Sports movies—they help shape our personalities, determine who we associate with and bridge generational gaps, but above all, they continue to spark endless debates.
The only indisputable fact that people agree on is that the great ones stand the test of time.
But which are the great ones?
MSG Network will attempt to clear up this timeless quandary as they roll out their third installment of the Emmy award-winning series The Lineup on Monday, April 8th at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The show will debut eight 30-minute episodes, each one guaranteed to have spirited debate on the following types of sports movies: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Boxing, Golf, Hockey, Horse Racing and Miscellaneous.
Charismatic host and veteran catcher who spent time with the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees Fran Healy will be surrounded by a panel including Academy Award-nominated director, producer and actor Spike Lee, Emmy Award-winning actor and writer Robert Wuhl, Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri and acclaimed film critic Jeffrey Lyons.
Healy was the voice of reason on the 1977 Yankees and now plays the same role on this show as he manages all the talent and opinions of Lee, Lyons, Wuhl and Palminteri.
The Lineup was originally created to generate interest and a lot of discussion, Healy said.
This series had a lot of discussion because even when we did the panel, in the middle of it, they'd say, "What about this movie?" We could have gone on forever—the show is outstanding.
I had a chance to speak to Palminteri and get inside the mind of the man behind A Bronx Tale. He spoke about why he loves sports movies and gave a little spoiler into some of his all-time favorites.
Do you like the romanticized aspect of sports movies like Chazz Palminteri or do you like the darkness and reality of them like Robert Wuhl?
It's really about getting into what the movie is about—about them, about the people. The Pride of the Yankees was great. I love that movie and think that was a great movie. Somebody Up There Likes Me I really liked, and Raging Bull—I thought was a great movie too.
You may remember Wuhl as the creator and Star of the hit HBO show Arli$$ as well as his characters Marty in Blue Chips and Larry in Bull Durham.
Wuhl—who may be the most opinionated and animated of the group—gave a great insight into what fans can expect from him over the course of the eight episodes.
Jeffrey [Lyons] and I have known each other for 30 years, so we've been having this argument for 30 years now. Fran and Chazz are much more into the Hollywood endings, feel-good, romanticized world of sports. I'm not as much, I'm much more into the darkness side and underbelly, but love a good story.
I think the most under-appreciated baseball move of all-time is the original Bad News Bears. It's a great movie. It's about America, it's about competition, it's about capitalism, it's about suburbia—I think that's a great movie.
A big part into why this mini-series is sure to captivate fans is because the panel is likely to be saying the same thing you have been saying about your favorite sports movies for years.
Some of your favorite celebrities and athletes will be a part of the show as well, and to whet your appetite, here are just some of their quotes.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
On The Natural:
I love the movie. I don't know about that ball exploding, though. I don't know about that. I haven't seen that happen.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
On playing for Hoosiers’ Coach Dale:
It would be very difficult, because as a kid you don’t really understand the game…so to have somebody on you like that every second, every day, all day, it can be tough.
Billy Baldwin, Actor
On seeing Field of Dreams for the second time and crying again:
There’s some girl that I’m dating and she wants to go see Field of Dreams, and I’m thinking, OK, I’m safe, I’m safe, it’s two weeks later. I said, "Let’s go see it." All of a sudden, we’re getting closer, and we’re getting closer, we’re getting closer, and we get to the moment where he says, "Hey Dad, will you play catch?" and his voice cracks again. And I go down in the aisle. I am sobbing, crying, snot bubbles coming out of my nose again, and I don’t know if this woman thought, "I’ve gotta marry this guy because he’s so in touch with his sensitivity" or "Is this the biggest wimp I’ve ever met?"
Marcus Camby, New York Knicks
On He Got Game:
Great, great movie. I mean, even guys today still call Ray Allen "Jesus."
Joe Morris, Former Giants Running Back
I can identify with his work ethic…when you're five-foot-seven and you play in the NFL, you've heard a lot of people tell you, "Not going to happen." My high school guidance counselor said to me, he said, "Not going to happen, Joe. You’re not playing in the NFL." It just shows you what perseverance can do for a player.
Joe Namath, Former Jets Legend
On North Dallas Forty:
Yeah, that was gritty, that was pretty close to a lot of things. Nolte was very good. I enjoyed that movie. I enjoyed it more 20 years later, because when you're a football player, at least this one, I have a tendency to critique everything that’s going on right now—"We wouldn't do that, we wouldn't be..."—so it’s distracting. But years later I looked at North Dallas Forty again, and I really appreciated it.
Steve Schirripa, Actor
On Raging Bull:
Everybody loved that movie, of course, with what DeNiro did, but it was also a history lesson. Not that many people knew about Jake LaMotta before that movie. Now everyone knows. Before that, who’s Jake LaMotta? At least for younger people. And you got a little mob stuff in there, you got boxing stuff, you got New York stuff. That movie had the whole thing.
Monday, April 8 @ 10:30pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Baseball"
Tuesday, April 9 @ 11:00pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Basketball"
Wednesday, April 10 @ 11:00pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Football"
Thursday, April 11 @ 11:30pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Boxing"
Monday, April 15 @ 10:30pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Golf"
Tuesday, April 16 @ 9:00pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Hockey"
Wednesday, April 17 @ 11:30pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Horse Racing"
Thursday, April 18 @ 10:30pm ET – The Lineup: "Best Sports Movies – Miscellaneous"
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.