I am not an athlete. I don’t play sports, watch sports, or talk to many people who do. It’s just not the crowd I run in. That aside, I love sport movies! Film is the great unifier. I can’t talk about RBI’s or so-and-so’s trade to the Yankees, but I can quote “Field of Dreams” along with you.
I don’t think this is that uncommon. Everything I know about the rules of football, baseball, soccer, etc. I learned from Hollywood. I know there will be two teams, one good, one bad, they’ll wear matching uniforms, and the good team will always win at the last minute and the town will cheer.
The captain of the team probably has a troubled past that makes him brooding and uncertain of his skills but the gruff, old coach will know just what to say to lead the team to victory! Isn’t that how it works in real life?
No. Oh well, I don’t care. This version is more entertaining.
And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Entertainment.
I can watch a random guy skate back and forth trying to shoot the black disc thingy into the net, or I can watch Charlie face-off against the mean Hawks player and lead the Ducks to victory! It’s just more interesting when you have a personal connection to the players.
Even sports I hate become more interesting when I don’t have to participate in them. I dreaded Fridays growing up because that was “Dodge Ball Day.” It’s the only time I envied those kids with asthma that got to sit on the sidelines. I can still remember their big smiles taunting me. However, watching Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller play brought back hardly any of my painful memories.
The Olympics only come round every two years, and they waste your time by showing you all these sports you don’t really care about. You just wanted to watch some snowboarding but between each run have to sit through curling or luge (Even I know those aren’t real sports.) Give me “Cool Runnings” or “Miracle” or I’d even settle for “Blades of Glory.”
Football, a game I don’t understand in the slightest (name, rules, scoring system) instantly become watchable in film form. (“Remember the Titans,” “The Replacements,” “The Blind Side”) Golf is a lot less boring when you’re watching Adam Sandler or Chevy Chase swing away. Even Will Ferrell can make watching a car go round-and-round tolerable in “Talladega Nights.”
The magic of Hollywood can turn any physical activity into a dramatic, edge-of-your-seat event. “Over the Top” makes Sylvester Stallone an arm-wrestling champion. The only dog show I’ve ever watched is Christopher Guest’s “Best in Show.” “Lords of Dogtown” made the history of skateboarding really interesting. And after watching “Bring It On” I’d almost argue that cheerleading is a real sport.
If I have the choice between watching Michael Jordan play with the Chicago Bulls on ESPN Classic or watching him play with the Looney Tunes gang in “Space Jam,” I will always choose Bugs and Daffy. Show me a sport, and I’ll show you that sport in a movie that I like better. If nothing else it’ll give you a conversation starter.
Here are some of my faves:
- Baseball: League of Their Own, Field of Dreams, Moneyball, The Rookie, Angels in the Outfield
- Football: The Replacements, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, Blind Side, We Are Marshall
- Basketball: Space Jam, White Men Can’t Jump, Hoosiers
- Soccer: Bend It Like Beckham, Kicking and Screaming, The Big Green
- Boxing: Raging Bull, Rocky
- Wrestling: Win Win, The Wrestler
- Tennis: Wimbeldon
- Hockey: Mighty Ducks, Miracle
- Golf: Tin Cup, Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore
- Bowling: The Big Lebowski
- Gymnastics: Stick It