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Welcome to Player Affinity's Sports Movie Madness! March is the month of tournaments, and PA isn't going to miss out on the fun. So we've started our first annual polling tournament to find out the best sports movies of all time! Over the course of the next couple weeks, you will have the chance to vote for your favorite sports movies out of a field of 64. Now, we present our list of the best sports movies not attached to one of the "bigger" sports.
In the Sports Movie Madness tournament, there are seven sports and one mega-category of miscellaneous sports, so eight regions total. This is the Other Sports Region. Below are the eight basketball films we deemed most worthy of our tournament. There are four matchups based on these seedings and your job is to pick which movie you deem worthy of winning each matchup. Simply enter a comment by Sunday at 5 pm with the four movies you are picking to move on (once again, not any four movies, but one of the two movie going up against each other, so no voting for Caddyshack and Secretariat, only one or the other) and your votes count! Each region will have three rounds and then the winner of each sport region will face off against the other sports until we have a winner!
This region explores everything from some of the more popular golf movies to odd sports such as dodgeball and even made-up sports. There are some classic dramas and some hilarious comedies to make for a pretty eclectic sports pool. There are a lot of decisions to be made, so get to it!
2 Cool Runnings
3 Happy Gilmore
4 The Karate Kid (1984)
9 Point Break
12 Tin Cup
13 The Foot Fist Way
14 Blades of Glory
15 Whip It
1. Caddyshack vs. 16. Secretariat
There have been a surprising amount of golf films, especially considering that the sport is hard to show on film with any semblance of suspense. Hence, we have Caddyshack, an irreverent take on the sport that’s hardly about the sport but all about the culture. From Rodney Dangerfield’s terrific supporting performance to Carl Spackler and the gopher to a Baby Ruth in the pool, this is a coming-of-age story and wacky comedy that’s simply never been duplicated.
Last fall, Secretariat became the latest significant entry to
the sports genre, following in the footsteps of another film on this list, Seabiscuit. Diane Lane stars as a female
horse owner who makes waves in the horseracing community with the titular horse
and his unorthodox trainer played by John Malkovich. Disney delivers another
well-executed uplifting story with a period lilt to show how not just the
horse, but its owner, was the real underdog.
8. Kingpin vs. 9. Point Break
After Dumb and Dumber, the Farrelly Brothers took on one of cinemas few bowling films. If you don’t count The Big Lebowski, there’s no question that Kingpin is the best film about the sport. Woody Harrelson stars as a big bowling prospect who messes with self-absorbed bowling star Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray) and gets his winning hand cut off. He then discovers an Amish prospect (Randy Quaid) whom he wants to coach to glory. The Farrellys gross and outrageous humor reigns supreme in this hilarious sports entry.
Hard to call Point
Break a true sports film as its one of those that combines sports with
a crime thriller story, but Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves gained a bit of a
cult following for playing a surfer with bank-robbing prowess and an FBI agent
sent undercover to determine who “The Ex-Presidents” (they wear masks of former
presidents during their crimes) really are. This gnarly surfing thriller was a
preferred choice for our list over Blue
4. The Karate Kid (1984) vs. 13. The Foot Fist Way
You’re the best around: The Karate Kid might be most famous for making the sports montage a genre staple, but it could also be wax-on, wax-off. For 1984, “Karate Kid” pre-dates the wave of ‘90s youth sports films and no doubt inspired them even if its more serious than most kid-based sports films. No karate movie could ever be done again without drawing a comparison to this film starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita as a bullied student and his karate mentor who learn that the deeper significance of the sport in working together.
On the total opposite end of
the martial arts spectrum we have The Foot Fist Way, one of the first
films from best pals Jody Hill, Ben Best and Danny McBride, the team that brought
us the TV series Eastbound & Down.
McBride stars as an fairly incapable tae kwan do instructor who has unrealistic
self-expectations and an obsession with his hero, Chuck “The Truck” Wallace.
It’s no “Eastbound,” but a heck of a start for the hilarious McBride.
5. Seabiscuit vs. 12. Tin Cup
Horseracing and golf face off yet again, except the favorite here is the horse that inspired a country through the Great Depression. Seabiscuit was about as highly touted of a movie as there was when it came out in the summer of 2003. Tobey Maguire, hot off his first turn as Spider-Man, plays the jockey, Jeff Bridges the owner and Chris Cooper the ace trainer, all of whom are battling their own odds in turning this horse from a lame duck with potential to a horse capable of racing War Admiral, the best in the sport at the time. Another successful combination of American period setting with sports drama.
Tin Cup brings us back to the rom-com section of sports
films, but fortunately it’s the sports element here that triumphs. Kevin
Costner reteams with his Bull Durham
director Ron Shelton for this film about a once-promising collegiate golfer named
Roy McAvoy who ended up as a pro at a downtrodden Texas course. Roy, however,
falls a bit for his now-successful former teammate’s girlfriend (Rene Russo)
and starts jonesing for competition, except he’s a seat-of-his-pants guy and
could never channel his talent into success and talks in extensive golf
metaphors. Costner has his A-game here and Tin
Cup also has one of the more memorable and unexpected sports movie endings.
3. Happy Gilmore vs. 14. Blades of Glory
Happy Gilmore is the second Adam Sandler film to make it into March Movie Madness and it was one of his first hits. To me, golf is one of the most boring sports ever invented, so it needed to be made more exciting. Sandler plays an ex-hockey player with anger management problems who converts his mighty slap shot for golf purposes. Made with Sandler’s usual over-the-top style, many critics and film fans consider Happy Gilmore as one of Sandler’s better films.
Will Ferrell is no stranger to sport comedies, making Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Semi-Pro, which were made with mixed reason. This time round Ferrell turns to the world of ice skating with Jon Heder as two rival ice skaters, forced to work together and a brother and sister team (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) who try to sabotage them. And the film has Jenna Fischer in it. Blades of Glory is silly but very funny.
6. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story vs. 11. Wimbledon
Will Ferrell is not the only member of the Frat Pack to attempt a sports movie; Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller made Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, bring the game that has traumatized generations of American schoolchildren to a whole new level. The film was a hilarious send up of sports movies, making fun of the formula and clichés and filled with verbal gags and psychical humour. But the filmmakers had to settle for a typical Hollywood ending to please test audiences. Remember grab life by the balls!
Wimbledon is a more typical rom-com affair, but it has Paul Bettany starring in it and that automatically improves any film. Bettany plays a cross of British disappointments Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, tennis players who never fulfilled their potential. But Bettany starts to perform better when he stars sleeping with upcoming player Kirsten Dunst; only her game stars suffer. Wimbledon is the only way I will ever see an Englishman being good at tennis.
7. Invictus vs. 10. BASEketball
Based on a book by John Carlin, Invictus is a story about how a sport played an important part in politics and united a nation. Set in post-Apartheid South Africa, Invictus tells how Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite white and black people by giving them a national team to support. The sports scenes are great, whether watching in the stands or in the heart of the action and it is a very interesting political and social story about South Africa trying to heal its wounds. There are great performances from Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in a film that is inspiring and uplifting.
The only fictional sport to make into Sport Movie Madness is BASEketball, a combination of baseball and basketball free throws (a sport Shaquille O’Neil can never play). Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame play the founders of this new sport as evil corporations try to turn it into the same franchise system that plagues the rest of American sports. This is a parody of the American sports industry, filled with crude humor that Parker and Stone are famous for.
2. Cool Runnings vs. 15. Whip It
Disney has made a lot of sports films and Cool Runnings is one of their most famous. Loosely based on the true story about Jamaica sending a bobsled team to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, Cool Runnings tells (in comedic fashion) how three Jamaican sprinters who failed to make that nation’s Olympics team become the first Caribbean nation to compete in the Winter Olympics. Cool Runnings shows the team’s trials and tribulations of training and competing in the Olympics.
Roller Derby is a complete ridiculous and can rank along side WWE for levels of pantomime, but it serves a excellent source for Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. Based on a novel by Shauna Cross, Ellen Page plays a university bound pageant queen, who lives under the shadow of her mother. But when she discovers the glory of roller-skating whilst beating the hell out of opponents, she gets involved against her mother’s wishes and creates her own identity.