Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1976. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Bill Lancaster. Cinematography by John A. Alonzo. Produced by Stanley R. Jaffe. Music by Jerry Fielding. Production Design by Polly Platt. Costume Design by Tom Dawson, Nancy Martinelli. Film Editing by Richard A. Harris.
The hilarious family comedy that provided the blueprint for many that would follow (including its own uninspired sequels). Ex-minor leaguer Walter Matthau can get no better a job than coaching a delinquent team of attitude-ridden, talent-deficient misfits, and his own personal drinking habit is no help at all. When he gets inspired by the team’s tomboy (Tatum O’Neal, then the highest paid child star in Hollywood) to lead the group to victory, he starts pushing hard to train the kids into home-run hitters, while his terrific star player becomes girlier by the second as puberty starts to turn her into a woman. Hilarious, especially great for the kids to watch, and it hasn’t aged badly at all.