Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top Ten Thursday: Sports Movies

I think that since today is such a big day in sports, what with all of the college football being played, it is a good day to publish my Top Ten List of Favorite Sports Movies.

Now, I’ll warn you right away that despite the football reference above, only one movie below is actually about American football – and it’s not We Are Marshall or Remember the Titans.

Of course a list like this is highly subjective, so if you disagree with my picks, tell me why in the comments.

Anyway, here goes…
Top Ten Favorite Sports Movies

10) Shaolin Soccer: This movie was a lot of fun. Completely and utterly fanciful, but a lot of fun nonetheless. It does require the viewer to suspend quite a bit of disbelief (I mean, let’s face it who would believe that someone would make a movie about boring soccer?), but the comedy and special effects make it totally worth it.

9) Slap Shot: Paul Newman is at his ice-skating best in this ode to the perpetually juvenile male, but what sticks out most for me are those lovable, cuddly Hanson brothers who could totally kick the crap out of the Hanson brothers (MMMBop indeed).

8) Chariots of Fire: I like this film a lot because it manages to be a success (four Oscars can't be wrong) without resorting to tired clichés (see We Are Marshall).

7) Raging Bull: In this classic recounting of the career of boxer Jake La Motta, you come to respect then revile then pity the main character as he goes from rags to riches to rags.

6) Brian' Song: The lone football movie on the list. I don't care if it was a made-for-television movie, if you can watch this heartbreaking tale without getting verklempt, then there's just something wrong with you, boy.

5) The Big Lebowski: Some might be surprised to see this film on a list of best Sports movies, but I don't think you can ignore the importance of bowling to the storyline, in both the literal and metaphorical senses. Watch it again, you'll see what I mean.

4) Caddyshack: Crude? Yes. Juvenile? Absolutely. But this classic comedy makes the top five on the strength of quotable one-liners alone. Not to mention an amazing cast. "Be the ball, Danny. Be the ball... You're not being the ball, Danny."

3) Breaking Away: This coming of age story set against a backdrop of The Little 500 bicycle race in Bloomington, Ind., features a great cast, strong directing and genuine characters. The writing is smart, subtly tacking various social issues with charm and humor.

2) Pride of the Yankees: Gary Cooper's portrayal of Lou Gehrig may be my all-time favorite sports movie role. I still get teary just thinking of the final scene when Gehrig gives his goodbye speech in Yankee Stadium. This is not only one of the best sports movies, but also one of the best biographical movies EVAR!

1) ROCKY: Say what you will about Sylvester Stalone. The latter works of his career definitely merit the rotten tomatoes (personally, I never forgave him for Tango & Cash). But this classic underdog fairytale has great characters and great writing and pretty solid acting. With all of the crappy sequels, it's easy to forget how good this film is. If you haven't watched it in a while, give Rocky another chance.

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  1. I understand that everyone is not a Field of Dreams fan, but the lack of the Natural on this list has saddened my 2009.

  2. I'd like Kingpin to be included please. You can throw out any movie on your list except for the Lebowski

  3. Any list of the top sports movies is completely pointless with out Miracle. The story of the Miracle on Ice the 1980 Gold medal winning hockey team.

    And WTF no Effing RUDY?!?!

  4. Chimpo, The Natural was just outside the Top Ten. As were Bang the Drum Slowly and Eight Men Out.

    Field of Dreams wasn't even nominated. As for Rudy, maybe top 15. Maybe.

  5. is it that you forget MAJOR LEAGUE. And HOOSIERS. And THE MIGHTY DUCKS....errr...

    For a soccer movie, I prefer Victory with Michael Caine, Sly Stallone and Pele.

    Slap Shot should be higher.

    Cool Runnings makes me cry for some reason. When they carry the bobsled over the finish line...

    What about Fight Club? Boxing, maybe?

    For a cycling movie, I prefer American Flyers.

  6. Yeah, I'm with The D on the lack of Rudy. That surprises me.

    I also think that you need more chick flick additions to the League of Their Own, and possibly Bend It Like Beckham.

  7. I never saw Bend It Like Beckham. A League Of Their Own was good, just not Top Ten good.

    Hoosiers wasn't quite gritty enough to make my Top Ten. As for The Mighty Ducks, well I didn't consider kids' movies.

    Fight Club is an interesting thought, though.

  8. The Natural is probably my favorite, or Raging Bull.
    No Bagger Vance?

  9. I'm waiting for the movie called Growth Hormone starring Roger Clemens.


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