Sports movies great way to while away slow time
Sunday, June 23, 2013
With the NBA Finals now done, and the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals soon to join it, we’re entering that point on the calendar when it’s tough to be a sports fan.
Sure, Wimbledon starts Monday, but that doesn’t do much for those out there who don’t enjoy tennis. And I imagine there are even fewer getting really stoked about the return of the Tour de France, which also begins Monday.
And with golf’s British Open still three weeks away and preseason NFL roughly three weeks after that, we’re getting to a big dead period.
Sure, we’ve still got baseball, but the pickings are pretty slim otherwise. So what does a fan do for entertainment?
Well, I got the answer during a somewhat appalling conversation I had with a friend lately when he confessed he’d never seen the movie “Field of Dreams.” After trying to impress upon him how necessary it was he do so as soon as possible — I’m not sure if I succeeded — it got me thinking it was time for a re-watch of the 1989 classic.
Which soon got me thinking of what other sports movies are also due for another viewing. So while these aren’t necessarily my definitive “Top 10” sports movies of all time, here are nine others that make up a 10 I’d be happy to be stuck with on a deserted island:
• Fletch (1985). Sure, I can hear you saying, “Yes, it’s great, but there’s no sports in it. Only if you forget about one of the best dream sequences ever, where Fletch thinks he’s a member of the Lakers. Classic.
• Heaven Can Wait (1978). Again, this comedy isn’t heavy on sports throughout, but they’re a gateway to one of my favorite movies of all time. The limited bits of football action are enough to get it on the list.
• Bull Durham (1988). Kevin Costner, the star of “Field of Dreams,” makes the list again with another baseball classic. And he’ll make it again with ...
• Tin Cup (1996). This time, Costner is showing how funny he can be when it comes to golf.
• Necessary Roughness (1991). Not to be confused with the USA Network drama series by the same name, this one is football laughs aplenty starring Scott Bakula.
• White Men Can’t Jump (1992). Only the best, and funniest, basketball movie ever.
• Remember the Titans (2000). A movie I wasn’t that crazy about when I saw it in theaters. Then I saw it on TV and liked it a little better. And a little better the next time. And more the next. And since it’s in constant rotation on about 50 different channels, I guess the trend will continue.
• Mystery, Alaska (1999). Yes, this hockey film has some big plot holes. But if you can shut off your skepticism long enough to get sucked in, you’ll find a lot to like in it.
• Caddyshack (1980). No list would be complete without what’s probably the most-quoted sports movie of all time.
Just outside this group of 10 were three other strong contenders: Hoop Dreams (1994), the only documentary on the list, but one that should be seen by as many people as possible; The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979), a hard-to-find but hard-to-forget campy bit of lovable junk; and The Replacements (2000), a film I can’t seem to turn off once I stumble upon it while flipping channels.
And others that received some series consideration included (in alphabetical order): The Bad News Bears (1976); Dodgeball (2004); The Express (2008); Fast Break (1979) — a deliciously bad movie that could only have been made in the 1970s; Glory Road (2006); Major League (1989); Max Dugan Returns (1983) — sure, the sports ties are tenuous, but they’re there; Miracle (2004); and of the Rocky movies, including Rocky Balboa, except for Rocky 5 — run away from this movie likes it’s the plague; The Rookie (2002), 61* (2001); and Slap Shot (1977).
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