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Friday, June 17, 2005

Now Playing - Moonrat's top 5 Sports Movies

I recently read ESPN's list of the best sports movies - and I was a little dismayed at some of their conclusions. Especially the fact that some "chick flicks" also masquerade as Sports Movies, and we are supposed to by it. "Bull Durham" for example, you'll find as one of my favorite five movies...period. However, is it a Sports Movie that has "chick flick" elements, or a chick flick dressed in a sports movie. Tough call, right? It was tough for me to get to 5 - but I'll try.

At #5 - 61*
I know, it was directed by Billy Crystal, and his daughter played the female lead, but his attenion to detail and selection of actors, particularly Barry Pepper as Roger Maris, makes this a captivating film.

#4 - Remember the Titans
This film edges out "The Longest Yard" and "North Dallas Forty" as my favorite Football Film. Aside from the fact that it chronicled a great story and captured the moods of the racial difficulties that capsulated the early 1970's in the small southern community, I loved the way it emphasizes what Friday Nights in the fall are like in most communities. High School Football rules in most communities and the true atmosphere surrounding these games. This movie captures this mood as well as any movie I've seen.

#3 - Running Brave
To non-runners and people that have never heard of Billy Mills, you wonder what on earth I am talking about. But this video-biography of 1964 10,000 meter gold medalist Billy Mills is a story you just do not want to miss. The total story of this great Native American runner and ambassador is excellent. Having met the man twice., the movie does not really do justice to this true sports hero. But it is really very well done. Robby Benson is excellent in the lead. (Make a note of that last sentence, it is likely the only time you'll ever see it written by me.)

#2 - Bull Durham
Yeah, Yeah - I know...chick flick. Also a great Baseball movie, edging out "Major League" and "61*" as my favorite baseball movies. There are so many good ones that I almost neeed another list. (Maybe that will be another blog) My favorite scene, when the player tells Crash that they need a rainout to be able to have a chance with the skaters that were checking into hotel. Crash guarantees a rainout and proceeds to create it by breaking into the field and turning on the sprinklers. Great baseball movie. We can't forget Crash's famous monologue - "I believe in the soul...."

#1 - Hoosiers
I have to agree with ESPN on this one. This movie is the best basketball movie I've seen and a great sports movie in general. My father taught in Madras, Oregon in 1952 and their basketball team that year went to the State Finals. I noticed the parallels of the stories that he always talked about. Hickory Huskers vs. Madras White Buffalos - dunno who'd win, but this story tells it. Whenever I see a sports movie that requires some historical reference, I always look for errors, don' you. I only found two in this story. Many of the gyms had glass backboards in the movie. That was only in the biggest arenas in 1952. Same is true of the digital clocks. Most used the large face clocks that had only 8 numbers on them.

From the Hackman to Sheb Wooley, (yes - the role of "Cletus" the principal, is also the same person that gave us "Purple People Eaters") this cast is excellent. ESPN got this one right.

Here are my fav's by sport - in Top Five format.
The @ sign indicates possible chick flick. Acknowledged, with no apologies.

1. Remember the Titans
2. The Longest Yard
3. North Dallas Forty
4. Rudy
5. Friday Night Lights

1. Bull Durham @
2. 61*
3. Major League @
4. Pride of the Yankees
5. Field of Dreams @

1. Hoosiers
2. Blue Chips
3. Finding Pistol Pete

1. Miracle on Ice
2. SlapShot
3. Mystery Alaska
4. Miracle

1. Running Brave
2. On the Edge
3. Personal Best @
4. Athens - 1896
5. Chariots of Fire

Other Sports
1. The Hustler (Can only be couned if Pool is considered a sport)
2. Tin Cup @
3. Rocky @
4. Raging Bull
5. Goal ! (Not a chick flick but its about Soccer!) @

BTW - Here is ESPN's List:

"Don't let the Bastards Grind you Down!"