Even Though I'd Never Seen Major League, I Found Major League II Surprisingly Easy To Follow

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Vol 36 Issue 19

Overweight Man To Lose Weight If He Gets Really Overweight

CARROLTON, OH–Area resident David Schuitt, who at 250 pounds is approximately 70 pounds overweight, announced Monday that he will go on a diet if he gains much more weight. "I'm definitely fat, no doubt about it," Schuitt said. "But I'm not quite at that point where I'm so obese, I look disgusting." Schuitt has also vowed to take out a bill-consolidation loan if his debts hit $15,000.

Awestruck Video-Game Fan Describes Brush With PlayStation 2

UPPER DARBY, PA–Trembling in an ecstatic, quasi-religious state of rapture, video-game enthusiast Josh Eigert, 23, spent nearly 40 minutes Monday describing his encounter with Sony's forthcoming PlayStation 2 game console. "I was over at the Video Game X-change yesterday, and Bob, the owner-guy, had one behind the counter that he picked up in Japan," Eigert told friend Rich Busse. "I begged him, and he hooked it up and let me play Tekken Tag for a few minutes. It was fucking unbelievable, like a movie." Eigert told Busse that the store owner also claimed to have a copy of Onimusha: The Demon Warrior but "refused to show it under any circumstances."

Nothing Going Right For Area Surgeon Today

NEW YORK–Dr. Sidney Kramer, chief of cardiac surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, is having "one of those days," he confided to a colleague Monday. "I don't know if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or what, but I've been Mr. Butterfingers today," Kramer, 51, told anesthesiologist Allan Chang following "the heart transplant from hell." "Somebody shoulda locked up those scalpels and hid the key from me. Yikes. Oh, well, guess there's always tomorrow."

TV Executive Claims To Be Looking For Edgy

HOLLYWOOD, CA–Michael Wilhoyte, NBC's vice-president of programming, made the specious claim Monday that he is seeking "edgy, push-the-envelope new sitcoms" for the network. "What we want are things that will shake up viewers and really defy their expectations," Wilhoyte told Daily Variety TV reporter Naomi Berger. "We want shows that have a jarring, not-in-Kansas-anymore effect on the audience. Not your grandmother's sitcom, if you will." Three hours later, Wilhoyte approved a seven-figure development deal for a sitcom pitched as "Friends, but in Los Angeles."

Atheist Swayed By Claymation Story Of Christ

GRAND ISLAND, NE–Atheist Marcia Prewitt was converted to a life of devotion to the Lord following Sunday's viewing of the claymation movie The Miracle Maker. "I'd heard a lot of preaching and teaching about Christ throughout my life," Prewitt said, "but it took a clay-animated, Ralph Fiennes-voiced portrayal of Jesus to make me realize just how good and how wonderful He really is. I just wish everyone with confusion and strife in their heart could discover the healing truths of this cartoon."

Britney's Back

Millions of teenagers converged on the nation's record stores May 16 for the release of Oops!... I Did It Again, pop superstar Britney Spear's second album. What are the reasons for the fan frenzy?

Rudy Drops Out

Last Friday, Rudolph Giuliani shook up the New York Senate race when he announced that he would not run against Hillary Clinton due to his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. What do you think about the decision?

A Drama In Three Acts

To my universally celebrated works of drama, The Happy Bed-Chamber and The News-Paper Man And The Elves, I would like to add my third and most ambitious effort to date, The Syphilis-Crazed Young Norwegian Man.

Canadian Girlfriend Unsubstantiated

BEMIDJI, MN–Despite his insistence, Timothy Woronoff has been unable to substantiate his longstanding claim that he has a girlfriend in Canada, sources close to the 16-year-old Bemidji High School junior reported Monday.
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Even Though I'd Never Seen Major League, I Found Major League II Surprisingly Easy To Follow

Whew, what a relief. I hate when I can't follow a film, and I was afraid it'd happen again Friday night. But, to my delight, I was able to fully understand and enjoy Major League II, despite the fact that I'd never seen the original.

After a long, hard week of work at Apex Driving School, I decided to kick back on the couch and treat myself to a night of television-watching. After ordering a pizza, I started flipping through my TV Guide, hoping to find something good. But as hard as I looked, nothing really seemed up my alley: There were the Daytime Emmy Awards on ABC, some boring old musical on TNT, and four straight Saturday Night Live reruns on Comedy Central.

There was, admittedly, Major League II on Cinemax. But despite my love of baseball, I fretted that I'd likely be lost in the plot, not having seen the 1989 original.

Sure, I could've bravely forayed into the 1994 Sheen-Berenger vehicle, but what if every other line of dialogue referred obliquely to something from the original film, making it impossible for me to follow the plot? I certainly didn't want to relive my Mannequin 2 debacle of 1991. On the other hand, I needed something to watch, and I needed to make a fast decision before my pizza got cold. Besides, maybe I'd get lucky, and Major League II would open with a montage of clips from the original, a device many of the better sequels employ to help viewers "get in the spirit" of the original film.

After a few moments of deliberation, I resolved–not without some trepidation, mind you–to commit to the 8:10 p.m. showing of Major League II on Cinemax.

I needn't have worried! The film opened with a concise rundown of the major characters from Episode I, cunningly presented as "Indians talk" on a Bob Uecker-hosted sports-radio show! Uecker was not playing himself, though: He was Harry Doyle, a character who, from what I could gather, figured heavily in the first installment, as well.

At any rate, the opening recap, helpful as it was, was almost unnecessary: The movie's characters were so real, so richly textured, I instantly felt like I knew them. It was clear what was going on right from the get-go. In the previous season, the Cleveland Indians had rallied from being a rag-tag bunch of losers to winning the pennant. Episode II picks up at the start of the following season, with old pals reunited and ready for more good times. But an ominous question looms over their heads: Has success changed them?

I am sad to say that the answer was a resounding yes. No one illustrated this complacent, fat-cat mentality better than Charlie Sheen's Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, who arrives for the first day of spring training in a limousine. Now, since I'd never seen this character before, you're probably thinking, "But, Don, how do you know it's a change? He might have ridden in a limousine throughout the first movie!"

In this scene, the screenwriters clearly took pains to anticipate any potential confusion on the part of those who didn't see the first film. Wild Thing's fans are all waiting for him to show up to spring training, and when a guy rolls up on a bad-ass motorcycle, they justifiably assume it's him. But, as it turns out, it's someone else, and the fans are all surprised. This surprised reaction is not merely funny; it gives the uninitiated a solid idea of what they're supposed to expect from Wild Thing. So when Wild Thing steps out of the limo in a suit and yuppie haircut, and the fans are disappointed and confused, we instantly recognize that a profound change has occurred in this character's life, whether or not we saw the first movie!

Needless to say, I am now hooked on the Major League franchise. In fact, when I was at Suncoast Motion Picture Company the next day, I made a point of picking up a copy of the prequel. Even better, they had a marked-down copy of the third installment, 1998's Major League–Episode III: Back To The Minors. I watched it that night and loved it, even though Wild Thing and a lot of the other central characters from the first two movies weren't even in it.

My best advice to the uninitiated would be to see the Major League movies in order. But if you can't, don't worry: Each movie truly does stand on its own.

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