Unusual Sports Movies

There are only two days a year when no major sports games are held: the day before baseball’s Major League All-Star Game, and the day after.  On every other day of the year, a major sporting event occurs somewhere in the country. Indeed, there are only 26 days a year when the PGA is not on tour, 51 days without tennis, and 95 days without a NASCAR event. Many sport seasons overlap – baseball ends long after football starts, basketball begins during football, and hockey runs long after baseball starts.

I’m not a huge sports fan. Sure, I grew up watching Wide World of Sports, but our family sport was Indy car racing, and if you practice that, police get annoyed. I earned an inter-dorm basketball championship shirt in college, but that was because we won three games by default, and yes, I watch two full weeks of the Olympics each time.

But for some unknown reason, I do like movies about sports. And there are a plethora of really good ones. Every sport has a loyal following, and some sports are more of a specialty than others (there aren’t many mainstream martial arts films beyond The Karate Kid,  and when I thought of skiing movies and thought of The Other Side of the Mountain (yeah, I’m old) and Eddie the Eagle real skiers have movies no one in the average  theater knows of), but no matter what the sport, there’s at least one film about it (Cool Runnings not withstanding).

Best of the Best

Ten films are on almost every Best Sports Movie list available. They’re grade-A movies that can make even the non-sportsman cheer for the underdog:
Hoop DreamsField of Dreams   / Moneyball  /  Bull Durham  /  Rocky   Rudy  /  Caddyshack   / 
Raging Bull  /  Tin Cup  /   Million Dollar Baby

Wider World of Sports

Yes, you say, but three of those are boxing movies. I’m a competitive swimmer. Then check out The Swimmer, with Burt Lancaster. If you want a top-rated movie for a sport without a weekday TV contract, try:

Golf: Caddyshack (no matter what list you look at, golfers insist this is THE best golf movie, but check out Tin Cup or The Legend of Bagger Vance for something more serious).
Tennis: Borg vs. McEnroe Battle of the Sexes
RunningJericho Mile, Chariots of Fire   

Skiing: Deep and Light
Martial Arts: Drunken Master II (Jackie Chan)
Auto racing: Days of Thunder,  Rush

Soccer: Pele: Birth of a Legend, Bend it Like Beckham
Billiards: The Hustler
Ice Skating: The Cutting Edge,  Ice Castles I, Tonya

Hockey:  Miracle, Slap Shot, Mystery Alaska
Surfing: Soul Surfer, Blue Crush

Horseracing: Seabiscuit
Weightlifting: Pumping Iron (the absolute classic!)
Rodeo: The Electric Horseman 8 Seconds  

Killer Roller Skating: Rollerball Whip It
Dodgeball: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story  
Apocalyptic ManhuntingThe Running Man,  The Hunger Games

Always Broom for One More

And Quidditch? Yes, that crazy game from Harry Potter is a real modern-day Muggle sport. Quidditch was first played on the campus of Middlebury College in 2005, with actual world championships (but no flying on the brooms), and there is still a push to make Quidditch an Olympic sport. Or you can follow Connecticut Quidditch teams at Yale, UConn, or Quinnipiac to watch live action on the pitch.  (Yes, I’m serious. My daughter’s team ranked 22nd in the world).

Don’t pay those exorbitant stadium prices or suffer through repetitive commercials! Grab your beer or bottled water, your popcorn or your Ball Park Frank, and cheer for your favorite sport with one of these awesome sports films!

Susan’s Top 15 Summer Films

Sure, there’s dozens of great huge summer blockbusters to watch, but chances are you’ve already seen quite a few of them. Here’s a list of great films that take place IN the summer.  Some are great to watch with your kids and some are definitely for the older crowd. Which is your favorite?

1.   What About Bob?  (PG) A man follows his psychiatrist on vacation and drives him crazy.  And you thought your job was rough!

2. The Sandlot  (PG)  Kids.  Baseball.  James Earl Jones.  ‘Nuff said.

The Sandlot              Jaws           Caddyshack poster.jpg

  3.  Jaws  (PG, but I’d think twice about under 10) The original summer blockbuster, the one that started it all.  Thirty years later, those special effects still hold up.  You’re going to need a bigger TV.

4.    Caddyshack  (R)  Yeah, it’s got the predictable plot, the bad language, the potty humor, and I hate the stupid puppet – but you’ll still laugh yourself silly.

5.     Field of Dreams (PG) – The greatest baseball tribute movie. It’s not too late to cut a diamond in your lawn for playoffs. If you build it, they will come.

     Field_of_Dreams_poster          vacation            stand by me

6.    National Lampoon’s Vacation (R for language) – the mother of all summer vacation movies, who can’t relate to long trips with grumpy kids, relatives you can’t stomach, and things going bad every inch of the way?  Don’t you wish reality ended as well it does here?

7.     Stand By Me (R for language) – a fantastic coming-of-age movie for the 11 & up crowd – and it was written by Stephen King.

8.     Deliverance (a very adult R) – classic dark 70’s story of friends taking an ill-fated rafting trip that will make you fear the sound of banjos. 

Deliverance_DVD       west side       porky

9.  The Parent Trap  (G) – A Disney Classic of two separated twins who find each other at summer camp and decide to get their divorced parents back together. Watch the Haley Mills original; Lindsey Lohan’s not the role model people hoped she would be.

10.West Side Story – (Not rated, but I’d give it a PG if you object to guns and knives) Oh, to be in America, dancing on a New York roof in the heat of summer!  A classic story and a film that can never be reproduced, with a soundtrack that’s among the best musical scores ever. Make your kids watch it now, so when they have to watch it in highschool, they’ll be ahead of the game.

11. Porky’s  (R)  The American Pie of its day, full of juvenile sexual banter and potty mouth as a group of Florida teens tries their best to sneak into a strip bar. You will laugh until you cry.

12.Addams Family Values (PG-13)  Wednesday and Pugsley go to summer camp, with the inevitable twisted chaos that follows the ooky Addams family.

adams            super 8            sunshine

13. Super 8 (PG-13)  A group of kids plan to spend their summer filming a movie, and get far, far more than they bargain for when they stumble upon a government secret.

14. Friday the 13th  (R) The original slasher movie that sent everyone scuttling away from lakes and summer camps. It doesn’t matter where you watch it; Jason will find you.

15. Little Miss Sunshine  (R)  A quirky little film about a quirky family trying to hang together as they pin their hopes on their daughter winning the Little Miss Sunshine pageant – without any clue what it’s about.