Best sports movies of all time

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JJ Anderson, Staff Writer

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Sports are starting up again at Linfield, but COVID-19 restrictions prevent fans from attending games. For all the sports lovers out there, we know you miss watching live sports. For now, the best we can do is stay healthy and dream about the days when we’ll be back in the bleachers, cheering on our favorite athletes. 

However, there’s always options to help you fill that hole left in your life by sports. Just for a moment, you can feel the adrenaline that comes from watching an incredible play, hit or touchdown in person. Grab a bowl of popcorn and turn on your favorite sports movie.

Over the years, there have been many sports films that have graced the silver screen. While they all consist of a sports story in some sort of way, it’s only right that we divide them into two groups: comedies and drama. The comedy genre is pretty self explanatory and the drama genre is made up of both true story/ documentary and fictional films.  

That being said, here are my top five sports comedy and drama movies.

Comedy

1. Happy Gilmore

Maybe I placed this at the top of my list because its 25th anniversary was a couple days ago, but this movie never gets old. From the constant bickering between Happy Gilmore and Shooter McGavin, to the very odd and lively atics between Gilmore and the crowd, this movie always keeps me laughing. It paints a picture of golf, which is normally viewed as a “boring” sport, as being fun and very entertaining to watch. Gilmore’s patented skip approach to his tee-shot is still a staple in the golfing community to this day and won’t be going anywhere in the future.

2. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

With the help of dodgeball great Patches O’Houlihan, Peter La Fleur and his ragtag group of friends compete in a heated dodgeball tournament to save their gym, Average Joe’s. Throughout the film, La Fleur is pitted against the very narcissistic and obnoxious White Goodman, owner of Average Joe’s competitor, Globo Gym. The movie is full of one-liners that will never die, like the oh-so-important five D’s of dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge. 

3. Major League

With this film, we see an odd assortment of characters join forces on the Cleveland Indians on a quest to bring the winning ways back to Cleveland, Ohio. Their owner, however, has other plans. In an attempt to construct the worst team they can, the Indians sign a wildly inaccurate pitcher who throws 100mph, a catcher who isn’t able to squat down into his position, a power hitter who falls in love with his voodoo dolls and a very confident outfielder who can’t figure out how to hit a curveball or quit hitting high pop-flies. 

All of these oddball characters put together a classic baseball movie that will leave your cheeks hurting. Oh yeah, and maybe one of the most famous quotes in the baseball world, “Juuuuusst a bit outside,” made famous by Indians’ announcer, and sometimes critic, Harry Doyle.

4. Talladega Nights

A wise man once said,”If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Well, I would like to apologize to Ricky Bobby because he came in fourth on my list. 

Here we see the rise, fall and comeback of NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby as his reign at the top of NASCAR comes to an end when French driver, Jean Girard, breaks onto the scene and dethrones Bobby. Following a downward spiral of events, including Bobby imagining he’s caught on fire, being attacked by a cougar in his car and his wife leaving him for his best friend, Cal Naughton Jr., Bobby finds his way back to the top of the racing world. 

With the constant comedic back and forth between the “shake and bake” duo, Bobby and Naughton, there is no doubt in my mind that you will be laughing throughout this film. 

5. Waterboy

In this Adam Sandler film, we see him play Bobby Boucher, a waterboy who’s fascinated with the idea of providing the highest quality water for his players. After he is fired from his position at the University of Louisiana, he takes the same job for the sub-par South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. 

Some of the players start to antagonize Boucher and all of a sudden, he displays his unbelievable ability to tackle with ferocious power. With the help of head coach Klein, Boucher learns to channel his anger for those that talk down upon him and his beloved H2O into his bone-crushing tackles. From that point on, Boucher is the talk of the town and takes the college football world by storm with his jaw-dropping hits and highlight plays. 

Honorable Mentions: Caddyshack, Blades of Glory, The Longest Yard, and Benchwarmers 

Drama

1. Remember the Titans

At a time when our country was quite divided, this film tells the story of a desegregated high school and the hardships of bonding together through football. Taking place in Virginia, two segregated high schools join together at T.C. Williams High School. Football head coach Herman Boone is faced with the task of getting the white and the black kids to learn how to trust one another. While they face many setbacks and judgement from the outside world, the team is able to overcome their perceived differences and go on to win the state championship.

2. Miracle

Before professional athletes were allowed to compete in the Olympic games, amateurs were the ones representing their home countries. Based on a true story, this movie shows us the build up to the 1980 Winter Olympics, when a group of young American hockey players from various colleges around the country join together to take on the Soviet Union, the undisputed best hockey team in the world.

Throughout the story, head coach Herb Brooks tries to teach his players that they are no longer playing for a school, but their country instead. With an entire nation behind them, the scrappy young Americans pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history and eventually brought home the gold medal.

3. Hoosiers

I’ll admit, this movie might be high on my list due to watching it several times growing up with my dad. The state of Indiana is in love with the sport of basketball and this film shows the importance it holds in a community. Head coach Norman Dale comes to the realization that he needs more talent, so he seeks the help of sharpshooter Jimmy Chitwood. 

Chitwood has exceptional talent but he also has a troubled family life, which leads him to step away from the game. Eventually, Dale reels him back to basketball and the team starts to rack up wins left and right. With the entire town rallying behind them, they earn their way to the state championship where Chitwood hit a last-second shot to take home the title.

4. The Blind Side

Another true story, this film shows us the life of eventual NFL first-round pick, Michael Oher. Oher grows up in a poverty-stricken community while his mother battles issues with drug-abuse. 

With no positive role-models in his life, Oher is taken in by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, a wealthy couple who have the ability to care and provide plenty of opportunities for Oher. With an exceptional athletic build, Michael goes out for the football team in high school and makes an immediate impact on the offensive line. 

With a lackluster education growing up, the Tuohy’s provide Michael with a tutor to help him better his academic skills. After improving in the classroom and on the gridiron, Michael is offered several football scholarships from top-tier schools in college football. It’s a great story that shows what someone can do when they are simply given the tools and a chance to succeed. 

5. 42

Rounding out my top five is the very well-known story of Jackie Robinson. I don’t think it would be outlandish to say that anyone has been more impactful in the sports world than Robinson, as he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. 

Dodgers owner Branch Rickey tries to teach hot-tempered Robinson to control his emotions for the betterment of the organization. After experiencing several racially motivated attacks by teammates, opponents and fans, Robinson learns to take the verbal abuse with a grain of salt and, even with odds stacked against him, continues on to be one of the greatest players of all time. 

Honorable Mentions: Field of Dreams, Rudy, Coach Carter, Creed, and Moneyball