Since everything in major live sports has come to halt, I wanted to share with you some nice alternatives. Couch potatoes rejoice! There are still plenty of options to veg out on some sports. Let’s go.
Even though some would say I’m a film addict, oddly enough, I can’t say I’m a connoisseur of sports films. I guess the reason I haven’t seen all of these sports flicks is that a ton of them are written by hacks that follow the same plot points over and over again. We meet the team (or player), the team isn’t playing well (They just have to come together!), some baloney happens off the court or field, the team gets it together (Whoo! Just in time!) and the definitely-expected victory follows.
OK, they all don’t follow that formula but you get the picture. Movies like, “Rudy,” and, “The Blind Side” and “Glory Road,” are just awful to have to sit through. Much like every sports-related Will Ferrell movie (Yes, including, “Talladega Nights”). Hell, even decent flicks like, “Hoosiers” and, “Sea Biscuit,” are still hokey. However, “Hoosiers,” does get extra points for Dennis Hopper’s character, Shooter. There’s nothing quite like a family flick with a drunk coach.
I must admit I’ve never seen, “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham,” or, “A League Of Their Own,” because I don’t dig Kevin Costner and Tom Hanks’ movies, aside from “Apollo 13,” and “Saving Private Ryan,” usually are milquetoast affairs at best. I just like some spice. Try to be different! I definitely should write movie reviews, everyone would eventually hate me. (Melanie here: Everyone already hates him for dissing Tom Hanks, National Treasure and coronavirus survivor.)
Anyway, there are a lot of classics like, “Eight Men Out,” and, “The Natural.” Everybody say it with me: Roy Hobbs — the best that ever was. Some slightly newer releases are, “The Fighter,” with a magnificent performance by Christian Bale. That last scene gets me every time. Another would be, “The Wrestler” which won Mickey Rourke the Best Actor Oscar in an odd, low-key tour de force by Darren Aronofsky. “The Hurricane,” is another boxing flick that should have won Denzel Washington an Oscar.
With all that said, let’s not forget about the greatest sports series in film — “Rocky.” The series goes from all-time classics with “Rocky” and “Rocky 2,” to still being great because of Mr. T in “Rocky 3,” to totally slipping into hokey-ville with “Rocky 4” and then the pure, steaming garbage that was “Rocky 5.” Then, right when you think the
series is counted out, it gets off the mat for a late knockout with, “Rocky Balboa.” That’s a wild ride.
I could have gone with “Rocky” as my favorite sports flick of all time but wanted to add a little twist here for you in case you missed out on another all-time great, “All The Right Moves,” starring a young Thomas Mapother, AKA Tom Cruise, and Lea Thompson. This hard-edged flick is a gritty masterpiece about small town high school football. It goes against many of the trends of sports flicks. The winners aren’t worshipped and there are no heroes. There is just tough victory and bitter defeat. The flick also has Craig T. Nelson as head coach before he was, “Coach.” It’s a damn fine film.
There are others out there (“Breaking Away,” “White Men Can’t Jump”) but I want to note that I haven’t mentioned documentaries because, by nature, they have a leg up on narrative features. Docs like, “When We Were Kings,” and almost all of ESPN’s first few seasons of its “30 For 30,” series are must-watch TV.
Other Sports Options
When all of the leagues cancelled I sort of checked out on what the channels would do to replace the programming. It didn’t take long to figure out as Twitter and my iPhone exploded with tales of CBS showing great NCAA March Madness games from the past. My poor phone almost melted when they replayed the 1992 Duke versus Kentucky matchup.
My only complaint is that I wish they played games in a row, so to speak. The first Saturday should have been all of the major upsets in the First Round. Lehigh over Duke! UMBC over Virginia! Dayton when they used to always be an #11 seed!
If you really want to get your binge on sign up for the NFL’s Game Pass which is absolutely free and you only have to give them your e-mail address. It’s a wonderful distraction. I’m currently watching all of the games I’ve attended and pausing the action every time I think I might be on screen. I’m not weird; you’re weird.
However, if you truly need to scratch that itch with some “real life” sports head over to Twitch and you can watch real sports (video games) being played. It might sound Odd to you but it’s not that bad. I prefer watching hockey due to its non-stop action and less banter from the players but all of the major leagues are there.
If you’re a gamer you probably already know about it but, if not, you’ll most likely dig it. Also, before any of you knock this as too niche or out on the fringe, Twitch averages 1.7 million viewers a day and was sold to Amazon in 2014 for 970 million dollars. Gaming and e-sports are here to stay, y’all.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: No beer. How about an Emergen-C, instead?
Playlist Recommendation: Motley Crüe – “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”
Around The Way
Looking back through this list made realize the women in sports films are woefully underrepresented. So, hey Hollywood, let me make it easy for you. USA Women’s Soccer, Venus and Serena Williams, the early years of the WNBA, Flo-Jo, the rivalry between Zola Budd and Mary Decker, Olympic ice skater Debi Thomas and skateboarding X Gamer Cara-Beth Burnside should get you started. You’re welcome.