Top 40 Sports Movies Part 1
With the Summer Olympics currently underway, I think it is an appropriate time to list the Best Sports Movie. At least in my opinion.
40. Whip it
Sport: Roller derby
Story: Bliss Cavender is a rebellious misfit from a traditional Southern family. Her mother is forcing her into beauty pageants, but she finds her calling when she joins up with a badass all-female roller derby league.
MVP: Drew Barrymore as debut director delivering the perfect marriage of girl power, individualism, and untraditional sportsmanship.
39. The Mighty Ducks
Story: A lawyer working off court ordered community service takes on a ragtag peewee hockey team that have been abandoned by every other coach.
MVP: Joss Acklund as Hans, an older man who runs a hockey shop and reinvigorates the love of the game in everyone involved. He is able to not be overly cheesy, and more like a hockey Uncle Ben.
38. Cool Runnings
Story: After failing to get into the Olympics as track stars, a group of Jamaican natives plan to get into the Winter Olympics as bobsledders. No one takes them seriously but a drunk former bobsled coach who was blacklisted from the sport for cheating.
MVP: John Candy as their coach, Irv. He gets to stretch his dramatic and comedic muscles.
37. White Men Can’t Jump
Story: A black basketball player who hustles other players for money finds a doofus looking and acting white guy who is great at basketball. The two of them team up and become quick friends as they take all of the best players for everything they got.
MVP: Tie between Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as the two basketball hustlers. Their chemistry is top-notch.
36. Bend it Like Beckham
Story: Like an English football version of Whip It, an Indian girl rebels against her traditional Sikh parents to take up the sport of football (soccer in America)
MVP: Keira Knightly in one of her earliest performances. If it wasn’t the role that jumpstarted the career she has now, it was at least the first role I recall noticing her in.
Story: The story of the 1980 Olympic hockey team who beat an all-star Soviet team.
MVP: Kurt Russel as Herb Brooks in a fine performance of tough love and optimism.
Story: An HBO original movie about the friendship between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris as they race to break the home run record set by Babe Ruth.
MVP: It is a tough call between Barry Pepper as Maris and Thomas Jane as Mantle, but I think I’d give the edge to Pepper. Maris characteristically was much less charming and outgoing as Mantle, but Pepper is capable of making him as likable as Mantle.
Sport: Future violent version of rollerball
Story: This might be cheating since the sport doesn’t actually exist, but I don’t care. The film takes place in a dystopian future where the violent sport of rollerball is used to distract the population. When the organization tries to make it more violent, their star athlete stands up to the bureaucrats.
MVP: James Caan as star athlete, Jonathan E.
32. The Replacements
Sport: American Football
Story: When a football organization’s line-up goes on strike, they find replacement players from all different walks of life (even prison) to finish out the year.
MVP: Gene Hackman as the replacement coach full of sage wisdom and a real eye for talent.
31. Happy Gilmore
Story: An awful hockey player takes up golf to try and buy his grandmother’s foreclosed house back.
MVP: Carl Weathers as Chubbs, a former golf pro who retired from the game when an alligator bit off his hand. He sees the potential in Happy and helps him hone his skills. Kind of a funnier and goofier performance of Carl Weathers’ Apollo Creed character.