Freud: So what are your favorite sports movies of all time? (column)
January 4, 2019
Yes, it's a wee bit like deja vu all over again.
The Vail Daily's new editor, Nate Peterson, isn't so new in some ways. He was a sports writer for us from 2003-05.
And while we doubtless did some meaningful journalism and copious amounts of alcohol were consumed at the old Paddy's across the street — more of an issue for me than Nate — the thing I remember the most from his first stint here was arguing.
• Greatest quarterback of all time? John Elway or Joe Montana?
• Best movie of all time? "The Godfather" saga or "Casablanca?"
• Who are better sports fans? Coloradans or San Franciscans?
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Both of us are intractably glued to our positions on the above topics, Nate being born in Littleton and growing up in Boulder and, I from the City by the Bay. While the first two "Godfather" movies are iconic American works, I'm from the Humphrey Bogart School, or, more accurately, love Ingrid Bergman.
And Friday, as the usual banter of a newsroom carried on, the subject of best sports movies arose. I'll leave it to the Vail Daily's management as to Peterson's news and management skills — doubtless impeccable — but the friendly roar began again.
So what are the best sports movies of all time?
I never got into the teary state when Kevin Costner's character plays catch with his dad at the end of "Field of Dreams." This was another Paddy's debate. I love James Earl Jones' speech about baseball before father and son "have a catch."
The Freuds tried to play catch and were both unsuccessful, but James' speech captures the timeless nature of the sport and its role in our country's history.
That said, I have to go with "Bull Durham." The movie came out in 1988 when I was 16 and it was about baseball and had Susan Sarandon — best baseball movie ever. As a sports writer, I still love Kevin Costner teaching Tim Robbins how to deal with the media.
"Major League" is good, but far-fetched. The Cleveland Indians winning the AL East? Fun trivia, though: Pedro Cerrano ("Hats for bats, keep bats warm,") is played by Dennis Haysbert, who is now the spokesman for Allstate Insurance.
I have soft spots in my heart for "A League of Their Own" and "Pride of the Yankees."
Worst movie: "The Babe Ruth Story" with William Bendix.
When you Google lists of this genre, "Rudy" always comes up. While it has a fantastic soundtrack and great supporting performances by Ned Beatty and Charles Dutton, it pretty much is a recruiting video for Notre Dame.
"Remember the Titans" is a strong entry as anything with Denzel Washington must be watched.
But "North Dallas Forty" is actually a realistic sports movie based on the book by former Dallas Cowboys player Peter Ghent.
This movie gets points for a strong, but not star-studded cast with G.D. Spradlin as Coach B.A. Strother (ahem, Tom Landry), Charles Durning, Nick Nolte, Steve Forrest and Dabney Coleman.
And spoiler alert: The Cowboys/North Dallas Bulls lose. Bonus.
And before you hit me up with "Any Given Sunday," Oliver Stone's great for political flicks, but that was over the top for football.
Worst movie: "Unnecessary Roughness." Scott Bakula's a quarterback?
"Hoosiers." End of discussion.
Except for the presence of Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper, who make this more than a sports movie.
Worst movie: "The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh." This is one of those movies that is so bad it's a classic.
There is not a strong field here. "Mighty Ducks" was cute once, but three movies? Sorry, Rob Lowe, but you're not "Youngblood." (Patrick Swayze in a hockey movie?) Russell Crowe in "Mystery, Alaska"? No, thank you.
While "Miracle" gets points for recreating the 1980 Olympics realistically, "Slap Shot" (1977) gets the nod. Not only does it produce memorable lines, it's a hockey team run by Strother Martin.
Worst movie: "Miracle on Ice" (1981). This was the made-for-TV movie with Karl Malden as Herb Brooks and Steve Guttenberg as Jim Craig. Yikes.
The first "Rocky" remains a classic. Please stop with the sequels and the "Creed" franchise.
Yet as a golfer, it's gotta be "Caddyshack."
Gunga galunga, everyone.