Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Ten Best Sports Movies of All Time

We'd like to introduce a new weekly feature. We'll call it the Sports Movie of the week. Once a week I will order a random Sports film from Netflix and write up a review. I will try to stick to more random films that perhaps you haven't seen. You don't need me telling you that Caddyshack is great, after all.

So to introduce the new feature I give you...

My Favorite 10 Sports Films of All Time.

10. 61*
A fantastic film that a lot of people seem to have overlooked. I rarely see it mentioned on "best of" lists and know a lot of sports fans that never saw it. Definitely worth checking out if you haven't. Maris' improbable chase of Ruth's record remains one of the most compelling sports stories of the 20th century.
Favorite line - Mickey Mantle: Roger, are we feuding?
Roger Maris: They said so on the TV, it must be true.
Mickey Mantle: Well, fuck you then.
Roger Maris: Up yours.

9. The Bad News Bears
There have been many spin-offs and remakes, but nothing holds a candle to the original. It's got everything your little league team needs. Chain smoking star OF, diminutive SS with an attitude problem, girl as the ace pitcher and alcoholic manager. Who didn't want to be one of the Bears?
Favorite line... - Tanner Boyle: Hey Yankees... you can take your apology and your trophy and shove 'em straight up your ass!

8. The Natural
A true classic. It remains just as compelling and watchable today and it was when it first came out. I still remember one of my childhood buddies making a wooden bat after seeing the movie. His own little Thunderbolt.
Favorite line - Pop Fisher: C'mon Hobbs, knock the cover off the ball!

7. Bull Durham
Almost more a romantic comedy than a sports movie, it still has some outstanding sequences. From Tim Robbins in garters to Crash's record breaking HR. It's an insightful look at the minor leagues and the struggles there. It also features one of the best lines in ANY movie let alone one about sports.
Favorite line - Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

6. Rudy
The perfect movie for every kid that ever dreamed of being a big time athlete but never had the skills to make it happen. I'm also a sucker for sports films that are based on a true story. If you don't get chills at the end when the entire team offers to give up their spot so Rudy can play and then he sacks the QB to end the game and is carried off the field, then you aren't a true sports fan.
Favorite line - Fortune: You're 5 foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you're gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen. Now go on back.

5. Caddyshack
As good as it is, I debated whether or not to include it because it's not a sports movie in the sense that the movie isn't about golf but rather the crazy antics of a few people who happen to enjoy the game. But it's just too good to leave off. So many classic lines and sequences from Bill Murray to Chevy Chase to Rodney Dangerfield. If you haven't seen it, you're a moron.
Favorite line - Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

4. Major League
Some of the most enjoyable characters in any sports movie. From Wild Thing Vaughn to Willie mays Hayes, you can't help but love these guys. It keeps you laughing almost from start to finish and remains watchable every after numerous viewings. The mark of a great comedy. You know what's coming next but you still bust up. Major League definitely passes the test.
Favorite line - Jake Taylor: Ya know Dorn, I liked you so much better when you were just a ballplayer. If you wanna be an interior decorator now that's none of my business. But some of us still need this team. Now you listen to me! This is my last shot at a winner and for some of the younger guys it could be their only shot. I don't know what happened to you. But if you ever, ever tank another play like you did today, I'm gonna cut your nuts off and stuff em down your fuckin throat!

3. Cinderella Man
When it first came out I didn't even want to see it. Just another boxing movie, I thought. In fact I only saw it because my brother brought the DVD to my house and watched it with me. I didn't know what I had been missing. Another film based on true events, the goosebumps are rampant watching this classic. Classic performances by 2 of my favorite actors in Crowe and Giamatti.
Favorite line - Jim Braddock: You think you're telling me something? Like, what, boxing is dangerous, something like that? You don't think working triple shifts and at night on a scaffold isn't just as likely to get a man killed? What about all those guys who died last week living in cardboard shacks to save on rent money just to feed their family, 'cause guys like you have not quite figured out a way yet to make money off of watching that guy die? But in my profession - and it is my profession - I'm a little more fortunate.

2. Field of Dreams
The best baseball movie ever made. I can't imagine it being topped. The way it ties together history and baseball and it's impact on everything from our identity as a nation to our relationship with our fathers. Truly one of the most amazing films I've ever seen. Of any genre.
Favorite line - Terence Mann: Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

1. Hoosiers
I've seen it so many times I can probably recite the lines in my sleep. I remember listening to my older brother call out the discussion in the huddles during big games. He knew every line then and we were just kids. It is the ultimate example of modern day David vs. Goliath. Once again a true story re-told to inspire us all. Just typing out this paragraph makes me want to throw in the DVD and watch it all over again.
Favorite line - Jimmy Chitwood: I'll make it.

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CubsFella said...

Good list. I think I'd put Field of Dreams, Rudy, Cinderella Man and 61* all in my top 6 or 7, Major League is great too, I probably would have found a spot for Remember the Titans.

Matt Clapp said...

Absolutely great list. I'd probably find a spot for Remember The Titans as well. I'm glad to see The Bad News Bears get some love.

"Now get back to the stands before I shave off half your mustache and shove it up your left nostril."- Walter Matthau in BNB

Vevay said...

You write very well.