By Doug Halberstadt
As the mercury in the thermometer rises during the dog days of summer, millions of Americans flock to movie theaters to soak up the air conditioning and take in a flick. Whether you’re a fan of adventure, action, comedy or drama, there’s no shortage of films to help kill a couple of hours on a hot summer afternoon or evening. I want to talk about sports movies in this column.
To find the best movies in the sports category, you’ll probably have to skip the theaters and head straight to the rental stores. It’s there you’ll find all 10 of the movies on my list of favorites in this category.
My all-time favorite sports movie is Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. The story is classic. The theme of a family is perfectly portrayed on multiple levels, and it’s all told centered on a baseball diamond carved out of an Iowa cornfield. If you haven’t seen this movie, go rent it — now!
The second movie on my list is the original Rocky. Sylvester Stallone is the prototypical boxer from the streets of Philadelphia. His hard-knocks, self-imposed training regimen inspired millions of Americans to drink raw eggs and punch cold sides of beef. Truly another must-see.
The remainder of my list aren’t necessarily movies I consider must-sees. They are simply sports movies I’ve seen and liked. Perhaps they’d show up on your list, perhaps they wouldn’t. Most of them are sports comedies. That might reveal something about my personality.
No. 3 is Caddy Shack. The Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield classic still evokes laughter from almost everyone at the mere mention of the movie.
A couple of bowling movies come in fourth and fifth. The Big Lebowski and King Pin round out my top five. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman star in the Coen brothers’ cult classic, The Big Lebowski. It’s a case of mistaken identity taken to an entirely new level, mixed with some of the most eclectic bowlers you’ll ever witness.
Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Murray take bowling from a tiny fictional town in Iowa to a Million Dollar Tournament in Reno, Nev. The hijinks along the way are sure to make you laugh out loud.
Another golf movie, Tin Cup, takes spot No. 6. Costner stars as a former golf prodigy who has “retired” to Texas to operate a driving range. When Rene Russo wants a golf lesson, things heat up, and the chemistry between the two is evident on the big screen. Also look for cameos from a number of professional golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Fred Couples, Billy Mayfair and Johnny Miller.
Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal starred in one of top-grossing movies of 1976. I have a soft spot for Matthau, so The Bad News Bears makes my list. This ragtag Little League baseball team scores big on the silver screen.
Another movie about the underdog winning comes in eighth. The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, proves that hard work and discipline will defeat evil every time. Well, at least in the movies it does.
My No. 9 movie is Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This movie is so stupid it’s hilarious. Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen star as rivals on the racetrack, and I didn’t stop laughing from the green flag until the checkered.
The No. 10 spot goes to Miracle. Kurt Russell stars as coach Herb Brooks and tells the improbable story of the USA defeating the Soviet Union in the gold-medal hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Those are my 10 all-time favorite sports-related movies. There are hundreds to choose from. Compose your own list and feel free to share it with me via my e-mail.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
Posted June 26, 2014