Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Video: 1.85:1 Enhanced for Widescreen 16:9
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0, French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish and English Closed Captions
Extras: Director and Screenwriter audio commentary; four featurettes; six deleted scenes with commentary; video baseball cards of the cast; theatrical trailer; previews
Length: 113 minutes
A remake of the 1976 baseball film classic, The Bad News Bears of 2005 finds Billy Bob Thorton inheriting the role of Morris Buttermaker (as was previously portrayed by the brilliant Walter Matthau). Buttermaker is a down-on-his-luck, former pro baseball player who is working as an exterminator to pay the bills. After getting an opportunity to make some extra cash by coaching a little league baseball team, he does little other than drink and insult his kids during practices. However, after he develops a rivalry with a championship-winning coach, Buttermaker recruits a couple of ringers for the team and things begin to take a turn for the better. Being an ardent fan of the original film, I think this new version is well done although it definitely lacks the comedic punch of the former (maybe it is merely a sign of the times, but it just isn’t as shocking as it was thirty years ago to see kids cursing and behaving badly). Nevertheless, I recommend this DVD for those who have never seen the original film (or for those who have not seen it in a while).
The overall video quality of this DVD is very good. Images are clean with fine detail. Colors are bright and vivid with nicely saturated hues. Picture defect mastering is perfect with no major flaws or compression artifacts. The overall audio quality is very good. As is the case with most comedy soundtracks, the mix favors the forward soundstage. Dialogue is intelligible and firmly positioned in the center channel. The surround channels are selectively utilized for both the sound effects and the music score. The low frequency effects channel is crisp and tight.
Reference equipment used for this review: [Video projector- Studio Experience Cinema 17SF; Projection screen- Vutec 103” SilverStar; DVD Player- Oppo Digital OPDV 971H; Video Scaler- DVDO iScan HD+; A/V Receiver- Sherwood Newcastle R-963T; Speakers- Acoustech 5.1 channel speaker system; Tactile Transducer- Clark Synthesis Gold; Cables and Wires- Bettercables]