Recently, I was watching television and I stumbled upon a special called AFI's 10 Top 10.
The special listed what AFI (the American Film Institute) believed to be the 10 best films from 10 different genres. Included in these lists were animation, science fiction, western, and epics.
What made this special worth it was that it also listed the 10 best sports movies. Most of them I had seen before. I'll probably be punished for the fact that I have never seen Raging Bull (ranked No.1), The Pride of the Yankees (ranked No. 3) or especially Hoosiers (ranked No.4).
I might as well check those out one day.
It got me thinking about some of my favorite sports movies. There are so many sports films that have been hit or miss, but for the most part, if the film has any involvement in sports, you can bet that I'll be watching it unless for some unholy reason they do another sequel to Major League.
Below I have listed my five favorite sports movies, but before I get to those, here are some of my favorite sports movies that get an honorable mention.
Missing out on my list are Jerry Maguire, Rocky and The Rookie.
These three movies are awesome. All three of these movies have characters trying to make big dreams.
How can you not root for Jerry's lone client, Rod Tidwell, to make something of himself to rebound Jerry's failing career as a sports agent in Jerry Maguire?
How could you not root for underdog Rocky Balboa to beat the cocky and flamboyant Apollo Creed, and how could you not pull for a Rookie that is pushing 40 in Jimmy Morris? These movies are insanely great, which made it tough for me to leave them out, but only because these five stick to my head as classics.
5. The Sandlot
Yes, it is a kids' movie, but it is also a baseball movie; a really great baseball movie about the love of the sport. You see these nine friends enjoy a summer that they would never ever forget as Scotty Smalls narrates that if it wasn't for his friendship with Benny Rodriguez, baseball would not be a part of his life.
A lot of great scenes are memorable in this film. The scene where Squints talks about how a giant dog named The Beast has to be locked out "Forreeevvveerrr" is hilarious. Also, the part where they are trying to get a Babe Ruth signed ball, which Scotty ignorantly used to play a game, that went over the fence where The Beast sleeps. Even if you're 10 or 100, if you like baseball, you can not hate on this film.
4. Brian's Song
This movie was not eligible for the AFI list because it was not a theatrical release. However, this movie has the uncanny ability to make grown men cry their eyes out.
Man does this movie kill me every time it's on.
The true story of the unlikely friendship between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo fighting for a starting spot for the Chicago Bears is brilliant.
Every time I see the scene where Brian is in his death bed, I'm done.
Even worse is when I see Gale talking about winning the game for Brian in the locker room.
If this movie does not move you, then you have no soul.
3. Remember the Titans
This is probably the best Disney movie ever. It's a true story about how one team separates a community after the hiring of a black coach named Herman Boone. The determination of uniting his team, black and white, as one becomes a major triumph as the team manages to win the state title after their star quarterback is paralyzed after getting in a major car accident. Although Denzel Washington won two Academy Awards for other movies, I still think this was one of his top-notch performances.
He's on the field for about 15 seconds, but it took many years of determination for Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger to battle his way for a chance to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish that draws you into the story.
It's tough watching him train with the team and not getting his shot until the players go to coach Dan Devine's office and put their jerseys on his desk in Rudy's defense to play. It's disgustingly cheesy, yet effective. "Rudy" is the kind of film that inspires people to never give up on their shot to dream, and when Rudy is carried off of the field and you see the fact on the screen that said he was the last player to be carried off the field, you see what an impact he made on that team as well as Notre Dame's history.
1. Field of Dreams
This movie just plain rocks.
The AFI put it on its 10 best fantasy films, therefore it was ineligible to be on the sports films list.
Are you kidding me? The institute should have made an exception.
Two scenes made this movie an instant classic for me. The scene where Terrence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, says his monologue on how people will come to see a bunch of dead guys play baseball on a cornfield is mindblowing. I get chills just thinking about it.
And if you think Brian's Song's ending will bring the waterworks, the ending of this movie will have you drowning when he's playing baseball with his dad. I watch this movie over and over again, and it is not only one of my favorite sports movies, it happens to be one of my favorite movies in general.
Just thinking about the final scene makes me want to get the Kleenex.
Maybe we need a bunch of dead baseball players to come to Fairgrounds Field to increase attendance?
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.