I’ve always loved sports movies. In fact, sports movies are how I came to start working with WFNY. I have a podcast (currently on a brief hiatus) all about sports movies, called “Anything to Add, Monty.” I first met Craig by inviting him to be a guest on our Draft Day episode, and the rest is history. If you follow WFNY on social media, you may have noticed that a certain unnamed member of the staff (Hattery) had a very silly and wrong take on our beloved favorite Major League. We all told him he was wrong (he was) but we needed to give him some other examples of great sports movies, so we came together and we’re all going to talk about them here.
While I am burning Cleveland baseball twitter down, Major League is borderline unwatchable.
— Mike Hattery (@snarkyhatman) July 12, 2017
— Dave Sterling (@dimoko) July 13, 2017
— michael bode (@mgbode_WFNY) July 14, 2017
What is your all-time favorite sports movie? Why is it your favorite? Do you incorporate quotes into your writing, podcasting, or daily life? Any stories about watching it with friends?
Jim: I truly don’t have a singular favorite sports movie. I pretty much like them all, whether they’re overly produced Hollywood crud, or really hard working B Movies that make them A Movies. My five favorites are Hoosiers, Bull Durham, Slapshot, Tin Cup and Field of Dreams, and they literally touch a different part of my psyche for different reasons. That said, if you made me pick one, I’d say Bull Durham, because it catches, for me, everything that is good about the actual game of baseball. I love the minors, and the quite literal differences you see every day in players. A majority of the players are the Crash Davis’s of the world…minor league lifers setting records they don’t want to set because it’s the minors. I spent almost 20 years in the Raleigh/Durham area, right after they moved from Durham Athletic Park (where the movie takes place), but have seen many games there, and love the minor league culture in the area, that was so captured in the movie. Kevin Costner’s been in some dogs, but this movie is the quintessential Costner, the smart ass who thinks he shoulda been more, and finally acknowledges what he is. Roy McAvoy is essentially the same character in Tin Cup.
Dave: Like Jim, it is really tough to pick a favorite. I’ll watch any of them, no matter how bad. One of my favorites is Little Big League, it is a great little movie, with an excellent cast, a great witty script and a very interesting plot. As far as quotes go, nothing can beat Major League. Nothing beats a well placed “Cross him off then.” or a “Shut up Dorn.” One of the aspects of my podcast that I really liked was watching a movie at the same time as my good friend John, my podcasting partner on ATAM. It was fun to see each others perspectives
Josh: I know this wasn’t asked, but I have two favorite sports movie. On the comedy side, it’s definitely Happy Gilmore; on the non-funny and true story side, it’s gotta be Blind Side. While I don’t incorporate either of them into my writing, I do say plenty of Happy Gilmore quotes into my daily life. You can never watch either of those too many times, and when I was a kid, my gamertag for Playstation 2 online was even ShooterMcGavin23, which proved how much I loved that movie. Due to the fact that I’m not much of a movie guy, I haven’t watched either movie in quite some time. But if I had to watch a movie at this moment, those two would be in my top three or four of movies I would choose.
Bode: Major League has a strong pull here, but my favorite sport’s movie is still Caddyshack. It has a terrible plot, horrific acting, the premise is nonsensical, and the worst part of the movie is the main theme (Danny Noonan’s character arc). Who cares? The movie is a fantastic series of Saturday Night Live skits complete with one-liners and punchlines throughout with the greatest collection of comedians ever assembled for major roles in a movie. The lines of this movie still being known and utilized constantly 37 years after the initial release speaks for itself. How many of us haven’t used “You’ll have nothing and like it” or “So I got that going for me, which is nice” or “Thank you very little” over and over again (among the million other catch phrases that came out of it)?
Gilbert: My all-time favorite sports movie may be unconventional, but it is Space Jam. Space Jam came out during my early childhood and so I sort of grew up on it. I use many of the quotes and moments of the movie throughout my daily life. Comparing teams to the Monstars and hoping a halftime talk contained the drinking of “Michael’s Special Stuff.” Space Jam is just a fun movie with some of the best cartoon characters of all time and one of the great athletes of all time. I love the cameos from the former NBA players and big time actors like Bill Murray. It is sort of an inspirational movie about over coming the odds and winning as the underdog. What’s not to like about Space Jam?
What is an unpopular sports movie take that you have? Is there a movie you love that others hate? Or one you hate that others seem to love? Why do is it over-or-under-rated?
Jim: I liked Draft Day. Why mince words. I’ve only seen it once. I laughed throughout because of its ridiculousness. None of the movie is true. They screw up everything, and the best part of the movie, Dennis Leary, is made to look like an asshat for having the only true take. But c’mon, think about this. Don’t you think, if anyone could manage to trade three first rounders for the first pick, then take a linebacker nobody wants until maybe 15, then trade three second rounders for the sixth pick, then use the sixth pick to trade BACK to the team who gave you the first pick, get all your first rounders back, go with the rugged quarterback you already have, and take Arian Fos…er…some running back with the No. 7 pick, it would be the Browns? This movie is ludicrous, and really sucks, and I love it for that very reason. C’mon people, it’s Hollywood…relax.
Dave: There are a few here. Slap Shot has a great first and last 10 minutes, and the middle is pretty much garbage. The Program has its problems, but is miles ahead of Any Given Sunday. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh is definitely worth watching. Also Space Jam is one of the worst movies ever made. But, as I said in the beginning, it almost doesn’t matter how bad a sports movie is. I’ll watch it. I’ve watched The Benchwarmers multiple times, and it is painful to watch.
Josh: Caddyshack isn’t a good movie. It may just be the fact that the first (and only) time I watched the movie was when I was a little kid, but I was expecting it to be a movie I would continuously laugh at; I did the complete opposite. My thoughts on the movie may change now that I am a bit older, but I will most likely never give it another chance.1
Bode: Here is where I mention that Major League 2 gets a bad reputation mostly based on not being as grand as Major League. The main story arc around Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn is terrible (much like Danny Noonan in Caddyshack), however there are a ton of redeemable and funny parts throughout. Rube Baker is hilarious. There is a prototypical Lou Brown angry speech about excuses that ends with “Who used heart attack? Me!” exchange. Plus, “not those Giants” was a fantastic way at introducing the Japanese outfielder into the film. Hiroshi “Kamikaze” Tanaka then winds up being the best character in the film as he runs into walls, breaks out samurai swords, and introduces the world to the marble dance as he challenges Pedro Cerrano’s manhood. Omar Epps mocking Wesley Snipes through the Willie Mays Hays character even gives an off screen tangent to add to the humor.
Gilbert: Bull Durham is one of the most overrated movies of all-time. It is just flat out boring to me. The first time I watched the movie, I was at a baseball tournament in Cooperstown. I was watching it with some of the players from the team I was there with. It took only about 20 or 30 minutes of the movie for many of the kids and me to get up and leave. These kids were baseball fanatics, too. I’m sorry I just do not understand the infatuation with that movie. But to each his own.
- Editor’s note: and now you know why we blame Millenials for all the problems of society. Carry on. [↩]