As the heat intensifies walking outside is like walking into a furnace, this is the time of year to either find a pool or stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning and a good sports movie. In this post, I will reveal my top ten sports movies that I could watch over and over again and never get tired of them.
10. Cinderella Man -James Braddock, is a pro boxer, played by Russell Crowe, who breaks his hand and is forced to retire. He then has to work on the shipyards to make ends meet during the depression when his former manager Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti, asked him to fill in for one fight which could give him a big pay-day. He then continues to win his fights and suddenly becomes a contender again after being forgotten for so long. This is just another tremendous boxing film that was superbly acted by Russell Crowe.
9. Greatest Game Ever Played – The story is of Francis Ouimet, the first amateur to win the U.S. Open. This role is played by Shia LaBeouf, who watches Harry Vardon, a British golf pro who inspires him to get into golf. He first starts as a caddy at a golf course by his house. He continues to improve his game until he is giving an opportunity at the U.S. Amateur Championship in his home course, but misses a huge putt on the eighteenth hole to lose the tournament. Thinking his chance was gone, he is asked by the President of the USGA to play in the U.S. Open that is once again being held at his home course. This is his dream and in order to conquer his dream he must beat his idol Harry Vardon in the open. LaBeouf is spectacular in this film and the little kid caddie is very funny with his one liners along the way.
8. The Rookie – This is the story of Jim Morris, a high school baseball coach, who’s injured shoulder kept him from pursuing a pro career. While coaching his team he makes a bet with them if they make the state playoffs, he will attend a major league tryout. Morris, played by Dennis Quaid, attends this tryout and it turns out that there is still some juice left in that arm, as he hits 98 miles an hour on the radar gun. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays offer him a contract and he begins his journey to his dream of playing in the majors. He begins to get frustrated that younger teammates don’t respect him and he misses his family and feels that he is not supporting them and wants to quit. He finally gets the call to the Majors in his home state of Texas against the Rangers, where his family and friends are there to root him on.
7. The Final Season – The story of the Norway High School baseball team in Iowa, where long time baseball coach, Jim Van Scoyoc retires after coaching the team to 19 state titles. Kent Stock, played by Sean Astin, takes over for this legendary coach and program and not only faces huge expectations but also has to deal with the fact that school may be closing at the end of the year. This movie keeps you rooting for this small town and Stock, who is a baseball guy who you want to do well.
6. Rudy – As everyone knows I am not a big fan of Notre Dame, but even the Notre Dame haters had to enjoy this movie. The film is about Rudy Ruettiger, played by Sean Astin, who is working at a steel mill until his friend dies in a fire which makes him decide to pursue his dream. He attends junior college until his grades are good enough and then he is accepted at Notre Dame. He then walks on to the football team and works his butt off enough to impress coach Ara Parseghian to put him on the scout team. After the season, Parseghian steps down and new coach Dan Devine takes over, in a home game Devine decides to let Rudy dress and in emotional fashion puts him in the game late.
5. Friday Night Lights – This is the story of the 1988 Permian High School football team as they try to win a Texas State Football Championship. Coach Gary Gaines, played by Billy Bob Thornton, is a tough coach who asks and expects a lot from these young men. You closely follow quarterback Mike Winchell, running back James “Boobie” Miles and fullback Don Billingsley. They all battle with different things throughout the season like injury, family problems and their future after high school. Thornton is fantastic in this film and it really shows you how much this town and state really care about high school football.
4. Blue Chips – The film is about the Western University Dolphins, a fictional university that is struggling and looks to improve for the next season through recruitment. You meet coach Pete Bell, played by Nick Nolte, who has a good team but not a team that can compete at the elite level. He goes in search of three of the best high school players in the country for his team the following season. The three players are Neon Boudeaux, Butch McRae and Ricky Roe, all who could put his team to the elite level but all want something either for themselves or their family in return. The acting of Nolte is great as he shows you the sneaky ways of college recruiting.
3. Bull Durham – A baseball classic about the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team and their veteran catcher Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner and their young stud pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins. Throughout the movie you learn their relationship with each other, Crash’s passion for playing the game the right way and their fight over Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon. Some of the one liners and actions by Costner are awesome and you get a feel what playing in the minors is like.
2. Major League – In my opinion the best and funniest baseball movie ever made. This film follows the Cleveland Indian baseball team and all the characters that are on this ball club. They are managed by Lou Brown, who was selling tires until he received a call to manage a major league team. The key players on this team are five guys who you learn about their unique personalities and playing styles throughout the film. These men are Jake Taylor, aging catcher who wants one last run and Rick Vaughn, a flame throwing relief pitcher who has no control of himself or his pitches. Then there is Roger Dorn, a pretty boy who is more worried about his post baseball career than his current one, Willie Mays Hayes, a cocky outfielder who thinks he is better than he is and Pedro Cerrano, a power hitting outfielder who can’t hit off speed pitches and has a religious doll name Jobu. The major issue in this film is that owner Rachel Phelps wants the team to be so bad that she can move the team to Florida, but Lou Brown and his merry band of misfits have something different to say about it.
1. Remember the Titans – Denzel Washington plays groundbreaking coach Herman Boone, coach of the 1971 T.C. Wiliams High School Football team, in my top sports movie of all time. The biggest challenge for Boone is getting his white and black players to get along while trying to gain respect from other coaches because of his race. After Boone is able to get his captains Gary Bertier and Julius Campbell on the same page, that is when this team takes off and they begin to make people believers in Boone. The job done by Washington in this film is flawless and seeing a team that battled the racial issue and conquered it for a chance to win a state title is an awesome story.