to pitch to the on-deck batter, his old nemesis Parkman, and intentionally walks the bases loaded. After blowing two fastballs by him, Vaughn taunts Parkman by saying he will throw the fastball again and dares him to hit it. Parkman swings and misses at the pitch, closing the game 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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