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The Bad News Bears

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Bad News Bears

Image credit: The Bad News Bears, 1976

I have absolutely no idea what’s happening in the world of professional sports right now, but I’m guessing things are not normal. If you’re missing your peanuts and CrackerJack, and starting to wonder if you’ll ever get back, then allow Cinema Sips to tide you over with a classic baseball flick, The Bad News Bears (Disc/Download). Featuring an alcoholic coach, a feminist pitcher, and a ton of salty language, this 1976 ode to Little League and Southern California will have you experiencing all the flavors of summer.

In this perfect time capsule of a movie, Walter Matthau plays Buttermaker, a retired Minor League pitcher and current pool cleaner of the San Fernando Valley. He accepts a gig coaching a team of all the kids who weren’t good enough to play on the existing Little League teams, thinking it’ll be an easy day in the dugout with a cooler full of beer. As the misfits and all their schoolyard problems start to get under his skin, he realizes he has an opportunity to give these kids a badly needed confidence boost. He recruits the talented Amanda (Tatum O’Neal) for her golden arm, motorcycle-riding delinquent Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) for his stellar batting average, and brainy Ogilvie (Alfred Lutter) to help him Moneyball the heck out of this league. Buttermaker’s strategy works, and eventually the Bears start winning games. The script is genius, but it’s the realistic performances that make me come back to this film year after year. I feel like I get to journey back to an era where people went inside a Pizza Hut to have dinner without irony, and a towheaded kid named Lupus could mix you the perfect martini.

Speaking of alcohol, it’s kind of amazing that Coach Buttermaker could hand out brewskies to a group of eleven-year-olds after the game and it wasn’t all over social media the next morning. I’m sure he still got to keep his job, and I bet those kids didn’t even care that they lost. While watching The Bad News Bears, join in the fun with this Honey-Bear Shandy.

Honey-Bear Shandy

1 oz Vodka

1 oz Orange Juice

½ oz Lemon Juice

½ oz Honey Syrup (2 parts Honey to 1 part Water, boiled and cooled)

5 oz Hefeweizen Beer

Orange Slice for garnish

Combine vodka, honey syrup, orange juice, and lemon juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Add beer, stirring to combine. Garnish with an orange slice.

Honeybear Shandy

If you’ve ever known what it is to get picked last in gym class, if you’ve ever been underestimated because you’re a girl, or if you’ve ever felt like you’ll never live up to the expectations someone has for you, then you’ll probably relate to this film. I always say, I love baseball movies not because of the sport, but because of the sportsmanship. This year may be full of bad news, but we’ll always have the Bears. Cheers!

A League of Their Own

A_League_of_Their_Own180411144504A-League-of-Their-Own

The end of summer always makes me think of baseball season, and how the World Series is probably upon us. Not being much of a sports fan myself, I have no idea what month it actually takes place in, but fall sounds about right.

Although I have zero interest in sports, I do have a strange fascination with sports movies. Particularly baseball, though I have been known to get pretty weepy watching football movies like Rudy, and don’t even get me started on Friday Night Lights. Growing up, I loved watching baseball movies like Major League, The Sandlot, and Bad News Bears. Something about the close-up of the catcher’s hand-signals and the corresponding nod of the pitcher, or the crack of the bat as it met its ball in the bottom of the 9th- riveting! Thus it’s always a letdown to see actual baseball being played. No quick cuts to the stands to see the third baseman’s estranged father rooting for him, no tough but fair coach giving an inspiring pep-talk midway through the game, and if the pitcher and catcher are currently fighting over the same girl, I can’t tell.

In my opinion, the greatest baseball movie of all time has to be A League of Their Own .  This film tells the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, formed during the second World War.   A League of Their Own has all the elements for an amazing cinematic experience- historical drama (the background of World War II), humor (the locker room peeing scene- a classic), swing dancing, cute uniforms, drunken bar singing (Marla Hooch, anyone?) and let’s not forget- Tom Hanks. I could go on and on, but frankly, if you’ve seen the movie, then you understand. And if you haven’t seen it, go out right now and buy it.  Trust me.

When I watch a favorite movie like this one, it’s undoubtedly improved by the serving of a sweet, girly summertime cocktail. I swear, Rosie O’Donnell gets funnier the more of these you have. When viewing A League of Their Own, nothing beats The Rockford Peach Fizz.

rockford-peach-fizz

Rockford Peach Fizz

1 part peach schnapps

1 part orange juice

1 part sparkling peach soda (I use Izze brand, but use whatever you can find. Peach flavored sparkling water is also a good option, with less sugar.)

Combine Peach Schnapps and Orange Juice in a champagne flute. Top with Peach soda. Garnish with mint or fresh peach slices

A variation on the Fuzzy Navel, this drink takes its name from the main team portrayed in the movie, The Rockford Peaches. The Racine Belles just can’t hold a candle to this amazing group of women. So let’s raise a glass to Queen of Diamonds Dottie Hinson, All the Way Mae, Bettie Spaghetti, Marla Hooch (what a hitter!) and all of their amazing teammates who make this film one of the finest examples of summertime sports movies out there. Cheers!