Monday, September 24, 2012

The Great Debate – Major League vs. Bull Durham

Welcome to the Great Debate, a new feature that asks you to argue for or against one of two opposing film-related elements.  You will make your case for why you think one element is better than the other.  Let the debate begin!

The best rookie pitcher
 Charlie Sheen – Major League

When Charlie Sheen played Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in Major League, he gave a pretty memorable performance.  In the vintage baseball film, Vaughn has a stand-out, iconic moment where he strides out of the bullpen at the top of the ninth inning to face Clu Haywood of the New York Yankees, a heavy-hitting batter who took Vaughn deep during his last at bat against him.  His theme song, “Wild Thing,” is blasted over the stadium’s speakers and the fans sing along at the tops of their lungs while dancing and waving signs for Vaughn.  It’s an exciting moment in the film and it gives Vaughn a shot at vindication.

Tim Robbins – Bull Durham

"Nuke" LaLoosh, a hot young pitcher who has a great fastball but no control and no maturity, is schooled by Annie Savoy who believes in “The Church of Baseball.”  She’s a baseball groupie who picks one guy every season to shack up with and the lucky guy is Nuke LaLoosh.   He’s talented, yet extremely dim, but Annie sees his potential and schools him in the art of good pitching.  Nuke follows Annie’s every suggestion, which includes having Nuke wear lady’s lingerie underneath his uniform while pitching.  The purpose, Annie explains, is so that he can “keep one side of my brain occupied when I’m on the mound, thus keeping the other side slightly off-center, which is where it should be for artists and players.”

My argument is for Major League.  This was another tough match-up for me, but I ultimately gave the edge to Major League thanks to the unforgettable and iconic scene in the film where Rick Vaughn is called in to pitch in the 9th inning of the one-game Division play-off.  He strides out of the bullpen wearing his signature black-framed glasses while “Wild Thing” blasts over the speakers.  He looks positively shell-shocked and shaken at the thought of meeting his nemesis awaiting him at the plate.  Though I think Bull Durham is one of the best baseball movies out there, with a cast that hits it out of the park, I think much of Robbins’ performance works because of his interaction with Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy.  In Major League, Charlie Sheen is a stand-out in the ensemble cast and his wild pitching and crazy popularity make his character one unforgettable rookie in a classic baseball film. 


  1. Better Pitcher... Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. That fastball and the ability to wear black horn-rimmed glasses just makes him cool.

    Plus, that speech he gave to Lou Brown after learning he was cut was amazing. The only problem was that he didn't get cut. It's my favorite performance from Charlie Sheen.

    1. I'd definitely rank it up there as one of Charlie Sheen's best performances too.

  2. As for better pitcher I'd have to go with "Wild Thing", but as far as movies go, I think Bull Durham is far superior.

    1. I can't argue with that!


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