by Casey Dewey
If you're a fan of wacky '80s romps, "can do" sportsmanship, and movies (partially) filmed smack dab in the middle of the Old Pueblo, you should check out Major League tonight at The Loft.
It's all part of a celebration for Tucson's birthday month. In addition to the movie, there will be a Tucson-themed birthday cake, and several food tucks will be in attendance. There's also a free prize raffle for a "fabulous Tucson Gift Package which includes dvds of films made in Arizona, Tucson-centric books and gift certificates from local retailers!"
The 1989 comedy about a struggling, fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians filmed their spring training segments over at Hi Corbett Field, back when the Tucson Toros reigned supreme and the actual Cleveland Indians did their actual spring training there. According to the Hi Corbett Field Wikipedia page, the film production used several University of Arizona baseball team players as extras. I can remember when the casting call for extras came out, asking for the city of Tucson to come on down and fill the bleachers while Sheen, Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes and the rest of the cast goofed around on the diamond. I repeatedly begged my mom to take us there, but apparently she had better things to do than sit around Hi Corbett Field for nine hours.
Major League is a light, hilarious movie that still manages to hold up. The plot is standard Bad News Bears fare; a struggling band of wash-outs and rookies prove their naysaying owner wrong and rise to the occasion by the end of the credits. The grizzled Berenger plays veteran catcher Jake Taylor, a womanizer with bad knees who was last seen catching stray balls in a dusty town in Mexico. Sheen is Ricky Vaughn, a pseudo-punk rocker with bad eyesight, a mean throw and a prison rap sheet. Watching the movie when I was younger, I always assumed Sheen's scenes were filmed right after he awoke from a coke-binge coma, turns out I was close; Sheen is on the record about juicin' up on steroids during the production.
Snipes, Corbin Bernsen, Rene Russo, Bob Uecker, the tough-as-nails and gravel-voiced James Gammon and current Allstate spokesman Dennis Haysbert round out the cast. The movie has a bevy of great lines; everything out of Willie Mays Hayes (Snipes) mouth is pure gold, and I still say "Fuck you, Jobu" with alarming regularity. You might also recognize a line you and your drunk uncle say when watching any game together; "JUUUUUST a bit outside" was heard here first!
Also, if you just can't get enough of Charlie Sheen filmed in Tucson hotspots, The Loft will be playing the bitchin' 1986 sci-fi revenge film The Wraith as part of their "Mondo Mondays" series on August 19 at 8 p.m. What's the matter Loft, you couldn't go for a Sheen/Tucson trifecta and book Terminal Velocity?
The fun and festivities start at 5 p.m. Tickets are the Loft's regular admission prices. More information can be found at the Loft's website. Batter up!