G-Pop Top Spot
Greatest Fictional Sports Movies of All Time
by Jon Minners
The holiday break is over and now I can concentrate on what matters most: me. You should do the same.
After spending hundreds of dollars on everyone else, this is the time to spend money on you and when you need some after-holiday comfort, buying DVDs is the perfect solution.
The following are such films in no particular order:
Love and Basketball: This is my personal favorite film, starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, that goes beyond love and actually does a good job at examining high school, college and pro sports. There is a lot of focus on how attitude can affect college scouts, how being a high school star means nothing when playing for a college team, the perils of entering the draft at too young an age, and the temptations that come with superstardom. The film also takes a hard look at women in basketball, including overseas tours and the WNBA.
Major League: This movie stars Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes, the guy who nailed up his gloves after every stolen base. It also starred Charlie Sheen as Wild Thing, the relief pitcher who just needed a pair of funky glasses to help him become a force on the mound. Tom Berenger also played an aging catcher and Corbin Bernsen is a cocky third baseman. All must come together to stop the Cleveland Indians from become basement dwellers and turn into a playoff contending team.
Slap Shot: Paul Newman stars in a movie that made hockey interesting, as a team of losers resorts to fighting and brutal thuggery to win games. I really enjoyed it and who can forget the Hanson Brothers and their wacky antics? For kid-friendlier fare, The Mighty Ducks was also pretty awesome.
Sunset Park: Rhea Perlman learns the game of basketball from her players while teaching them how to be winners. Donít laugh. This was a great movie that also featured Terrence Howard of the critically acclaimed Hustle & Flow, as one of the players. And the film deals with PSAL sports, which I cover each and every week as the sports editor for the Bronx Times Reporter. This film hit home.
Above the Rim: Tupac starred in this film about a high school basketball star tempted by life on the streets. I watched this movie an infinite number of times while playing ball in Loreto Park and every time I saw the dunks and street ball action, I would get pumped and go play some myself.
White Men Canít Jump: Yea, I like basketball. Couldnít you tell? But this film was great. Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson did a great job together working as a pair of bickering hustlers who trick people into playing for money and then must come together for a big tournament with everything on the line.
Bad News Bears: Think little leagues with a whole lot of attitude. This is a lot of fun and inspiring for ball players lacking the confidence they need to succeed. Everyone can be a winner. This film, both versions, proves that.
The Sandlot: If you have a real love of baseball, this film takes it back to its basics; away from big money contracts and steroid scandals. This is about a bunch of kids who come together over the love of the game. Itís heartwarming.
Poolhall Junkies: If you enjoy pool and loved the movie The Color of Money, this is a great little gem no one really knows about. It has some of the best dialogue I have seen and it features Christopher Walken as one of the stars. But if you needed another reason to enjoy the film, Chazz Palminteri, of A Bronx Tale, is the filmís bad guy.
Kingpin: Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray really do a good job, as aging bowling rivals. Harrelson, who loses his hand in a horrific ball-return accident, takes a bowling prodigy, who just happens to be Amish, under his wing. But Harrelson must bowl the big game and reclaim the glory he once enjoyed. The bowling scenes were awesome.
Rocky: I just saw the latest installment. I loved it. The entire Rocky series is inspiring. From the bum on the street to the big shot on Wall Street; everyone can be a champion with a little heart. After watching this movie, I immediately ran up all the steps to my home, all three of them, and I was never prouder of myself. Rocky will make a believer out of you, too.
Well, there you have it. Now, go to a store, buy some sports movies, enjoy the playoff games this Sunday and just give back to yourself. You only have so much time left. Valentineís Day is only a few weeks away.