About a year back Stevie R., listed his best high school football movies of all-time, but how about the best darn sports movies, period. I left out Steve’s favorite, All the Right Moves, and also Eight Men Out, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, but hey, this is my top ten. The comments aren’t all mine, they’re borrowed from film teaser’s and MoviePhone with an added twist from your host. Here ya go, Robledo’s top ten.
1. Rocky: The fist-pumping score, the charismatic turn by Sly Stallone, the glorious training montage, the pitch-perfect ending in which Rocky shows the champ what “showtime at the Apollo” really means … I remember leaving the movie theatre and shadow boxing all the way to our car. I went back the next day to see it again. For the rest of the top ten, click thread
2. Hoosiers: This David-and-Goliath tale of a volatile basketball coach (Gene Hackman) who leads a small Indiana high school team to the state finals has all the makings of a classic: chills-inducing score, superb game sequences, moving pep talk and, of course, the most badass line in sports movie history: “I’ll make it.” My favorite part of the movie is when Hackman says, “My team’s on the floor.”
3. Rudy: It’s the ultimate underdog tale: A hobbit-sized goonie boy (Sean Astin) dreams of playing for Notre Dame. What do size, skill and smarts matter when you’ve got heart? When Rudy finally takes the field, not only does it instantly choke the throat, it makes the small, unskilled and dim-witted among us feel we’ve got a fighting chance. I watched with it with my dad, and will never forget the tears in his eyes when Rudy ran out the tunnel.
4. Caddyshack: With hilarious turns from Bill Murray as a deranged gopher-hunting, Bob-Marley-joint-smoking groundskeeper and Chevy Chase as a birdie-and-tequila-shooting womanizer, this might just be one of the most flawless comedies in history — so it’s got that going for it, which is nice. If I have to explain why this is here, you didn’t get it.
5. Breaking Away: Though ostensibly about aspiring bike racers, this affecting drama is really concerned with how racing is seen as a way to escape the confines of a small town — in this case, Bloomington, Ind., where the four heroes are derisively called “Cutters” by the college kids there. And so it’s a universal theme, played out on two wheels. One of the most inspirational, funny, underdog movies you’ve probably never seen but should.
6. Karate Kid: Mr. Miage, a handyman/martial arts master agrees to teach a bullied boy karate and shows him that there is more to the martial art than fighting. It had the great line, “Get him a body bag, yeah, and the greatest girl, Elizabeth Shue.”
7. The Bad News Bears: There’s not an ounce of sentimentality in this comedy about a team of foul-mouthed misfits and their alcoholic manager, and that’s what makes it great. One by one, ‘Bears’ takes aim at three sacred institutions — sob-story sports flicks, treacly kids’ movies and the hell of Little League — and the result is a down-and-dirty delight. It’s amazing watching this 30-years later, and realizing how foul-mouthed they actually were.
8. Slap Shot: There’s a lot of comedy in hockey: scraggly mullets, toothless grins, Canadian accents. So it’s no wonder this 1977 classic scores so many laughs with its ahead-of-its-time raunchiness and blistering vulgarity, mostly courtesy of that sailor mouth Paul Newman. If you don’t like it, the Hanson Brothers will make you see otherwise.
9. Remember the Titans: “Inspirational sports movies” arrive in theaters on what seems like a monthly basis now, and the triumph that was ‘Titans’ is a big reason for that. It may be conventional, but this genuinely touching tale of ebony and ivory relations on and off Virginia football fields is the best in its class. My favorite movie this decade
10. Friday Night Lights: It’s ‘Varsity Blues’ plus better acting and directing, minus the whipped cream bikini. With this true-life tale, director Peter Berg paints a moving (and disturbing) portrait of ’80s small-town Texas: Racism still rages, the economy is ailing and the hopes of an entire community ride on high school football. Another today movie that needs no explanation.