Favorite Sports Movies
Friday Night Lights
This “based on a true story” film is about a small town in Texas that centers around its high school football. This particular year is 1988 and the school is Permian High School in Odessa, TX. It follows the team throughout the season. They win a couple games, they start to get local media attention. Adversity hits; a star player goes down, how do they bounce back? As well as highlighting the at home struggles of some of the players and pressure that the coach and team are under. Once playoffs roll around the stakes get even higher. The climax of the movie features their playoff game against the heavily favored Dallas Carter High School. This is a favorite of mine because it’s a true story. Some things are changed and glorified for enertmainemt reasons, but for the most part it is pretty true to the real story. The game against Carter High School was exciting. On top of those things, Billy Bob Thorton gives a few speeches that will give you goosebumps; a good speech always adds to a great movie.
The first pick for me is more of a sentimental pick because I think Kevin Costner is the greatest actor ever. How can it get any better than Kevin Costner getting to play himself in a movie about baseball. Along with a superb supporting cast in Susan Suradon and Tim Robbins, this movie is one liner heaven. One of the things that makes a sports movie great to me is it’s ability to make you think beyond the sport itself. The movie revolves around a minor league baseball team, but moreover brings out the motif of perseverance for what you want in life. The movie also throughs in little digs of philosophy that makes you think throughout the movie like “is the modern day athlete a pale interpretation of the great old warriors.” It stands toe to toe with any sports movie out there!
The fourth movie follows Rocky as he takes a step back from fighting, initially. His friend, Apollo, decides to fight a new up and comer Russian named Ivan Drago. The fight ends when Drago kills Apollo. Rocky seeks revenge. The revenge fight will happen in Soviet Russia. Over the course of the film, Rocky travels to Russia and has to train in the elements, in a barn, with no real equipment. While Drago gets state-of-the-art facilities and even gets injected with steroids. My favorite scene is the training montage with “Heart’s on Fire” by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band. Rocky is training in the snow, chopping trees in the freezing cold and running up mountains in ankle deep snow. Not to mention the fight between Rocky and Drago is top tier. It’s a truly great sports movie.
White Men Can’t Jump
May be the greatest introduction to any movie ever. The story follows a hustler named Billy Hoyle played by Woody Harrelson. He comes face to face with his nemesis within 10 minutes in Sideny Deane. Deane is played by Wesley Snipes, and the onscreen chemistry jumps off the page. We get to witness 2 hours of banter between the two stars, who are dealing with much more than the on-screen pick up basketball. They are dealing with socio-economic problems that the average person deals with. Along with these intense themes, and crazy high stakes pick up games. We get one of the best “Yo-mama” joke scenes in cinema history. The highlight of the riff off being “your mama is so poor I saw her kicking a can down the street, I asked her what she was doing and she said moving.” To me, the mix of basketball within two men’s lives who are trying to break even but still risking it all for the game they love makes a great movie.
“Do you believe in miracles?!?! YES!!” Al Michaels announced as the final horn sounded on the 1980 Olympic hockey semifinal game between the USA and USSR. The film is the true story of the 1980 US men’s olympic team. The film follows the team through almost a year of training and practice leading up to the 1980 Olympic games. With the climax of the movie being their game against the USSR. What I like about this movie is the David vs Goliath matchup and the cultural importance. The USSR had won the last 4 gold medals and were a world wide powerhouse. Not only did this win mean a lot to those young men on the hockey team but it gave the USA hope during the Cold War.
I am so partial to movies that were made in the 80’s. It’s my guilty pleasure. There were so many movies that I considered to put here from “Moneyball” to “Caddyshack” to “Field of Dreams”. Many great choices, but to me (and this is my list) this is one of the greatest sports ever. The baddest bad guy in Johnny and Cobra Kai, going up against our hero Danny and Mr.Miyagi! Not only does the movie end thereby in 2020 the story counties with the Cobra Kai series and we get to learn even more about this movie! The reason this movie is the best is because it’s ever evolving and will continue as more and more generations get to watch it’s greatness. “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!”