I recently learned that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are actually producing a new series for HBO called “Eastbound and Down” which takes us into the world of a burned-out former big league pitcher by the name of Kenny Powers.
After blowing his talent and sabotaging his own career, Powers is forced to settle into a “normal” life all the while trying to prepare for a second chance at the majors, where he can make his big comeback.
Now that short description may seem a little boring but I think you’ll find this link to a trailer much less mundane.http://www.hbo.com/eastboundanddown/video/index.html
I was actually watching one of Will Ferrell’s movies earlier this week, Semi-Pro. This was the second time I had seen it. I don’t remember why I watching it again—boredom, most likely. But as I watched Jackie Moon’s (Ferrell’s) Flint Michigan Tropics beat an opposing team senseless, during which I found myself laughing uncontrollably, it dawned on me that sports films can be pretty damn funny whether they are fictional or not.
This begs the question…what makes a sports movie, funny? The key word here is funny. There have been hundreds of films made about sports over the years, many of them great movies, definitely worth the two hours they take from your life. The Natural, The Sandlot, Field of Dreams, Jerry Maguire, Rocky, I could go on forever.
Interestingly enough, it’s pretty rare that you stumble across a story that you are willing to pay attention to that literally makes you laugh aloud throughout. These films in my opinion are few and far between. So before I give you my top five funniest sports movies list (in no particular order) I want to discuss what I think are the elements needed to make a movie about sports, funny, and not just amusing but funny like I need to hit the pause button before I stop breathing funny.
It’s pretty basic stuff. You need four things: The film must have a character focus (not a team focus), a plot (not necessarily one that makes sense), have an over-the-top aspect to it and is uniquely quotable (this is key).
A funny sports flick needs to be focused on a particular person. That person could be part of a team or a larger group of people but must be the focal point from which the movie originates. This is a general rule for film making as well, you aren’t going to find many movies which don’t focus on a character (in some cases two). Character development and growth needs to be achieved for a film to have meaning.
A plot similar to character focus is essential to all films. It really is self-explanatory, a story needs to be told for a movie to keep the viewers attention as well as get them sucked in to its climax and eventually its conclusion. This one is really not surprise.
The next two components are the most important. A funny sports film needs to have an over the top aspect to it…that could mean the environment (Dodgeball) , the plot (BASEketball), the main character (Bobby Boucher from The Waterboy), a side character (Cerrano from Major League)—but something needs to be “ridiculous.”
“Nobody makes me bleed my own blood.” – White Goodman
And of course, the quotes, the endless supply of magnificently worded phrases which are uttered for eternity. This is easily the most important aspect of a funny sports flick. What is most interesting to me is that the real good ones—i.e. like the one I referenced above, “Dodgeball”—actually get better over time when you aren’t actually watching the movie. Sure you laugh like crazy during it, but probably even more frequently for no apparent reason following it.
Example: I will just be sitting around the house, or maybe at a restaurant with my friends and I will just see something…like a guy walking by in a blazer…which involuntarily triggers, “Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to Blade... Laser... Blazer...” which is followed by laughter, then questions by people asking me what the hell I am laughing followed by a re-cap of said scene in Dodgeball which is followed by other hilarious memories from the movie and then laughter by everyone.
All really funny movies have quotes which do this to you. Dumb and Dumber, Harry: “Whoa, look at the butt on that…?!” Lloyd: “Yeah…he must work out.” It is what makes a film stay burned in your memory.
So without further adieu I give you my top five funniest sports movies of all time, in no particular order.
A must have on any list with the words “funny” and/or “sports” on it. Bill Murray’s portrayal of Carl Spackler is probably one of the funniest characters in the history of film.
Here’s a gem…
"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking.
"So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one—big hitter, the Lama—long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga.
"So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.'
"So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.”
Adam Sandler although not an Oscar winning actor is pretty damn good at character acting—and this is probably the closest thing to a perfect character for his style than is possible. Favorite moment:
Grandma: “Sir, can I trouble you for a warm glass of milk? It helps me go to sleep.”
Ben Stiller as the Nurse: “You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up. Now, you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep. Check out the name tag. You're in my world now, grandma.”
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
The perfect combination of a ridiculous story with a great cast and an endless supply of quotes:
“Cram it up your cram hole, LaFleur!”
Easily the funniest baseball flick of all-time...each character has a shining moment which brings you to your knees laughing. Who would have a thought Pedro Cerrano would end of being the voice of All State Insurance—seriously.
Charlie Donovan: How would you like to manage the Indians this year?
Lou Brown: “Gee, I don't know...”
Charlie Donovan: What do you mean, you don't know? This is your chance to manage in the big leagues.”
Lou Brown: Let me get back to you, will ya, Charlie? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.”
This is a bit of an underrated movie. It is a really funny movie if you can handle the cursing—and honestly a pretty original movie considering the plot. Go and watch it again, you will be surprised.
Douglas“Swish” Reemer: “Oh, I'll come, I love hospitals.”
Joseph R. Cooper: “No you don't, you like Taco Bell!”
Douglas “Swish” Reemer: No, one time I was at this hospital, in France, and I met this great chick.
Joseph R. Cooper: “Dude, that was a hostel.”
The Bad News Bears (The Original)
Best in Show (Although a dog show is really stretching it…)