One of my favorite things to do while running on my treadmill at home is to watch a movie. Not only does that help pass the hour I'm on the treadmill each day, it helps keep my mind off what I'm doing.
Yesterday morning I watched the last half of "Hoosiers" and it got me thinking about some of the sports movies I've seen. So, without further ado, here's a list of my favorites and ones I would rather forget.
Now, I know I'm setting myself up for second guessing, but that's all right. These movies are only my favorites (and least favorites), they're not what I think are the greatest sports movies of all time.
And, a little healthy debate is always fun so if you agree, disagree or have another opinion, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
Before I get started I must preface the following list. I (embarrassingly) admit that I haven't watched, in their entirety: "Slap Shot", "Bull Durham," "The Natural," and "Field of Dreams." Please don't hold that against me.
"Hoosiers" is numero uno. There are hundreds of sports movies with the David vs. Goliath theme but none do it as well as "Hoosiers." And, the basketball action is believable from the start to the final Jimmy Chitwood game-winning jumper.
Being a Notre Dame football fan "Rudy" is another beloved flick of mine. My favorite part is when Rudy's dad, played by Ned Beatty, walks into Notre Dame stadium for the first time and says, "This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen," even as his wife stands next to him.
One sports comedy that I love is "Caddyshack." The movie, and Billy Murray's character, Carl Spackler, put greenskeepers on the map. And, show me a golfer who hasn't at one time screamed, "It's in the hole!" after sinking a long put.
While boxing movies like "Rocky" and "Cinderella Man," are great, Clint Eastwood's dark and haunting "Million Dollar Baby" is marvelous. Again, it's an underdog-themed movie but without the traditional happy ending. And, the acting of Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank is superb.
Two sports documentaries, "When We Were Kings," and "Murderball," are excellent. The first movie centers on the 1974 heavyweight title bout in Zaire between young champion George Forman and the great Muhammad Ali. Seeing how Ali's supported by an entire country is amazing.
"Murderball" is a film about quadriplegics who play full-contact, wheelchair rugby. Not only is there thrilling action but you also get to know these athletes and the obstacles they've had to overcome.
When it comes to baseball there are a ton of great movies but I prefer "Major League." There are so many good lines and the game action is fairly realistic. It doesn't get much better than when manager Lou Brown tells Charlie Sheen's character, pitcher Rick Vaughn, "Forget about the curveball Ricky, give him the heater."
I could go on and on with my favorites so here is a quick list: "Kingpin," "Jerry Maguire," "Tin Cup," "Friday Night Lights," "Best In Show," "White Men Can't Jump," "Rounders," "The Longest Yard" (with Burt Reynolds), "Happy Gilmore," "The Sandlot," "Miracle" and "BASEketball."
On the other end of the spectrum are my least favorite movies and I have to start with "The Program." This movie is about a fictional college football team coached by James Caan where everything that can go bad does.
But the reason I hate this movie is that the football action is horrible. In one scene a player is returning a punt and talks as he dodges would-be tacklers. Puh-lease.
"Friday Night Lights" also makes my least favorite list, even though it was on my favorite list. Don't get me wrong, the movie is good, the characters are good and the game action is good. Where the movie goes south for me are the countless inconsistencies between the movie and the book (which is excellent).
I imagine I'll get some heat for this one but I can't stand "Remember the Titans." Yes, it's a good story and Denzel Washington is as good as always. But the movie is so over the top with sappiness that it becomes nauseating.
Here is the short list of more of my least favorite sports movies: "Angels in the Outfield," "The Legend of Baggar Vance," "The Replacements," "Little Big League," "Drumline," "Cool Runnings," "Kicking and Screaming," "Little Giants" and "The Fan."
I'm sure I'm missing a few good ones and some bad ones but hopefully this will spark a little watercooler talk.
TROY GUNDERSON, sports writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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