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Angels in the Outfield

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Angels in the Outfield (known simply as Angels in some countries) is a 1994 Walt Disney Pictures film remake of the 1951 film of the same name, starring Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd. The movie also featured appearances from future stars Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey, and Neal McDonough.

Unlike the original, which focused on the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team in heavenly need, this movie focused on the California Angels, who started play ten years after the original movie came out. The movie did, however, make a connection to the Bucs by having its world premiere at the Pirates home at the time, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. The premiere actually drew on on the stadium's highest attendance figures, even with the stadium hosting two World Series championships for the Pirates and four Super Bowl-winning teams in the Pittsburgh Steelers, who also drew well regardless due to that team's rabid fanbase.

Plot

Young foster children Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his friend J.P. (Milton Davis, Jr.) love to sneak into baseball games of the hopelessly dreadful California Angels.

Still in limited contact with his widower father, Roger asks when they will be a family again. His father replies sarcastically, "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant." Taking his father's words literally, Roger prays for God to help the Angels win. After he prays, a star, unseen by Roger, twinkles in the sky.

Then, in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays which Roger and J.P. attend, he sees a group of angels led by Al (Christopher Lloyd) helping the team. Although Roger can see the angels quite clearly, everyone else can only explain the seemingly impossible acts as freak occurrences.

Roger's unique ability to see which players are receiving help from angels leads the Angel's skeptical manager, George Knox (Danny Glover) (who dislikes children) to keep Roger around as a good luck charm/consultant. Due to the much needed help, the Angels start to win games and make a surprising second-half surge to the top of their division. The Angels have made it to the Division championship, but Roger is forced to miss the first Championship game because of a court hearing, only to find out that his father permanently gave up custody of him instead and Roger realizes the whole truth: when his father said that the Angels would win the pennant, it wasn't literal, but sarcastic, as he intended to abandon Roger all along. Knowing that he had come a long way for nothing, and seeing his father leave forever, Roger bursts into tears.

Meanwhile, The Angels lose the first game and J.P. is crying too and also J.P. accidentally reveals to antagonistic sports broadcaster Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders) that Roger has the ability to see angels, and that Knox has been winning through the advice Roger's given him, Then later their caretaker Maggie Nelson (Brenda Fricker) and Roger return home at the same time Knox & J.P. return home, Maggie tells Knox what happened, then Knox tells Roger that when he was Roger's age that he and his brothers never had the opportunity to be with their father, because their father couldn't take care of himself and also if Roger continues to think people would let him down, like Knox, Roger would dislike children when he becomes an adult.

Meanwhile, Ranch, hoping to destroy Knox informs the press of what J.P. told him and tells manager Hank Murphy (Ben Johnson) threatens to fire Knox for this seemingly absurd notion that angels are helping the team. Roger comes clean about his special ability and at a press conference they and the entire Angels team defend Knox in front of the press. Moved by their faith, Murphy rehires Knox to be the manager of the team and play for the championship.

On the championship game, none of the Angels show up to help the team. Later on, Al explains that championships must be played without help from the Angels, and that he was just checking Mel Clark (Tony Danza), who will be one of them soon (as he's been a smoker for years, and has only six months left to live). Throughout the game, Clark has been in, but is getting tired after 159 pitches. When Coach Knox goes in, everyone thinks he's going in to take him out, but instead, Knox gives Clark some motivation, with help from Roger, the Angels team, and finally, the entire stadium audience, as well as Murphy and the broadcasters (minus Ranch).

The Angels ultimately win the final game of the regular season, Knox tells Clark that they really didn't need the Angels' help and that Clark did it on his own, Wilder gets fired by Murphy over Wilder's insults about the Angels and Knox over the radio.

When Knox returns Roger and J.P. home, Maggie tells Roger that he must depart from Maggie to live in a new home. J.P. is crying and gets nervous about losing his best friend; so, he runs back to his room and Maggie goes after him. Knox then tells Roger that he called the Family Court and asked them if he would become Roger's new dad and adopt him (since Roger's biological father is never seen again), and they agreed. Roger says he would only go if J.P. went with them, then J.P. returns, still crying, and Knox then says that J.P. will be living with them too, and that J.P. will be Roger's new brother. J.P. stops crying and runs over to his new father and brother and they share a hug. J.P. wants Maggie to join them too, but Maggie says she has to stay behind and hopefully get new angels living with her, too. J.P. turns to see Al at the window and Al smiles. J.P. smiles back, and says, "I knew it could happen". Al circles around the house and says "We're always watching" and flying off into the stars, which re-enact a baseball game.

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