The best sports movies of all-time

Jake Keeley

As Oscar season approaches, I’d like to break down the top five sports movies of all-time. I’ll try not to discriminate. We’ll be starting in reverse order, because what’s a list without a big reveal?

5. “Space Jam” – “You ever heard of the Dream Team? Well, we’re the mean team!” With such a collection of talent the Monstars had, it’s almost inconceivable to think that the TuneSquad had a chance. These guys were literally 11 feet tall, and could jump out of the gym. Until Bill Murray shows up, that is. Really though, MJ, Bill Murray, Daffy Duck… what else do you need?

4. “Rocky” – Realize when I say Rocky, what I really mean is Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV and I’m also including Creed. Although severely undersized in every match he enters, Balboa is the greatest heavyweight champion there ever was. How Rocky gets by in these fights strictly on guts is incredible. I could watch Rocky all day. I can’t begin to name the accolades Rocky has achieved. I want to shine light on the fact that by beating the Ivan “The Siberian Express” Drago, Rocky single-handedly ended the Cold War. Nobody ever seems to mention that.

3. “Major League” – One of the most quotable movies ever. The film was impeccably cast, as every character brought something to the table. Charlie Sheen, plays a misfit pitcher, Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, who was last seen in the California Penal League with velocity approaching triple digits. Meanwhile, Harry Doyle provides the hilarious commentary as the Cleveland Indians try to climb their way out of the American League cellar.

2. “Hoosiers” – Have you ever watched a movie where the most important character only has four lines? Enter “Hoosiers.” Yes, Jimmy Chitwood stars in this film with only four lines. Chitwood is no filler, straight substance. His game follows the same format. Perhaps the purest shooter in the cinematic scene, Chitwood will midrange you to death. Shame on Gene Hackman for drawing up a play with Jimmy as a decoy with the game on the line, props to Jimmy for speaking up – “I’ll make it.”

1. “Hard Ball” – “I love it when ya call me big poppa!” Continuously underrated, I will finally give Hard Ball its hardware. Keanu Reeves plays gambling addict Conor O’Neill, who takes a rag-tag bunch of inner city kids to the pinnacle of Chicago youth baseball. Perpetual bad influence, Ticky, would normally be my favorite character in any other film. However, G-Baby steals the show (pour some out). Additionally, vintage Bow Wow is on the soundtrack. Win-Win.

Honorable mentions

“Remember The Titans” – Denzel Washington as coach Herman Boone gets a ton of credit for bringing the team, along with the city together. I don’t buy it. Gerry Bertier returns as a consensus All-American, while Julius Campbell is one of the most dominant pass rushers I can think of. This team had so much talent, “five-time player of the week” Alan Bosley got benched. When you evaluate the roster T.C. Williams had, there shouldn’t even be a movie.

“Coach Carter” – Samuel L. Jackson could be my coach any day of the week. He was hard on the team, yet fair. “Coach Carter” wins the Oscar for best scene (they’re my Oscars, I make them as I please), when “Let the Drummer Kick” is playing while Carter contemplates his next move. So much drama. So much passion.

“Sandlot” – What a great group of kids, led by five-tool player Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. The story revolves around newcomer Scotty Smalls, who honestly couldn’t have been a worse lead. What Smalls lacks, however, Michael “Squints” Palledorous makes up for in droves.

“Miracle” – “Why’d ya wanna play cawlidge hawkey?” “Isn’t it obvious? For the girls!” Herb Brooks delivers one of the best speeches in sports movie history. Mike Eruzione continues to do everything he can to associate himself with the miracle on ice, as he should. Beating the Russians should be enough to warrant a watch.

If those aren’t enough, you should still watch: “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Caddyshack,” “The Rookie,” “Kingpin,” “Rudy,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Rookie of the Year,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Bull Durham.”