One Great Season
It's Oscar Week, and that can mean only one thing. You're wondering what sports movies are the most popular among sports columnists, bloggers and other OGS friends.
As it turns out, the OGS Survey Team has compiled such a list. We wish you a lovely weekend:
David Balutanski, Stand-Up Comic — Bad News Bears is at the top. It captures that universal sports dream of a group of misfits coming together and achieving something they didn't think possible. The montage of Walter Matthau pitching batting practice as he slowly gets drunk via the Styrofoam cooler of beer on the pitcher's mound is American Cinema at its finest.
Len Berman, Sports Broadcasting Legend — The Natural. You can't beat the final home run off the light tower with the sound track up full blast.
Jacqueline Conrad, St. Louis Cardinals Blogger — Bull Durham is my favorite sports movie without a doubt. I want to be Annie Savoy. The movie gives great quotage. Two of my favorites are Susan Sarandon's voice-over that begins the movie with "I believe in the church of baseball," and Kevin Costner's famous soliloquy that ends with "I believe in long, slow, deep, wet kisses that last three days." It's a love story not just between a man and a woman but more importantly between all of us and baseball.
Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati Enquirer Columnist — Bull Durham. Believable, because the director played minor league baseball. The dialog rings true. The writing is very good. Costner is the most believable actor-athlete, though maybe not anymore. And Men of a Certain Age didn't mind looking at Susan Sarandon, back in the day.
"Don't think, Meat. You'll hurt the ballclub." Classic.
John Fay, Cincinnati Reds Beat Writer — Probably Bull Durham. It captures minor league baseball. Kevin Costner's monologue is a beautiful thing.
Jeff Garcia, San Antonio Spurs Blogger — Remember the Titans. Truly integrated major social topics such as racial segregation, acceptance of people's differences, and how sports (football) erased biases to unify a community.
Jeff Gluck, Sports Blogger — Favorite sports movies, in order, that I saw them, not chronologically, from first favorite to current fave. The Natural, Bull Durham, Breaking Away, Field of Dreams, Seabiscuit. With a shout out to Rudy, just to see how skinny Vince Vaughn used to be.
Lisa Horne, FOXSports.com College Football Writer — Rudy has always been a fave because the story captures how much Notre Dame means to so many kids in the Midwest. I cry every time the crowd chants "Rudy," and when he's carried off the field, I get goosebumps. I love underdog movies.
BUT, Rudy is now in a tie with The Blind Side. I love college football and my favorite book is Bruce Feldman's "Meat Market: Inside the Smashmouth World of College Football Recruiting," so a movie that combines both recruiting and college football, and showcases a fantastic storyline of how love sees no color, will always be a favorite.
Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist — Hoosiers. I'm a basketball fan most of all. Dennis Hopper steals the movie as the alcoholic Shooter, running the picket fence. His reconciliation with his son is one of the most touching, unsentimental and human moments in sports movies.
Troy Machir, College Basketball Blogger — Tough, tough question. There are so many good ones. But I'm going with Caddyshack. By far, one of the funniest movies of all time. There are quotable quotes out the wazoo, and memorable characters are endless. Bill Murray nailed his part, Rodney Dangerfield nailed his part, and whoever played Judge Smails absolutely killed it. I could watch Caddyshack 150,000 times and never get bored of it.
Andy McNamara, Assistant Media Relations Director, University of Oregon, and radio play-by-play voice of the MLS' Portland Timbers — Slap Shot. Classic characters and great lines. As someone who has worked in minor league sports, this movie is not nearly as farfetched as many would believe.
Chad Potier, LSU Sports Blogger — It would have to be Bull Durham. The scene where Susan Sarandon explains the connection of God and baseball, while wearing that "Little" Silk Robe, I was HOOKED.
Andy Resnik, Sports Blogger — My favorite sports movie is Major League. A Cleveland team comes from nowhere to win ... what's not to like? I have to hold back tears at the ending, every time. Plus, the movie is still funny more than 20 years later.
Barrett Sallee, SEC Football Writer — Most people hate it, but I am a sucker for For Love Of The Game. I grew up playing baseball, and there's nothing more special in sports than a perfect game. The movie captures the emotion, stress and significance of the moment, all while weaving in a love story and career retrospective. The multiple story lines make it a great movie for everyone in the family.
Mark Sheldon, Cincinnati Reds writer — Too many to name, but Chariots of Fire stands out. It made running look like artistry and was just a beautiful movie to watch. At the same time, I rarely can resist stopping to watch Slapshot if it happens to be on. I love hockey and it also comically captures the notion of life in the locker room and on the road.Tim Sullivan, San Diego Union-Tribune Columnist — My favorite sports movie is Bull Durham, and not only because of the sound of Susan Sarandon's voice when she says, "Oh, my," in response to Crash Davis's list of beliefs. It's entertaining fiction suffused with many small truths about baseball.
Jimmy Traina, Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard" Editor — Varsity Blues. Why? I don't know. Probably because of James Van Der Beek's performance and coach Bud Kilmer's meltdown and Ali Larter's whipped-cream bikini. Whenever it's on TBS or TNT, I always watch it.
Matt Zemek, College Football Writer — The Natural is by far my favorite sports movie. It captures the poignancy of human struggle, the sharp collision between our best and worst human impulses, and the remarkable ways in which excellence emerges from the most unlikely sources under improbable circumstances. The Natural captures the romance and drama of baseball and conveys a rich texture belonging to another time and place. Sure, the supporting characters in this movie are fairly superficial and one-dimensional (especially Robert Duvall's Max Mercy), but the archetypal dimensions of this 1984 masterpiece are part of what makes Bernard Malamud's story so powerful. This is a case in which the simple progression of Roy Hobbs's life does all the talking. The characters just needed to get out of the way and allow the story arc to do the talking. Needless to say, Robert Redford and Kim Basinger did what they were supposed to do.
The music, of course, carried just a wee bit of impact in this film, too. (Understatement of the decade.)