|The Bad News Bears in |
|Directed by||Michael Pressman|
|Written by||Paul Brickman|
|Cinematography||Fred J. Koenekamp|
|Edited by||John W. Wheeler|
|Music by||Craig Safan|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training is a 1977 American sports comedy-drama film and a sequel to the 1976 feature film The Bad News Bears. Chris Barnes returns to his role as the foul-mouthed Tanner Boyle; also starring is Jimmy Baio as pitcher Carmen Ronzonni.
This film is remembered for the scene in which Astros player Bob Watson first says, "Let the kids play." Coach Leak then leads the Astrodome crowd in the chant "Let them play!" when the umpires attempt to call the game prematurely because of time constraints. The crowd at the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game also used this chant when the announcement came that the game would end in a tie at the end of the inning if neither team scored.
This film picks up the Bears' career a year after their infamous second-place finish in the North Valley League. However, after winning this year, they are left reeling by the departure of Buttermaker as their coach, Amanda as their pitcher and an injury to outcast-turned-hero Timmy Lupus (Quinn Smith). Faced with a chance to play the Houston Toros for a shot at the Japanese champs, they devise a way to get to Houston to play at the famed Astrodome, between games of a Major League Baseball doubleheader. In the process, Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) reunites with his estranged father (William Devane), who is recruited to coach them. The Bears, as a whole, have trouble during practice; Kelly becomes increasingly angry and resentful at his father before ultimately storming off, while pitcher Carmen Ronzonni has trouble finding his own unique style and resorts to imitating famous pitchers instead. The team soon becomes a more cohesive and athletic unit under Coach Leak's guidance. Kelly has a heart to heart with his father at a local restaurant and returns to the team before the game. The game gets called half way through, but Tanner refuses to leave the field. Coach Leak rallies the crowd with a “Let them play!" chant, which eventually persuades the venue to continue the game. The Bears pull off an upset win and Kelly makes peace with his absentee father, telling him if the team didn’t need a coach he still would have looked him up.
The scene where the cops roll by the van driven by Kelly was shot on Balboa Blvd in Granada Hills, California.
When the team arrives in downtown Houston, they book a room at the Concord Hotel. The building is actually the Lancaster Hotel, located off Texas Avenue across from Jones Hall.
The scene where Kelly meets with his father for the first time was filmed at the Texas Pipe Bending Company, a real business located at 2500 Galveston Road. (The Park Memorial Church can be seen across the street.)
Later in the movie, the Bears stay at the Houston Hilton; the actual hotel is located at 6633 Travis Street in Houston, but the filming location was the Pasadena Hilton in Pasadena, California.
The scene where Coach Leak confronts Sy Orlansky about playing the Bears instead of the team from El Paso was filmed at Bayland Park. The Toros practice scenes were filmed on the Sharpstown Little League fields, with extras including girls from area middle schools.
The main theme song of the film, is by James Rolleston, titled, 'Life Is Looking Good'.
Members of the 1976–1977 Houston Astros make a cameo appearance during the film's climactic scene. They include Bill Virdon, César Cedeño, Enos Cabell, Ken Forsch, Bob Watson, and J.R. Richard.
Unlike its predecessor, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 50% rating based on 8 reviews, with an average score of 6/10.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "a manufactured comedy of a slick order, depending almost entirely for its effects on the sight and sound of a bunch of kids behaving as if they were small adults. It's a formula that worked for Our Gang Comedy for many years, and works again here with a bright screenplay by Paul Brickman, based on Bill Lancaster's original characters, and direction of intelligent lightness by Michael Pressman." Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called it "a pale but adequately summer-commercial sequel to the extremely successful 'Bad News Bears' Paramount hit of last year. Leonard Goldberg's production has a made-for-tv look (it even seems already pre-cut for the tube), a fair Paul Brickman script and passable direction by Michael Pressman." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, finding the climactic game "enjoyable" but that the film otherwise "tries too hard" in its attempts at "heart-tugging emotion." Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it "a poorly plotted, indifferently directed, noisily overacted movie" that nevertheless "will probably do well" on the strength of the original. Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the film "struggles to justify itself as something more than a pale copy [of the original] by resorting to exaggerated displays of ribaldry and lovability." Maureen Orth wrote in Newsweek, "When the boys who play the Bears are on screen, which is often, their natural high spirits and spontaneity do much to enliven the tired script and soft direction. Kids will still find watching them vacation-time fun. But in the end, the 'Bad News Bears' without Matthau, O'Neal and Ritchie is like the Mets without Tom Seaver - deep in the doldrums." John Simon wrote 'The film is overwhelmingly uninteresting' and 'Enough lousy films like this, and we could unite all warring factions. Shucks'.
Soft Skull Press published a 2011 book about The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training as part of their Deep Focus series. It was authored by Josh Wilker.