(Michael Ritchie, US 1976, 102 min., 35mm)
America’s Favorite Pastime. Alcoholic ex–minor leaguer Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) is hired to coach a Little League team full of misfits so uncoordinated they forfeit their first game 26–0. Pulling in two ringers—a tomboy pitcher (Tatum O’Neal) and a bad boy centerfielder (Jackie Earle Haley)—Buttermaker is able to get the team into shape, but the drive to win soon pushes him to outrageous extremes. Matthau is at his hangdog best in this joyfully vulgar ’70s classic from the underrated Michael Ritchie.