Monday, June 4, 2012

Top 5 Sports Movies of Ever

Wow! This was so much harder to put together than I thought it was going to be. I finally got it put together, and I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to take me to task in the comments section if one of your favorites didn't crack the top five.


5. Eight Men Out

Directed by John Sayles and starring John Cusack, Clifton James and Michael Lerner.

Before Pete Rose, there was the 1919 Chicago White Sox. The best team of their day, with an owner who thinks money looks better in his pocket than the players. A collection of gamblers get together and arrange to pay key members of the team to lose in the World Series. An ensemble cast including John Cusack, Charlie Sheen,  and DB Sweeney among others.

Most of what I know about the Black Sox scandal I learned from this movie. From Comiskey underpaying, and in some cases cheating his players, to the players relationships with mobsters. A fascinating period not just in baseball but in the sports culture of the United States. So many far reaching changes occurred because of this scandal and it's aftermath.

For myself the enduring image of this movie is Bucky Weaver (played by John Cusack) sitting in the stands watching a banned Shoeless Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney) playing under a different name in a minor league  baseball game in New Jersey.

4. Hoosiers

Directed by David Anspaugh and starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper.

Gene Hackman plays a newly hired high school basketball coach in Indiana in the 1950's. He's returning to coaching after a 12 year hiatus where he served in the Navy. He works to install a different system than the kids in the school are used to playing. Dennis Hopper plays an alcoholic former high school star who's son plays on the the team. The movie is about perseverance and finishing what you start.

Ollie McClellan: When do we scrimmage?
Coach Dale: We don't scrimmage, No shooting either.
Ollie McClellan: That aint no fun.
Coach Dale: My practices aren't designed for your enjoyment

Coach Dale: Where are you going? 
Rade: in the game 
Coach Dale: Sit down.
Rade: What do you mean? You gotta have five out there!
Coach Dale: Sit down! Sit!
Referee: Coach you need one more.
Coach Dale: My team's on the floor.

The scene where Hackman tells the referee that the four players on the floor are his team is one of my favorites of all time.

3. Tin Cup

Directed by Ron Shelton and starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, and Cheech Marin.

After being embarrassed by his old college teammate, driving range pro Roy McAvoy qualifies for the US Open, but will his all or nothing attitude end up costing him everything?

Cheech Marin makes this movie special. Every scene that he's in is worth watching. About half the scenes that he's not in are worth watching too and that lands this movie on this list. Cheech Marin plays McAvoy's friend, partner, mentor, and caddy. I shouldn't be suprised to find Marin and Don Johnson together here. Tin Cup came out around the time that they both were in Nash Bridges.

Romeo: Your brain was getting in the way.
McAvoy: Well that's hardly ever been the case.

McAvoy: I need to rise to the level of women who think I'm a joke.

McAvoy: Greatness courts failure

2. Waterboy

Directed by Frank Coraci and starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, and Henry Winkler.

After 18 years of being a water boy, Bobby Boucher discovers a talent for playing football that he didn't know he possessed.

Favorite Parts:
All scenes with Farmer Fran. I stole all of my dance moves from him.
Bobby's mama dancing behind Vicki Vallencourt and Lynn Swann in the sideline interview.
Bobby Boucher's first day at practice. Especially the double eye poke. "Captain Insano shows no mercy."
Coach Klein's Roy Orbison tattoo.
Coach Klein diagramming a play and having a nervous breakdown. "The QB fakes left, no he fakes right, no, he doesn't fake, he thinks about faking, he pretends to fake...I don't know where I am. I can't breath."
Lawrence Taylor's football camp.
Lee Corso and Chris Fowler announcing the Muddogs last game before the Bourbon Bowl.
Corso - Here we see Boucher instantly penetrating the pocket
Fowler - There's a lot of pain and shame in those eyes.
Corso - It's all over
QB Boucher tackles (offscreen) - My leg!
Fowler - Wow, that is a disturbing image.
Coach Klein in high heels after Red Beaulieu steals his playbook.
Klein (flashback. With perm, phone receiver unplugged from the base, and womens high heel shoes.) - No Grandma, I didn't get it. I can't believe it myself. I'm so numb. I just hate him, I hate him, I hate him!

I don't know if there are any life lessons to be learned by watching Waterboy. It's more like grabbing a candy bar from the impulse buy rack next to the cash register. You'll feel guilty for getting it, but your day will feel better. At least mine does

1. Bull Durham

Directed by Ron Shelton and starring Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins.

The Raleigh Durham Bulls minor league baseball team signs a veteran catcher to help a rookie pitcher harness his talent and make it to the major leagues. This movie has some of the best lines of all time.

Annie Savoy - I believe in the church of baseball.
Crash Davis - See you at the yard meat!
Crash Davis - ...Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring, besides that they're fascist. Throw some ground balls, it's more democratic.
Crash Davis - Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show you can let the fungus grow back on you shower shoes and the press will think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show however, it means you're a slob.
Crash Davis - ...You just got lesson number one: don't think, you can only hurt the ball club.
Crash Davis - The rose goes in the front big guy.

More than just a comedy. There's a poignancy that surrounds Crash's realization that it's time for him to hang up the cleats and find something else to do with his life. The older I get the more this theme comes through for me.

Honorable Mentions

Happy Gilmore
Caddy Shack
The Legend of Bagger Vance
North Dallas Forty
Friday Night Lights
The Natural


  1. I would have appreciated The Mighty Ducks being included on this list, or at least an Honorable Mention.

  2. It's one thing to leave Coach Bombay and The Mighty Ducks on the sidelines, but to miss Rocky? Inexcusable!