Lest anyone begin to think that I have lost the ability to make outlandish statements about pop culture, expose my cinematic proclivities or open myself up to ridicule about my love of all things Debbie Gibson and Titanic, never fear. With this post I have recommitted to regularly offering more brain candy for your mocking pleasure . . . this week I begin slowly with my favorite sports movies.

As I put this list together, I didn’t really have any set criteria other than these are movies that I could watch over and over again . . . and I tried to choose  five difference sports. So, in order of release year, my Top Five Sports Movies.

cycling || BREAKING AWAY || 1979 starring Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern
If you have not seen Breaking Away, not only will the story grab you, but the moments recognizing some actors when they were young is pretty darn cool. This movie follows some kids as they engage in the cycling and centers around one who pretty much things he is Italian . . . but is soon reminded that he is not. Great closing race scenes. Below is a clip that is way funny as Dave’s “Italian-ness” begins to impact his family.

martial arts || The Karate Kid || 1984 starring Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio and Elisabeth Shue
Lets be clear, you will have a hard time convincing me there has EVER been a greater martial arts based movie than Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, but I chose this because it took place in the context of the martial arts as sport. Whenever I see The Karate Kid, not only do I harken back to my high school crush on Elisabeth Shue, but I remember this movie as one of the first to help bring our some nuances of Asian America. Yes, still Hollywood, but turning the whole wise Asian Master on its butt just a bit was awesome. Pat Morita is still one of my all-time favorites. Below is the climactic “Get him a body bag!” scene.

basketball || HOOSIERS || 1986 starring Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey
Hoosiers in another one of those David and Goliath stories that follows a bigtime coach who made some mistakes and find him self coaching a rural Indiana Basketball team. You can probably guess what happens, but even knowing, this is a really fun movie. Great clip below is as they go into the final game.

baseball || FOR LOVE OF THE GAME || 1999 starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston
His final installment to Costner’s baseball Trilogy, For Love of the Game is about an aging pitcher who relives his life as he is pitching what might be a perfect game.  Inning by inning, batter by batter, we get a glimpse into his past life and what brought him to this place: his family, friends and love. Really well done. Below is the trailer, but the best scene is this one.
HONORABLE MENTION: Bull Durham, The NaturalMajor League and The Bad News Bears. My all-time favorite sports quote comes from the awesome film, A League of Their Own when Tom Hanks’ character screams, “There’s no crying in baseball! No Crying!”

football || REMEMBER THE TITANS || 2000 starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton
Disney did a great job with this retelling of a true story about football team being integrated for the first time. A true feel good filled with social commentary and strong relationships, if your emotions don’t get moved just a bit, you might want to see if that heart inside of you is still beating. And who is that football savvy daughter?
HONORABLE MENTION: Invincible, The Longest Yard (’74) and The Blind Side.

Close calls: Shaolin Soccer (2001), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Hoop Dreams (1994) and Rollerball (1975).

Okay, that’s it.  I understand that every person will have their own set of likes, so feel free to argue some flick onto or off of the list But, let me be very clear, if Blue Chips shows up on your list, I might have to reconsider our relationships. A person can only reach out so far.

Wax on. Wax off.



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