Moneyball, Major League and the 10 Greatest Sports Films Ever
Moneyball opens on Friday and stars Brad Pitt as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane. Pitt looks like he will be at his quirky, high-strung best, while Jonah Hill co-stars as his stat geek partner-in-crime. The movie centers on the true story of the A's, as they attempt to build a contender on a budget.
There is little doubt it will do well at the box office, and should have some definite entertainment value. However, it has a long way to go to match up to these 10 classics.
No. 10 Caddyshack
Quite possibly the funniest film of all time, Caddyshack stars Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and the late Rodney Dangerfield at their comedic best.
When Danny Noonan goes against Judge Smails, we all thought his life was over. Little did we know, some 30 years later he would change his name to Rory McIlroy and become golf’s biggest new star. OK, the years don’t add up, but take a look at this picture and tell me they don’t look alike. Go ahead. I dare you.
No. 9 A League of Their Own
Geena Davis stars as one of two sisters who join the first professional women’s baseball league. The men were off to World War II, and the girls take it upon themselves to keep America’a pastime going.
Tom Hanks is entertaining as former slugger turned women’s manager Jimmy Dugan, loosely based off of Jimmie Foxx. Dugan gets in touch with his feminine side after scaring some of the ladies with his proclamation, "THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!"
And yes that's Madonna on the poster. Yes, that Madonna.
No. 8 Major League
A complete guilty pleasure, Major League has become a classic fan favorite. With Charlie Sheen as “Wild Thing” (quite the fortuitous nickname) Ricky Vaughn, Tom Berenger as the cranky old catcher, and Wesley Snipes as the cocky young outfielder Willie "Mays" Hayes what’s not to love?
Best line of the film has to be Manager Lou Brown to Hayes: “You may run like Mays, but you hit like sh—“
No. 7 Bull Durham
The tagline pretty much captures the essence of this film: "It’s all about sex and sport. What else is there?"
When veteran catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is assigned to Class A Durham to help guide the team’s new star (Tim Robbins), he is none too happy about it. Groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t make things any easier.
No. 6 Rocky
Yes, many of you will be outraged to see Rocky this low but let’s call a spade a spade here: There may not be a film with less realistic sports scenes than those of fist-magnet Rocky Balboa.
Not even Chuck Whepner (Stallone’s inspiration for the film after taking a 15-round beating from Muhammad Ali) could have taken anything near the damage Balboa absorbed. In fact, listening to Stallone’s slurred speech now (or is that his acting style?) I often wonder if he took his role a little too seriously.
No. 5 Any Given Sunday
In director Oliver Stone’s star-studded drama, we follow slick-footed quarterback Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx), and the Miami Sharks in their quest to capture another Pantheon Cup.
Stone goes in-depth into the violent and controversial lives of these egotistical stars. The NFL would like you to believe the film is nothing but a dramatization, but there is a feeling here it is a little too close to the truth for comfort.
Dennis Quaid stars as an aging star "Cap" Rooney whose character could easily be replaced by that of Brett Favre, and the film would not miss a beat. Lawrence Taylor basically plays himself, and Jim Brown is great as the team's defensive coordinator.
Performances and cameos by numerous NFL stars and Hall-of-Famers give some added fun to this thriller.
No. 4 Hoosiers
Hoosiers, based on a true story, follows a small-town in Indiana that rides their underdog act all the way to the State Finals.
Gene Hackman stars as the coach with his own comeback story, while Dennis Hopper charms as the local, basketball-loving drunk.
No. 3 The Natural
Robert Redford stars as Ruthian great Roy Hobbes. Hobbes is a phenom pitcher that is struck by tragedy, and his career is seemingly over. Years later, he returns to the game as a home run-swatting slugger.
A wounded Hobbes sets the stage for one of the most dramatic and recognizable scenes in cinematic history.
No. 2 The Fighter
It took awhile for Mark Wahlberg’s passion project to finally get off the ground. Needless to say, it was worth the wait. The Fighter was nominated for seven Academy Awards, while Christian Bale and Melissa Leo brought home the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively.
The film follows the career of junior welterweight Micky Ward as he struggles to keep his career going. However, it is Bale who steals the show as Micky Ward’s crack-smoking, window-jumping older brother, former boxer Dicky Eklund.
No. 1 Raging Bull
It was a toss-up for No. 1 on this list. Raging Bull stars Robert DeNiro as Sugar Ray Robinson’s career nemesis, Jake LaMotta. Co-starring as LaMotta's trainer/brother is the fantastic Joe Pesci.
The film follows the brothers as Jake takes on Robinson, the mob, and shady fight decisions en route to his dream of becoming middleweight champion.
Director Martin Scorcese’s operatic soundtrack majestically captures the beautiful violence that is boxing. Scorsese, De Niro, and Pesci are one of the great cinematic dream teams, and do not disappoint in this one.