Y’all know that I like list posts; truthfully, who doesn’t? Many of them leave us having great debates, although I’ll admit that I wasn’t really expecting much debate when I wrote my opera post. Be that as it may, when we know what the topic is, we love debating it, and I think there should be a few people around ready to talk about this one.


Baseball Night In America
by J. Ryan Wall

Only it’s not my list. I got this list from a site called the Bleacher Report, which writes only about sports stuff, and they got together and put out what they called The 100 Greatest Sports Movies Of All Time. It’s an interesting list, especially because some of the movies aren’t sports related at all; what the hey? Still, they’ve got a list, and it was pretty ambitious. Way more ambitious than I’m ready to be, so I’m only going to comment on their top ten; this isn’t going to be pretty.

No. 10: Slapshot – this is a movie about a rogue minor league hockey team, and you’d think I would like it more because it was filmed right here in Syracuse. But it was filmed before I got here, and even with Paul Newman it just got on my nerves.

No. 9: Hoop Dreams – this was actually a documentary that followed two kids for many years that had dreams of becoming professional basketball players; no, they didn’t make it. Roger Ebert really loved this movie; once again, I didn’t get into it.

No. 8: Caddyshack – one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, even if it was surrounding golf, a sport I don’t like all that much except for Tiger Woods (now don’t start with me). It had Rodney Dangerfield in one of his best performances and Chevy Chase and Bill Murray at a time when not only were both at the top of their game, but they had to bury the hatchet to make this movie together. And it had the gopher; ’nuff said.

No. 7: The Natural – one of my favorite movies of all time; if I’m turning the channels and it’s on I stop what I’m doing and watch it until it’s over. It’s a baseball movie about a guy who gets derailed as a young player and comes back many years later and shows everyone he’s a star, only because they didn’t have 24/7 access to TV or sports back then no one remembers who he was. This is a beautiful movie, start Robert Redford, and you’ll love it whether you like sports or not.

No. 6: Rocky – I’m actually surprised this was so low on their list. Like everyone else, I had no idea who Sylvester Stallone was, but I knew who Burgess Meredith was, though I only knew him as the Penguin from Batman; now that’s a shame! There can’t be anyone who has no clue who Rocky is, so I’ll just leave it with this: “Adrian!!!”

No. 5: Bull Durham – I liked this movie, but for the life of me I really can’t figure out why so many sports guys think it’s so great. Sure, it had Kevin Costner before he started irritating all of us, along with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (who hooked up and lived 19 years or so with each other), but as a baseball movie I keep thinking there were better performances, or at least other movies that touched or entertained me more.

No. 4: Rudy – never saw this one, and I haven’t been compelled either. I just know it’s the supposedly true story of a team manager for Notre Dame that got to play in a game; maybe someone else can enlighten me and tell me why I need to see this.

No. 3: Raging Bull – now this is what I’m talking about. A movie about the one time middleweight champion of the world Jake LaMotta, it was one of the best performances by any actor in history, and in this case it was Robert DeNiro. He had to first get into great shape for the boxing scenes, then gain more than 60 pounds to play the same character as an older guy; it was the first time any actor did that. And it was filmed in black and white; great stuff. The funny thing is that the real Vicki LaMotta was prettier than the actress who played her; that rarely happens.

No. 2: Field Of Dreams – another baseball movie, and once again one that has never really captured me; my favorite baseball movie, very apparent now, is The Natural. But almost everyone knows this line, even if they don’t remember it came from this movie: “If you build it, they will come.” Another Kevin Costner movie.

No. 1: Hoosiers – Gene Hackman won an Oscar for this movie as best actor, and that’s about the only thing I know about it because I never saw it. It’s about a small town high school basketball team in Indiana that ends up winning the state title. That’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, that’s my commentary on someone else’s list. Of course you know that within the next couple of months I’ll be putting together my own list of top whatever number of sports movies I determine I need. And you can bet my top 10 list will have some “real” football movies on it; yeah I said it!

The Natural



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