Yet another sports movie list

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Rocky has remained one of cinema’s most iconic characters.

This list is better than everyone else’s though

Remember that one time when you were doing homework and you were looking for something to put on the TV. You were flipping through the channels and saw a Big Ten basketball game playing on ESPN2. Neither of the teams was ranked and it was still February, over a month before March Madness started. No need to watch this game, right? Sure college basketball is always fun, but surely there’s something better. Instead of the game, you settled on turning on Netflix and watching The Office. Fast-forward to today and you still haven’t forgiven yourself. You’d give anything to go back and watch that Northwestern vs. Indiana game, if only for just five minutes.

Through all of the major events in America in the last 100 years like World War II, 9/11, JFK’s assassination and both stock market crashes, sports have always been a mainstay. Teams and athletes have been outlets that cities and communities have rallied behind and escaped to in some of America’s darkest hours. They have been seen as a symbol of hope, and help bring people together when it’s needed most.

Now this world pandemic has forced sports to sit on the sideline and wait until it’s safe to check back in. Being deprived of sports for three weeks, and with no end in sight (stay inside people) has been very trying. To help quench the sports thirst, I have compiled a list of eight sports movies to watch while being quarantined.

This is without question, the only correct sports movie list. Sure there’s no Space Jam (it is not nearly as good as you remember it.) Happy Gilmore missed the list simply because it’s like the fifth best Carl Weathers sports movie. But hey, if you’ve got any issues with it here’s my email, I’ll be more than happy to explain to you why you’re wrong: ian.longtin@ndsu.edu.

8. The Sandlot

If I had grown up as a hockey kid, this spot might have gone to “The Mighty Ducks.” However, playing baseball my whole life forces my hand. “The Sandlot” just squeaks onto my list at number eight. It is a fun, borderline silly story of kids who just want to play some ball. “The Sandlot” teaches us that we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

7. Field of Dreams

There’s that Kevin Costner guy again. This time Costner isn’t a player, instead, he’s a farmer. A farmer who listens to ghosts and kidnaps Mufasa. Just kidding… sorta. “Field of Dreams” is more mystery-like than you may remember it, and first-time viewers should have a blast. No, it’s not in heaven, it’s in Iowa.

6. Rudy

“Rudy” is the feel-good movie of all feel-good movies. Rudy’s journey from undersized high-school cornerback (but he led his team in tackles) to hanging with the best college team in all the land never fails to put a smile on our faces. Sure the jersey hand-in may not have actually happened and yes Rudy might have indeed been offsides, but none of that matters. If you don’t like “Rudy,” you have no heart.

5. Moneyball

It really is unfair that the Yankees have so much more money to spend than everybody else. “Moneyball” shows the audience the true story of the birth of the use of analytics in baseball. Brad Pitt portrays Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane who is looking for a way to beat those damn Yankees whilst using 80 million fewer dollars. Jonah Hill takes a step outside his comfort zone to play the lovable Peter Brand, who’s comedic timing is almost as good as his baseball knowledge. Beane and Brand team up to see if they can build a 2002 A’s team that’s good enough to win the last game of the season.

4. Remember the Titans

Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights can both make a fantastic argument for the best high school football movie of all time, but “Remember the Titans“ stands alone. The way the movie tackles the problems of race and segregation with the T.C. Williams high school football team in 1971 is too good to top. Denzel Washington is at his best as he plays the tough but wise Herman Boone who goes through trials and tribulations of being a black high school football coach in the early 70’s Virginia. It’s brilliant.

3. Rocky

“Rocky” deserves to be in the top three based on nostalgia alone. Yet, even 44 years later the movie still totally holds up. “Rocky” has remained the only sports-flick to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and for good reason. Sylvester Stallone’s original story of a middling boxer who gets a shot at the title has served as a template for all the sports movies that followed it. Yo, Adrain, “Rocky” has aged like a fine wine.

2. Miracle

The true telling of the greatest upset in the history of sports is almost gets better with multiple watches. In the middle of the cold-war and having been embarrassed in the last few Olympic games, USA coach Herb Brooks assembles a team of college hockey players that aimed to do the impossible: take down the USSR and win the Gold Medal. Seeing the team grow from hating one another into a real hockey team is a joy, and Brook’s speech before the final game will make you ready to run through a wall every single time.

1. Bull Durham

This story about a veteran minor-league catcher, who just wants one more summer under the sun, mentoring a hot-shot young pitcher whose brains can’t keep up with his talent never gets old. This perfectly crafted sports movie expertly mixes sports and humor with a splash of a love triangle. “Bull Durham” teaches us the importance of breathing through your eyelids, and that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.

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