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Friday, March 28, 2008

Greatest Sports Movies: 15-11

Last week, before being sidetracked by Terrelle Pryor choosing the University of Ohio State for his college football playing days and Michigan O-lineman dropping like flies, we had started counting down the 15 Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time.

That first post contained the Honorable Mention films that just missed the cut for various reasons. Today, we take a look at films 15-11.

15. CINDERELLA MAN

Lloyd Carr was right: this is a great film. When it first came out, I didn't see this in the theater. Another underdog boxing movie? Ugh. And the title? Cinderella Man? What is this, some reject Disney flick? Double ugh.

But when I finally got around to seeing it, I loved it. Though I seem to recall (and Wikipedia confirms) this movie not doing well when it was released (probably for some of the same reasons that kept me from rushing out to see it), if you haven't checked it out, it's definitely worth a look.

14. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

A flick about a women's baseball league? Starring Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna? Here's another that, upon first hearing about it, doesn't exactly scream "Must see!" But, alas, like Cinderella Man above, this is a great flick. Start to finish.

"There's no crying in baseball!" Classic.

13. THE ROOKIE

The problem with most sports movies is, you know where they're going from the time you see the trailer. Case in point: The Rookie. If you follow sports, you either a) already knew about the story of pitcher Jim Morris or, if not, b) knew he was no longer in the league and thus didn't go on to have a long career. So you knew the story was about his journey: having promise, getting "sidetracked by life," getting the second chance nobody thinks he can achieve, and then achieving it, albeit briefly.

Yet, even knowing -- or thinking you knew -- where it was going, this was a great flick. I guess as is the case with most romantic comedies in that there is no surprise that boy gets girl at the end, even in sports movies where the endings are also often predictable, if the ride getting there is a good one (which seems to be more and more rare with movies today), the end result is an enjoyable flick.

12. BAD NEWS BEARS

No, not the fucking remake. Please. The original. In fact, this is the sports movie that many of the cliches in these movies today originated from. Real characters, real funny and just as entertaining when you were in 6th grade or seeing it again in your 30s.

P.S. The people who decided to remake this should be flogged.

11. THE NATURAL

As I look at the post today, I just realized that four of the five flicks today are baseball films -- which is surprising because I'm not a huge baseball fan (I think it's right up there with cricket on the ol' excitement meter). But I think the best sports movies aren't really about the sport, but about the individual and his quest (i.e. never giving up on your dream in Cinderella Man more than just "boxing").

The Natural is one of those films that is more mystical than "real" baseball as Roy Hobbs attempts to make a comeback many years after being attacked by a crazed fan when he was just coming up as "the next big thing." If you don't cheer when he blasts out the lights in the end, you don't have a pulse.

19 comments:

Ron said...

Bill Simmons on espn wrote a great little comparison between the bad news bears and the remake. He's usually pretty funny, like this bit "The question remains: How did Kelly bat for three consecutive innings? Did they think we wouldn't catch this? Was there a subplot in which William Devane pulled Kelly aside and said, "Listen, we need runs, I'm sending you up there every inning until somebody notices"?" here's the link to it in case you missed it.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/movies/badnewsbears

Ron said...

correction:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons
/movies/badnewsbears

Out of Conference said...

I got a ceramic sign from the Louisville Slugger factory for my kid's room that says, "There's no crying in baseball." My wife and I used to say that a lot to the kids if they started to cry when we were feeding them or changing them.

Seeing your 11-15, I'm real curious to see your top 10. Thanks for the work, Yost & Benny.

beast in 'bama said...

I had the same reaction to Cinderella Man, having watched it for the first time only a couple of months ago. A good movie, but it wouldn't be any higher on a list I would construct.

A League of Their Own is a terrific period movie. It does a really good job of exploring the changing roles of women in American society necessitated by WWII. It always reminds me of my mother, who is the same age as the women depicted in the movie and a feisty competitor (to this day).

I've never seen The Rookie, so I can't comment on that one.

I happened to be in the sixth grade when the original Bad News Bears was released. It will always rank as one of my favorites, and I'd have it much higher on my own list.

The Natural is a visual masterpiece, and the story is American mythology. Plus, any movie with Barbara Hershey AND Kim Basinger should be watched repeatedly (see visual masterpiece, above).

Ninja Football said...

If you've never seen it (and I'll have to do some serious digging if it's not readily available on youtube) NBC did a montage of sorts- no, not a montage, a combination, or overlay of Kirk Gibson's game winning homer for the Dodgers and the last at bat in The Natural. Definitely up there on the cheese meter with "One Shining Moment", but absolutely f-ing awesome.

Feelin' Blue said...

So apparently our Coach "Rod" is a sexual deviant.

"This is not my first rodeo, and I think if you went back and asked the majority of guys about their experience playing in our program, they'd feel pretty good about it."

Coach Rod won't apologize for erosion of family values

Apparently the 7th Floor Crew has moved to South Quad.

whetstonebuck said...

"Apparently the 7th Floor Crew has moved to South Quad."

blue,

Enlighten us foreigners; what does the above statement mean?

Feelin' Blue said...

7th Floor Crew

You have to hear the song yourself. The 7th Floor Crew was a group of Miami Hurricanes football players a few years ago who made a recording of them rapping about their sexual exploits. They basically describe Roman orgies in their dorm room and express pity for the sucker whose girlfriend winds up there.

I think it came to light the year before the fight with FIU. Some prudes on ESPN made a big deal about it, and one guy basically wrote about it as if it was a war crime, but I thought it was pretty funny. I just saw it as a bunch of guys clowning around and writing really dirty, sexually deviant limericks.

whetstonebuck said...

Blue,

Thanks. Makes sense now. I vaguely remember it, but didn't know it was called the 7th floor crew. Now 2+2=4.

Packer487 said...

I still have the 7th Floor Crew song on my iPod. And it still cracks me up every time.

A mock draft had the Packers taking "T-Good" and I about did a backflip. If you think I wouldn't have a #52 jersey the day after, you're sorrowly mistaken. Sadly they signed a LB in free agency, so that dream may be gone.

intellidouche said...

I'm looking for something in an after dinner burrito.

Out of Conference said...

On the trunk?
On the trunk.

Feelin' Blue said...

I'm confused about T-Good. I thought 52 was his number, but then I realized: multiply the bitch up...

Adam said...

All I hope for is that Miracle is ranked ahead of Talladega Nights (mostly because hockey >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nascrap).

And Glory Road better be on this list.

Feelin' Blue said...

Glory Road was a damn good movie. Talladega Nights was one of the most overrated movies of 2006. It wasn't that funny and just tried to play off the success of previous Will Farrell classics i.e. Anchorman and Elf (fuck you if you disagree about that one).

One of the worst sports movies was The Replacements. It was predictable and unfunny, and basically consisted of scenes randomly put together without transition. The movie had no flow to it. Oh God, and then there is that awful scene of them singing "I Will Survive" for now reason. That movie fucking sucked.

beast in 'bama said...

Now that I look at it, Walter Matthau had some of his best one-liners ever in Bad News Bears:

Baseball's hard. You can love it but, believe me, it don't always love you back. It's kinda like dating a German chick.

And, one that could also apply to A League of Their Own:

[watching girls play softball] You know, in my life I thought I'd never say, "Look at the ass on that second baseman." But look at the ass on that second baseman.

TitleIX said...

w/r/t 'family values' in R-ville.

apparently some of the "MFing" that's going on over at Schembechler Hall is a bit out of control.
If used too often or with too harsh of a tone, some could argue that it is abusive, and not at all respectful or likely to lead to positive results.

I'm all for toughening people up and coaching tough but there is a line between being a demanding coach and being a complete ass....
I'm hearing that the 'nice'ness has left the building.

surrounded in columbus said...

T9,
never knew a football coach that didn't swear.

and given all the hand wringing over every change and difference, you'd think we weren't replacing a coach that lost 14 games in the last 4 seasons, hadn't lost to tuos 4 seasons in a row, and not lost to App St.

watching "Bull Durham" last night ("baseball week" on cable) and keep thinking about the "they're kids- scare 'em" scene.

it's about time somebody threw the bats into the shower over @ ft schembechler.

wingverine said...

Okay here's a couple for the Gear Heads out there....LeMans w/Steve McQueen (McQueen did his own driving in this movie) great camera work and crash sequence. Camera cars where actually doing over 160 MPH (this is way before computer enhancement). And then there's Grand Prix w/James Garner . Race Fans.... LeMans is a must see. For those who don't think of this as sport, disregard.