Child abuse, racism, underage drinking, public intoxication, drunk driving, bullying…this must be the worst movie ever. No, it’s simply one of the most beloved family flicks of all time, The Bad News Bears. With little league baseball getting underway in earnest across the country this month I found it apropos to kick back with a viewing of the 1976 classic starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal.
Okay, I’ll admit it- I have another agenda at play here. Am I the only guy left in the world that isn’t offended by everything? Over the years it seems this country has been invaded by self righteous pussies that manage to find offense in just about everything. We can’t say THIS or we can’t say THAT because it might offend someone. Traditions are being bombarded by the PC mafia who somehow decided what should and should not be acceptable. Fuck. You.
Every time I think about the days before our society became so uptight about everything, a viewing of a good 70′s flick helps calm my nerves. Today’s pretentious, euro-Nazi hipster douche bags would probably need emergency medical attention if forced to sit down and watch flicks made in the days before political correctness. And while I certainly don’t condone any, well some, of the less than virtuous moments in The Bad News Bears, it’s sort of fun to revisit a time when people were just normal douche bags that weren’t trying to sanitize every aspect of our lives.
So here are a few great moments from The Bad News Bears that you could never get away with today.
5. Bottoms Up
Well, you can still do this, but it will likely land you in the can at a minimum. I’m not referring to sanctioned events with rules- such as tailgating. I’m talking about being able to crack open a can of suds and sit back to enjoy the scenery on the beach. Back in the day, after a hard day of construction work, a guy could walk out of a 7-11, crack a Bud tall-boy and drive off in his El Camino listening to some AC/DC and the cop parked 2 spaces away would have waved to him. Now I’m not saying a guy should mow down a sixer in the parking lot and then head home, but let’s lighten up a bit people. Sitting in the bleachers at a little league game with a couple of cans of frosty goodness is not harming the fabric of our society. I’m not sure if one scene in the film goes by where Buttermaker isn’t cradling a can of something. Shit, at the end of the flick he shares his bounty with the kids. What’s awesome about this is that none of the 40 or so adults in the final scene gives a shit that the kids are throwing back a cool one. One of my fondest memories as a kid were the times when the old man would pour me a small cup of his liquid heaven for me to share while we listened to baseball on the radio on the front porch of our house. Today some indignant neighbor would likely call child services on you and have the kid taken away for his own good.
4. Coach Turner Gets A Hit
I’m of the opinion that a lot of kids today need a good smack upside the head. There are too many disrespectful little punks in our society these days. Look at the little twat in the youth soccer game last week that punched a referee who subsequently died from the injury. You think that kid reconsiders that approach if he had been taught a little respect when he was younger? Kids today have carte blanche to be little punks because we’ve effectively taken discipline away from parents. Nothing says I’ve learned my lesson like being forced to sit in a time out for ten minutes. There just aren’t any consequences for mis-behavior these days. In the film, Coach Turner gets shunned upon because he smacked his kid on the pitcher’s mound during a game. Coach Turner is a douche, no doubt, but his little punk kid is a bigger douche. The little turd is one of the biggest bullies around. The only mistake Coach Turner made here was not waiting until he got home to unleash his ire on the little punk. Coach Turner gets a bad rap in this scene. All anyone wants to see is that he hit his kid. Since the entire movie establishes the fact that Coach Turner is an overzealous cock that takes this kids game way to seriously, it’s easy to dismiss this event as just an asshole beating on a defenseless little kid. What you forget is that he went out there because his kid was trying to hit Englebert with the ball. His kid was trying to HURT Englebert because his kid is a fucking douche bag. I’m glad someone dropped this kid off his high horse and I hope Coach Turner finished the job after he got home. And while he’s at it, I hope he took a poke at his slut wife who thought parading around the park in her stripper half shirts was appropriate. Skank.
3. Smoke ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em
This isn’t really anything new, and I’m glad there have been laws passed that protect us non smokers from having to inhale the nasty shit in public places, but this is where we need to stop. It’s none of my business if some dude wants to consume a carton of Chesterfields for dinner each night. There are some self righteous Nazis trying to ban people from smoking inside their own homes. Yeah, I know, the focus is on homes with kids. Look, if you are so much of a douche bag that you can’t take your nasty habit outside to spare the kids having to breath the shit, then I can’t imagine passing legislation to ban it is going to change anything. There aren’t enough cops out there to enforce real laws. Do you really think enforcing this one is going to be high on the priority list? How would that work? At the morning briefing Sarge is gonna put up a mug shot of some kid’s Mom and give an impassioned plea to bring this woman to justice. She continues to kill a pack of Salems a day in the presence of her kids without regard. Careful, as she’s armed with a Zippo and she’s not afraid to use it. Why do we care? It’s not our place to protect people from things they don’t need protection from, and last I checked, tobacco is legal. Kelly Leak inhales 3 cartons of Marlboros by the mid point of the film. Nobody seems very worked up about it. Of course the kid is hitting .824 and shags fly balls like a kid possessed, so they probably cut him some slack. I guess if Rudy Stein fired one up there’d be some sort of intervention.
2. He Said What?
Everybody is racist. Let me say that again….EVERYBODY. IS. RACIST. Now relax, I’m not implying that we’re all card carrying clansmen planning our next lynching or mosque bombing. I’m implying that as our society continues to move toward a more non offensive mentality that we are in actuality enabling racism to continue. You once heard a Richard Pryor joke where he used multiple “N” bombs and you laughed your ass off. Racist! There are plenty of true racists in our world and we should be doing everything in our power to shut them down. But spending energy trying to force the Washington Redskins to change their nickname borders on stupidity. The only people I never hear complaining about the name Redskins, are the Redskins…oops, Native Americans. They don’t care. They have their tax exempt lands and casinos and just want to go about their business. It’s a bunch of hippie asshats that have decided they are offended by the term so everyone else MUST be offended as well. These are the same losers who like to bring up that the whities took their land and killed thousands of their people 400 years ago and we should somehow feel shame and remorse today because of that. Sorry, wasn’t there. Had nothing to do with it. I don’t condone that approach with any future land acquisitions we ever engage in, so I feel like I’ll sleep guilt free tonight. Oh, and slavery wasn’t my fault either, so settle down with that bullshit too. In the flick, Tanner Boyle, the hot headed shortstop, unleashes a line of racist terms that would set race relations back 40 years if uttered on the ball field today. It’s interesting to me how no one seems offended by it in the film, especially those people who should have every right to be so. Tanner leaves pretty much no race unscathed (except Muslims as we weren’t really concerned with them at the time) and no one even bothers to correct him. Maybe because no one ultimately cared? At this stage of evolution do we really need to legislate name calling? Proper people aren’t going to tolerate hate speech and I think that constitutes most of us. I really don’t think singing along to Hail to the Redskins brandishes you a hate monger. But could you imagine a little kid rolling off that sort of tirade in a flick today? Spike Lee would refuse to ever see that kid’s movie again.
1. Bully For You
The Bad News Bears is a clinic on bullying. Back in the day kids policed their own issues. Being a kid in the 70′s was like being in a prison yard. The bully, usually the biggest kid, ruled the school yard, took your lunch money and so on. Every once in a while someone would challenge the bully and either assume the mantle or end up in a pile of broken teeth and blood. THAT was a true bully. Those are the types of kids that need to be squashed like bugs from our schools today. Telling a kid he sucks at baseball, as Tanner does to Lupis in the film, is NOT bullying. Is it harsh? Maybe. But it isn’t bullying. The terminology has expanded so widely that a kid can’t even pick another kid first in gym class without being accused of bullying all of the other kids he didn’t pick. It’s out of control. The “mental anguish” we are apparently exposing these kids to is turning us into a bunch of pussies who can’t handle the harsh realities of life. The “everyone is a winner” crowd is doing a lot more harm than good. Guess what? Everyone is NOT a winner, and if you don’t teach that early on, these kids are headed for a rude awakening later in life. Lupis did suck at baseball. Tanner was right. What happened? It made Lupis want to be better, and when he caught that ball in the championship game, Tanner was the first one out to congratulate him. Everyone got bullied in The Bad News Bears. Verbally, mentally, physically…it was endless. Instead of sitting around and taking it, these kids endured and got better. They commanded respect and earned it. You can look at the Karate Kid in the same light. Rather than run and hide, Daniel LaRussa simply decided he would get better than the bullies and ultimately he won their respect. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m in no way endorsing bullying. I’m simply implying that the more we continue to nanny kids the more we are distancing them from the realities of life. There are douche bags in the world. Better to be prepared for them.
I’m pretty sure this article will meet with more than a few angry reactions. The only intent was to show how different we all looked at society 30-40 years ago. What we think of as a classic American family film is loaded with content we wouldn’t even think of putting a PG tag on today. I’m not implying we should return to any of these ways, just that times were a lot simpler back then when no one got offended as easily as they do today. But I’m sure someone is offended by all of this. It’s a bed we’ve made. Now give me your damn lunch money.