And the winner is...
I don't watch the Academy Awards or go to the movies very often (about two years ago). I am a movie buff who likes to sit in the confines of my own chair and enjoy cinema.
Since this is a sports column, I'd like to devote it to great sports movies. There are hundreds out there, but these are my favorites. I'm no expert, but these are must sees. If you have your own favorite, let me know and we can add it to the list.
It's America's pastime and Hollywood has given it plenty of attention. In no order if you are going to watch five: “Bull Durham,” “The Natural,” “Field of Dreams,” “ Major League” and “Moneyball.” I never cared for Brad Pitt. I guess I thought anyone who divorced Jennifer Aniston was a fool. But he was sure good in this one.
My oldies but goodies pick: “Pride of the Yankees.” Did you know Gary Cooper didn't like baseball? My favorite: “The Rookie.” I guess a lot of baseball coaches dream about it while throwing batting practice. Worst baseball movie: “The Babe Ruth Story” starring William Bendix. He should have stuck to “Life of Riley.”
No. 1 is “Brian's Song.” If you don't cry at the end of this movie, go to the doctor and have your tear ducts checked. Five of the good football movies are “Friday Night Lights,” “Remember the Titans,” “Blind Side,” “Radio” and “The Junction Boys.” If you thought your football practices were tough, watch “Junction Boys”; Coach Bear Bryant only took the toughest. If you are old school, watch “Knute Rockne - All American.” You'll see why President Reagan is truly “The Gipper” and why Notre Dame is simply Notre Dame.
It just goes to show you how times have changed. Boxing was one of America's most-watched sports, now it's not watched. But Hollywood produced scores of boxing movies. Probably the most popular boxing movie ever made was “Rocky.” Did you know Sylvester Stallone stepped into the ring with Ernie “The Acorn” Shavers?” Sly wanted to feel what it was like to spar with a hard-punching heavyweight. Ernie hit Rocky Balboa with one body punch, and Rocky stepped out of the real ring forever. Boxing movies have had their fair share of Oscars. Three good ones are “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Cinderella Man” and “Raging Bull.” If you are into oldies, watch Errol Flynn dance around the ring and never mess his hair in “Gentlemen Jim.”
“I want to win this one for all the small schools that never got here.” As a basketball coach who needed a learning tool, “Hoosiers” is my favorite (you can press the mute button on and I'll recite every line). But there have been some other great basketball movies” “Coach Carter,” “Glory Road” and “One-on-One.” Robbie Benson, the lead actor in “One-on-One,” could really play ball. That leads me to the worst basketball scenes in Hollywood history: Michael J. Fox and his B-ball team in “Teen Wolf.” Enough said.
The No. 1-rated sports film (by two movie polls): “Miracle,” the story of the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team. If you don't stand up and sing “God Bless America” at the end, you are not a sports fan or an American. Even though I was a basketball coach for 35 years, I have to mention a wrestling movie: “Vision Quest.” Matthew Modine had to inspire thousands of young wrestlers.
I'll end this article to all my golfing partners. We all know Bill Murray is the greatest groundskeeper in “Caddyshack,” even though he never got the gophers. If you're playing this Saturday or Sunday, “Tin Cup” and “Greatest Game Ever Played” aren't bad either.
That's it, one man's opinion. If I've left your favorite out, let me know.