Guys That Are in Every Sports Movie

Sean Evans@@seanseaevansContributor IIIDecember 18, 2013

Guys That Are in Every Sports Movie

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Just as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Sylvester Stallone disproportionately star in action films, there are a handful of Hollywood actors who seem to be partial to sports-related scripts.

    But this particular list is dedicated to those few actors who crave athlete-driven roles with the unyielding enthusiasm of a sold-out crowd. 

    From the veteran savvy of a crafty Kevin Costner to the buffoonery of Will Ferrell, these are the guys that are in every sports movie.



Chelcie Ross

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    FilmsTrouble With the CurveRudyMajor LeagueHoosiers  

    If you're familiar with Chelcie Ross' sports films, you probably look at the Billy Bob Thornton doppelganger in an unpleasant way.

    He was the coach who was reluctant to play his pint-sized overachiever in Rudy, a spitball-dependent pitcher in Major League and the force against coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers

    When it comes to playing a real creep, the guy has Philip Seymour Hoffman-like range.


Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine

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    FilmsRookie of the YearD2: The Mighty DucksD3: The Mighty Ducks 

    Many young boys of the '90s spent their formative years crushing hard on the magnetic Ms. Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine.

    She was hot enough for the cover of Tiger Beat and infinitely more skilled in goal than the vastly overrated Greg Goldberg. 

    At a time when we had 8 p.m. bedtimes and drank from juice boxes, Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine was our Marilyn Monroe.


Adam Sandler

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    FilmsHappy Gilmore; The Longest Yard; The Waterboy 

    No one captures the carnal rage of sports quite like an unhinged Mr. Gilmore. 

    Some might argue against the artistic integrity of Adam Sandler's films, but there's no debating his ability to capture the undiluted frustration of missing a gimme putt.


Denzel Washington

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    FilmsHe Got Game; The Hurricane; Remember the Titans

    Denzel Washington is one of the most versatile and commanding actors in the world. 

    As long as there are roles for enlightened coaches or magnetic sports personalities, Mr. Washington will have work.

Barbara Hershey

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    FilmsHoosiersThe Natural 

    Barbara Hershey is the only name on this list with only two sports films, but her whimsical and supportive presence in Hoosiers gives her dominion over other competitors.

    Watch this clip and argue otherwise. It's impossible.



Tom Cruise

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    FilmsJerry Maguire; Days of Thunder; The Color of Money 

    Between his "Show me the money!" scene in Jerry Maguire and shirtless volleyball game in Top Gun, Tom Cruise vaunts some of the silver screen's signature sports moments. 

    Though when you're 5'7" with salon quality hair at all times, scripted melodrama is about the only way to affect the culture of sports.

Wesley Snipes

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    FilmsWhite Men Can't Jump; Play It To the Bone; The Fan; Major League; Wildcats 

    Say what you will about his accounting skills, but Wesley Snipes' range as an actor in sports movies is absolutely unmatched.

    He's played a baseball player for two different franchises, a hustler on the pick-up basketball court and—in the most galvanizing role of his career—a defiant malcontent-turned-high school football hero in Wildcats.

Rene Russo

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    FilmsTwo for the Money; Major League; Major League II; Tin Cup 

    Sports movie aficionados know that on-field scenes can only do so much to develop an athlete's character arc. So, there's always a snarky and free-spirited love interest to challenge the protagonist.

    Rene Russo was more than a pretty face. She was there to remind Roy McAvoy and Jake Taylor of the things that really matter in life.

Will Ferrell

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    FilmsSemi-ProTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky BobbyKicking & Screaming 

    Often times, sports movies can be insufferably grandiose. You can thank (or blame) films like Coach CarterRudy and Remember the Titans for inspiring a generation of melodramatic sideline motivators.

    Will Ferrell, however, provides a refreshing pardon from the typically exaggerated artistry of sports.

Dennis Quaid

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    FilmsSoul Surfer; The Express; The Rookie; Any Given Sunday  

    Dennis Quaid is one of Hollywood's most prolific brooders. He’s also blessed with the silver-haired moxie of a Vikings-era Brett Favre.

    In sum, he's a more believable old-hand athlete than R.A. Dickey or Andre Miller, which is why he’s constantly playing the past-his-prime jock. 

Woody Harrelson

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    FilmsWhite Men Can’t Jump; Semi-Pro; Play It to the Bone; Kingpin; Wildcats 

    If you placed a $5 bet on Woody Harrelson becoming a leading man after his film debut in Wildcats, you'd be drinking from a bottle of Dom Perignon on a private beach in St. Barts right now. 

    Despite his humble beginnings, Harrelson's become a Hollywood icon and vaunts starring roles in arguably two of the greatest sports movies ever: White Men Can't Jump and Kingpin.


Paul Newman

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    FilmsThe HustlerSlap ShotThe Color of Money 

    Long before he became the face of salad dressing, Paul Newman was a sports movie juggernaut.

    He was especially brilliant in pool hall movies like The Hustler and The Color of Money, but he also played the iconic role of Reggie Dunlop in the hockey film Slap Shot.



Bill Murray

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    FilmsSpace Jam; Kingpin; Caddyshack 

    With all due respect to Cuba Gooding Jr., Billy Murray's performance as Ernie McCracken (Kingpin) deserved the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1996. 

    If for no other reason than to afresh Murray's bowling alley hijinks, Hollywood needs to develop a Pete Weber biopic.

Kevin Costner

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    Films: Field of Dreams; Bull Durham; For The Love of The Game; Tin Cup 

    Kevin Costner is to the weathering, veteran ballplayer as Michael Cera is to the idiosyncratic wallflower.

    The Bull Durham star delivers on-field life lessons like a mildly athletic, considerably more photogenic Mr. Feeney.

    Without quarrel, Costner is the sports movie king.