Just because we haven’t seen enough “best sports movies” lists, I felt obligated to produce my own. Rather than rehash the many movies that have garnered popular and critical acclaim over the years, I will try to highlight some movies that I’ve become quite fond of which I feel just don’t get the same love that others do.
Baseball: The Final Season
Sure, the easiest choice here is Bull Durham, or if going for comedic content perhaps you would favor Major League. Both are very enjoyable, and I do own and watch them often enough. But I took a look at The Final Season a couple years back, and it is quite enjoyable, and also based upon a true story. It, in some respects, brought me back to my time playing high school baseball, though my own school’s team did not mean near as much as baseball meant to Norway. Honorable mention to The Sandlot, though I think that’s a movie that’s gotten a good amount of love over the years.
Hockey: The Goon
Hands down for me, my favorite hockey movie is SlapShot, and my guilty pleasure in this sport would be any of the Mighty Ducks movies, but the Seann William Scott hockey thug movie is actually very enjoyable, though admittedly over the top. It is a nice way to duck out from reality for a couple hours and just enjoy some gratuitous hockey violence and road trips.
Football: The Longest Yard *the remake
OK, OK, I know. Sacrilege, I picked the new one over the original, and honestly I usually don’t like remakes. However, this was one where I saw it and enjoyed it just for an Adam Sandler vehicle. Not at all claiming this is better or as good as the original, just that I do enjoy watching it from time to time. Honorable mention goes to The Little Giants.
Basketball: Blue Chips
Yes, Hoosiers is the acclaimed hoops movie by which all others should be and will be measured. But Blue Chips was a movie that, especially when it was in constant rotation on HBO, was something I watched a decent amount. Sure, it was sometimes an over the top representation of the worst case scenarios in college hoops-from Nick Nolte’s Bobby Knight imitation to Shaq, Penny and others being bought out, but it always sucked me in. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and was probably better than most thought it would be.
Miscellaneous Sports flick: Warrior
While I enjoyed watching Here Comes the Boom, for a more serious MMA-themed movie, Warrior was a good watch. Compelling storylines, very solid acting performances and what I felt were well-filmed fight scenes make this one of the better fighting-sports films in a long time.
One that needs to be on DVD but is not: RAD!
Honorable mention to Airborne!
I grew up watching RAD in grade school. I admit to buying a dilapidated copy on eBay. It will win no awards, ever, for acting. But if you saw it, you wanted to be Cru Jones. You wanted to take on Helltrack.
Airborne was for the 90’s and rollerblading what RAD was for the 80’s and BMX. Again, not going to win a single award, but you had a surfer named Mitchell Goosen stuck in hockey loving Cleveland for the winter. You also had a fairy attractive love interest for surfer boy, as well as early big screen roles for Seth Green and Jack Black. If you have not seen it, but like action sports and can find it to watch somewhere, it is a worthy investment of your time.