I really love the movie Major League.
I love it so much that I kind of make a pain out of myself, talking about how much I love it and bringing it up at every opportunity. And then I start worrying that I don't actually love the movie that much, that I bring it up to be different or interesting or because I think it's funny.
Then I watch it and I remember how much I love it.
I'm not always entirely sure what I love about it. I'm not going to be claiming any time soon that it's one of the world's best movies, only that it's one of the world's most enjoyable movies to watch.
I think partly it's got to do with the way the movie actually replicates the experience of watching your team do better than you expected it to do. It's got this nice lazy stretched out feeling to it, where a bunch of players make more of an effort than they did before, and Charlie Sheen gets glasses, and then they're winning games that they expected to lose and doing American Express commercials. And it kind of is shown from the perspective of the fan: they spend a lot of time at the beginning showing Cleveland, and they take shots from above the stadium, and they have the guys arguing along the way, and people hugging in bars when the team wins (which once upon a time I would have said was pie in the sky, but I actually have hugged strangers in bars after my team won a playoff game and I'm not ashamed of it) and the way the players act is the way you want to imagine your team being on the inside where you can't watch them, even down to Corbin Bernson, who plays the rich asshole who, it turns out, still loves baseball on the inside.
(Here, I guess, is my big chance to share that I read the Esquire profile on Kobe Bryant, which revealed that a) Vanessa demanded to act as his stylist and b) she asked for more money than they offered for doing so.)
It makes the world feel strangely safe, Major League, which I guess makes more sense of the fact that the writer/director also wrote The Sting, and co-wrote Sleepless in Seattle, because as different as those movies are, I kind of remember them having the same effect.
I really hate when people switch sports teams. And sometimes I argue about this and try to score points of other people for it, because in my book it's just something that you don't do, and I don't have a reasoned position on it other than that only bad people switch sports teams.
But I think one reason I hate it is because it detracts to one extent or another, from the feeling of safety that you get watching your team having a better than expected season. It's precious and safe because you had to root for them anyway. If you could just root for anybody, you'd have to decide if these guys were really loveable losers or just kind of annoying, and if maybe those scrappy Red Sox were a better bet. Moveable fandom means that you just have another variety of mature adult relationship with your team. That's obviously ridiculous and pathetic.
That said, I couldn't tell you what the Lakers record is right now.