Weekly Top Ten-#22
My Ten Favorite Sports Movies
Usually, I make these lists due to inspiration. Two weeks ago, I started my second year of Fantasy Football with my college buddies. Sadly I am not on to the start I hoped for, but that is how that goes sometimes. But these last few weeks have got me thinking. I've been thinking about my favorite sports movies. This is actually hard for me. Personally, I can barely stomach the genre. Its so dopey, so predictable, no matter what sport a movie discusses, each sports movie seems to want to follow the same road. They are basically carbon copies of the same movie to me. It takes a very special sports movie to really get me watching, to make me sit up straight in my chair. I think the list I've created really highlights the very best the genre has to offer, and I hope you'll agree these are some of the genre's gems.
10. Cinderella Man (2005)
I don't know how all of you think of him, but I personally love Russell Crowe. He brings a certain amount of inspiration that I don't think other actors can duplicate. This is without a doubt, one of his very best performances and its a shame he never got an Oscar nod for it. Paul Giamatti is equally as good. What really gets me about this movie is it highlights self-sacrifice in more than just the boxing ring. Especially nowadays, I hope I never have to go through a depression that my fellow, brave American brothers had to go through so many years ago. The movie x-ray's that period to perfection.
9. Slap Shot (1977)
How can you not like a sports movie that delivers a few laughs? Add in the genius of Paul Newman and you've got a surprisingly delightful hockey movie.
8. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)
I didn't realize until now how awesome 2005 was for sports films. I could have easily added "Coach Carter" to this list! Anywho, I give this movie huge credit for making the game of golf interesting. I also love this movie because I feel this was the film that launched Shia LeBeouf from jokey mascot to actual actor. He's never done this well in awhile and even if you don't care about golf, the movie is worth seeing just for his unforgettable performance.
7. Miracle (2004)
I think out of all the movies on this list, this is the most cliche ridden of them all. So how does "Miracle" work for me? Well, Kurt Russell gives one of the best performances of his career in this movie. The rest of the cast is driven by an insane group of young actors which bring the whole thing to life. Sometimes acting power can bring a film a long way, and I think "Miracle" definitely proves that.
6. Jerry McGuire (1996)
So its a sports movie with a romance and I love it? Yep, sure do. I don't think you'll find Tom Cruise or Cuba Gooding Jr. better in nearly anything else in their respected resume's. Cruise especially is on fire here, selling the romance and the unsuspected laughs this movie has to offer. The movie also just tells an interesting story very well.
5. Friday Night Lights (2004)
Forget "Remember The Titans," "Friday Night Lights" is the best film about high school football ever made. I am willing to argue that point to whomever, wherever. Instead of team who constantly lose, featuring players who all hate each other get a new coach who leads them to victory, "Friday Night Lights" does something different. The movie is about a team that already is very good, and the movie focuses on the pressure that can bring. Small town Texas love their sports and they love football. I can't imagine being a coach and having to worry about getting fired due to not getting an undefeated season and a state title. The movie captures that pressure and tension to a tee. And tells an emotional, human story with a wonderful ensemble.
4. Field of Dreams (1989)
Elegant, inspiring, beautiful, awe-making, and deeply emotional are all words I'd choose to describe this movie. Baseball is another sport that I find boring to the core, but this movie had me cheering all the way through. It also features a clever way to mix baseball with the supernatural. I can't wait to share this with my future children, because it will destroy us all!
3. Caddyshack (1980)
From the caddy boys adventures, to Rodney Dangerfield dancing on the green, to the blissful "douchebageyness" of Chevy Chase's character, there is a lot to like about this film. I cannot forget Billy Murray and his obsession with gofers. I love this movie, it brings laughs and joy to my life every time I watch it.
2. Hoosiers (1986)
This movie may follow the sports movie cliche's like none other, but I can't help but be taken away by it every time I watch it. The final basketball game in this movie is more intense, more nail-biting than any other basketball game committed to film. You also can't deny the powerful work by Dennis Hopper and Gene Hackman who really carry the story and give it that extra push.
1. Rocky (1976)
Arguably, the movie that made the sports genre what it is today. The movie that has been revolutionizing the genre over the decades. Sylvester Stallone has many memorable characters to his name (some for good reasons and some for not-so-good reasons.) and there is not arguing that Rocky is one of his most iconic. I love the main song from this movie, I love the final fight, I love Carl Weathers. But most of all, this movie captures the very essence of the American dream in the sports arena. No matter what you do in this world, you start out as an individual. A spark lights up in one of us and once that spark is there, there is very little that can put it out. Everything in the country was started by the spark of individuals and that spark can achieve good things. That spark can turn an ordinary man into an extraordinary man. Above all, that spark can make dreams come true. That kind of thinking is beautifully stated throughout the entire movie. Which is why it is my favorite sports movie.