I’m not giving up anything for Lent. I’m taking something on. Over the next 40 days, I shall devote 40 blogs to (some of) the reasons I love movies.

If you don’t think that’s a sacrifice, consider this: In the nine months I’ve been blogging, I’ve posted fewer than 30 times.

So, it’s either pen love notes to movies or cut out skim milk.

Spring training just began, so let’s get started with my favorite baseball movie – the original recipe version of “The Bad News Bears.”

I love “The Bad News Bears” because…

…Tatum O’Neal’s self-reliant Amanda wears the coolest straw hat and sun dress.

…Amanda’s going on 12, but her voice sounds like she’s already hooked on a pack-a-day habit. (Of course, we are talking about Tatum O’Neal.)

…Amanda is so desperate for a father figure she latches onto Walter Matthau’s boozy Buttermaker, whose name she constantly botches.

…foul-mouthed Tanner is a politically incorrect pint-sized Archie Bunker who tries his damdest to offend everyone from the entire seventh grade to the booger-eating spaz, Lupus.

…Steve Nash’s twin and future Oscar nominee, Jackie Earle Haley, plays the Harley-riding, cigarette-smoking Kelly Leak.

…a drunken Buttermaker piles the kids into his yellow Caddy and takes them to his pool-cleaning jobs where he puts them to work.

…Buttermaker gives the kids beer when they lose the championship game.

…they lose the championship game.

…Tanner tells the Yankees to “take your apology and your trophy and shove ’em straight up your ass!”

…of three words: Chico’s Bail Bonds.

That last one kills me, but in a good way. If milk is my comfort food, the words “Chico’s Bail Bonds” always take me to a happy, happy place.