Carebear’s Top Five Sports Movies

April 8, 2009

#5 The Big Lebowski

Walter Sobchak: I told those fucks down at the league office a thousand times that I don’t roll on Shabbos!
Donny: What’s Shabbos?
Walter Sobchak: Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don’t work, I don’t get in a car, I don’t fucking ride in a car, I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as shit
Walter Sobchak: don’t fucking roll! Shomer shabbos!

You may not call this a sports movie, but this film revolves around bowling.  The Big L is a cult classic.  The people that own it have seen it literally, thousands of times.  It is one of those films that always seemed to be on in my college dorm room.  John Torturro plays one of the greatest bit roles in any movie as the Jesus, the pedophile, flamboyant dancing bowler, who’s partner Liam and him will fuck you in the ass on wednesday instead.  John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jeff Bridges are all perfectly cast.  I don’t even know if Tara Reid (pre boob job) knows she was acting in this film.  Anyways, great film.  The grown up Sandlot of bowling.

#4 Rocky 4

[Addressing the Soviet Union]
Rocky: I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.

Some will argue that this movie is awful and not even the best Rocky film.  I agree completely, but its entertaining as hell, and so stupidly inspiring that I had to include it.   The workout montage in the foot deep snow of Siberia is maybe the most motivating scene in movie history.  The fact that a boxing match pretty much ends the Cold War made it an irresistible choice.  You disagree, but change the channel next time it comes on FX at 3 am.  You can’t do it.

#3 A League of their Own

[Jimmy has just signed a baseball for a little boy]
Little Boy: [reading] Avoid the clap, Jimmy Dugan.
Jimmy Dugan: Hey, that’s good advice!

People argue with me about this one all the time.  Tom Hanks, as Jimmy Duggan (Foxx) makes this film.  He plays a drunken retired ballplayer who is forced to manage a women’s team.  Despite the fact that its a comedy, this movie got baseball right, and without looking like they were trying too hard.  The ending still pisses me off a little, but its one of few sports movies with kind of an unhappy ending.  Geena Davis drops the ball, on purpose? we don’t know, and then quits baseball.  Its like the Empire Strikes Back of comedy sports films except without Darth Vader cutting Davis’ hand off.  This film also marks the last time Rosie O’Donnel and Madonna were tolerable, and the last time Geena Davis was remotely attractive.

#2 Happy Gilmore

Chubbs: They wouldn’t let me play on the Pro Tour anymore.
Happy Gilmore: Ah, I’m sorry. Because you’re black?
Chubbs: Hell no! Damned alligator BIT my hand off!

Happy Gilmore did not try to get golf right.  There are no cut lines, the tourneys are one day long, and Happy’s gotta approach Subway for sponsorship money.  Despite the fact that its a horribly reviewed, far from factual film, I know every line from beginning to end.  I could watch it four times today and still giggle when Virginia Vennet yells, “Happy. look ooout!,” and he gets hit by a Volkswagen on the fairway.  Shooter McGavin is the ultimate sports movie villain.  He buys Happy’s grandma’s house to get back at him.  Its all so stupid, but so great.   Also, Bob Barker (vampire) beats the shit out of happy in a pro-am.  Spectacular film.

#1 The Sandlot

Ham Porter: Is that your sister out there in left field, naked? She’s naked?
Phillips: [swings and misses again] SHUT UP PORTER!
Ham Porter: Hey, hey, hey, I’m just trying to start a friendly conversation, come on.
Ham Porter: [two seconds later] Think she’ll go out with me?

The Sandlot is more about growing up than baseball.  There is no championship.  They actually only play one real game, but everybody can relate to this kids playing with their friends pretending they’re Babe Ruth. Its really a coming of age story.  Every scene is classic: the tobacco at the carnival, the hunt for the lost ball, and the public swimming pool.   This is another film that gets baseball right.  For most people, baseball is about growing up and this movie captures that better than any other.  Agree or disagree, Sandlot is #1.

Honorable Mention: Caddyshack, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Miracle, Mystery Alaska, Field of Dreams, Major League, Kingpin, Little Giants, Shaolin Soccer (added), The Natural (added).