The Most Insane Sports Movies You've Never Heard of
Have you seen Pentathlon?
You'd probably remember if you had, considering it was a movie about Neo-Nazi pentathletes starring Dolph Lundgren—not exactly the kind of project Hollywood green-lights every day.
Indeed, Hollywood has come up with some...unique...sports-themed movies over the past 80 or so years, and the following are some of the strangest and unbelievable titles that might have slipped beneath your radar.
These are the most insane sports movies you've never heard of, and they'll probably leave you with more questions than answers.
'Graduation Day' (1981)
Premise: A high school track team is terrorized by a crazed killer.
Before Scream, there was Graduation Day—a film where a group of high school friends are chased, terrorized and murdered with fencing swords, pole-vault death traps and other sports-themed devices.
Long jumpers across the nation couldn't compete for months without fearing that every leap would end up with them screaming in a sandy bear trap.
Premise: Gus, a football-kicking mule from Yugoslavia, shakes up the National Football League.
Long before Airbud, there was Gus—a Disney film about a nerdy kid and his talented mule who made an unlikely foray into professional football.
For the record, that's a sentence I never expected I'd type in my life.
'Too Many Girls' (1940)
Premise: A rich man hires college football players to secretly follow/protect his spoiled daughter (Lucille Ball) while she's away at college. The college has a 10:1 girl to guy ratio, thus Too Many Girls.
The bodyguard players are all stars at Ivy Leagues schools (besides Maneulito, who's an "Argentinian prospect") and they leave their scholarships on the table in exchange for the opportunity to follow Lucille Ball around at an almost all-girls school.
You may be thinking "Wow. Some guy paid four 20-year-old dudes to secretly follow his party-hound daughter at college. Seems a bit short-sighted."
Don't worry. Daddy made them sign a "No Romance" clauses in their contract—the most bulletproof of fictional liability assurances.
'Kung Fu Dunk' (2008)
Premise: An orphan boy who grows up in a "kung fu" school decides to pick up basketball and becomes the LeBron of Asia, more or less.
Kung Fu Dunk is what happens when screenwriters get Kung Fu Drunk and start writing basketball movies.
Gravity exists only in the most basic sense in this film. Things go up, and eventually come down—whether it's in five seconds or 20 seconds is the only variable.
'The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon' (1998)
Premise: A Philadelphia garbage man with a mighty leg goes from average Joe to NFL kicker.
Tony Danza is a frustrated Philadelphia garbage man who's embarrassed to be seen doing menial work.
He's seemingly doomed to be a moody, garbage-collecting nobody forever, that is, until the equally frustrated owner of the Philadelphia Eagles sees Danza tee off on an empty water jug.
The jug sails forever and the owner offers him a spot on the Eagles roster, because jug-kicking and football kicking are transferable skills.
The rest of the movie is whacky, average-guy-meets-superstar-athletes humor and rib-eating contests—beautiful rib-eating contests.
'The Guy Who Came Back'
Premise: An aging, out-of-shape football player does everything short of joining the circus in the name of getting back into the game.
The Guy Who Came Back is the story of Harry Joplin—a washed up athlete/raging alcoholic who's willing to do anything to get a second shot at playing in the league.
Wallowing in his unfulfilled dreams, Joplin tries anything and everything to make ends meet for his family and find a sense of purpose. The military won't take him because he's banged up from playing football, and he turns to pro-wrestling, standup comedy and anything else he can think of.
He eventually manages to become an alternate for a non-professional football team and makes a redemptive last touchdown.
Honestly, this sounds like an excellent movie. That being said, whoever was in charge of naming this film truly dropped the ball.
'The Bear' (1984)
Premise: A biographical retelling of Paul "Bear" Bryant's life, starring Gary Busey as Bear Bryant.
Bear Bryant had the heart of a champion and the eye of the liger. He remains today an icon of the heights to which a coach can aspire to be.
Who better to portray such a monolith of determination, inner-strength and competitiveness than Gary Busey?
No one. No. One.
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'Shaolin Soccer' (2001)
Premise: Former kung fu fighters reunite to master soccer and spread the Shaolin kung fu discipline to the masses because why not.
Some of you may be familiar with Shaolin Soccer, but for the cross section of our readership that doesn't spend evenings alone drinking and cruising Netflix for cheesy films, it's probably not a familiar title.
That being said, it's everything you could ever want out of a movie about kung fu soccer. Take that however you wish.
'The World's Greatest Athlete' (1973)
Premise: American track coaches discover a super-athlete while on safari in Africa.
This is the story of Nanu—a freakishly fast feral human who lives in the African savannas and can outrun a cheetah. After being discovered by the coaches, Nanu returns to America and starts demolishing track meets.
While he can outrun a cheetah, Nanu only manages an 8.00 100-yard dash—because Disney wants to keep this in the realm of plausibility.
Premise: A promising pentathlete wins gold for East Germany at the 1988 games. His life then devolves into a hellish, Neo-Nazi nightmare.
Dolph Lundgren fans, UNITE!
Best known for his role as Ivan Drago, the deadly Russian boxer in Rocky IV, Lundgren's lesser-known work includes this '90s gem, Pentathlon. Lundgren plays a pentathlete whose promising career in Germany is derailed by an abusive trainer.
Long story short, Lundgren's former trainer becomes a Neo-Nazi terrorist and kills Lundgren's father. The movie ends with Lundgren winning another Olympic gold and killing his former coach/trainer at the finishing line. Seriously.
'The Robber' (2010)
Premise: Based on a true story, The Robber is a film about Johann Kastenberger—an Austrian distance runner who also robbed banks and murdered people.
You know all those movies where bank robbers wear masks with presidential faces on them? Yep, they're based on Johann Kastenberger, a record-breaking marathon runner who committed multiple armed robberies in Europe while wielding a shotgun and wearing a Ronald Reagan mask.
The Robber is a film based on a novel that's based on Kastenberger's life, so it's a bit removed from reality, but the essential points are there. Those essential points are that this was a misguided renaissance man who was great at running and being a menace to society.