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By Jamie Gatlin Summer Staff Writer
Movies that involve sports always find a way to engage the viewer in various ways. This list of movies is a combination of both instant classics and more current films that have changed the landscape of sports and cinema for the better
No movie sports list is complete without a Rocky appearance somewhere in the top ten. The hardest part, however, is which Rocky film to choose. The first Rocky movie came out in 1976 and is still one of the most well-known movies more than forty years later and launched the career of Sylvester Stallion into stardom.
The movie follows a club fighter from Philadelphia, waiting for his opportunity to make his mark. Finally gets his chance when Apollo Creed, the heavyweight champion of the world, challenges him to fight. Rocky rises to occasion and shocks the world by beating Creed. It is a classic underdog story that was the beginning of one of the most famous series of films in history.
2. Remember the Titans
The second movie on the list was full of unforgettable performances from a talented cast that included a baby faced Ryan Gosling. The film is based on the integration of Virginia’s T.C. Williams high school in 1971. The movie follows the team’s journey as they are led by Herman Boone who is played by Denzel Washington. The film, however, is about much more than football.
At the beginning of the film, the team is divided by race and fighting constantly. Boone and his assistant coach are barely on the same page as tension rises within the team. The movie is also full of crushing hits and grueling practices. It does, however, have its fair share of moving scenes and has the famous “ don’t gain another yard” speech. What makes this film special is how the players bond and overcome the hatred they were taught to embrace. En route to an undefeated season, they become a family despite all the obstacles in their way.
3. The Blindside
In recent years there have been fewer more noteworthy football films then The Blindside. The story is based on the incredible story of Michel Oher who defied all odds to make it to the NFL.
Oher’s story is full of inspiration as he is rescued from homelessnessby the Tuohy family and put on the path to football stardom. The film includes impressive performances from Sandra Bullock and Tim Mcgraw. While Oher’s story is truly inspirational, he finds a family in Tuohy’s, and his journey is remarkable.
Miracle is based on the magical run of the US hockey team in the 1980 Olympics. It is the ultimate underdog story, which was highlighted with an improbable win over the seemingly unbeatable Soviet Union. The US team entered the games with low expectations as the roster was all college players.
While their story itself is amazing, the film features a legendary performance by Kurk Russel and includes perhaps the best locker room speech in movie history. The movie also shows how a group of common men lifted up a country when it needed a win more than ever and provided the country with hope at a time of uncertainty.
5. Money Ball
Based on a true story, Moneyball follows the journey of the 2002 Oakland A’s and how Billy Beane changed baseball. Beane, who is played by Brad Pitt, is tasked with building an Oakland A’s team on a low budget after losing key players such as Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi.
In attempting to build a playoff team, Beane chooses players who scouts and other teams see as flawed. In the process, Beane not only creates a playoff team but one that defies all baseball logic. The Oakland A’s General Manager starts a revolution in the process even though everyone in the game thinks that he has lost his mind. The films show how baseball is more than a game and how a sport can be changed forever. After all acoording to Pit, “how can you not be romantic about baseball.”
6. Major League
Unlike the two previous films on this list, Major League is not based on actual events. This comedy is still unforgettable as it is about a Cleveland Indians team full of misfits and old- teamers built to fail. They, however, come together to defy expectations and end many years of suffering in Cleveland.
It is a comedy that will have you cheering for the underdog the entire time. The movie includes Charlie Sheen, who is cast as the team’s star pitcher and Bob Uecker who plays the Indians play-by-play announcer. Regardless of what crazy antics the team gets into, they still find a way to win.
Like many stories on this list, the film is based on the underdog story of Vince Palpale who joins the Philadelphia Eagles at a walk-on tryout. Palpale who is played by Mark Wahlberg at first is disliked by his teammates but becomes a fan favorite and achieves a lifelong dream.
At a time when Eagles football was at its lowest Palplae ignited hope into the fanbase. Palpale is not only able to fulfill a dream that was nearly impossible but also give his city something to cheer about.
42 follows the story of Jackie Robinson when he broke the color barrier in the MLB during the 1947 season. While Robinson’s story is well known, this film shows what he endured on and off the field. The movie shows the courage Robinson had regardless of how bad things got. It also includes an impressive performance by Harrison Ford who Dodgers owner plays Branch Rickey and helps guide Robinson through the toughest test of his life.
Facing unabashed racism from seemingly everywhere, Robinson becomes one of the best players in MLB history. While this film has some tough scenes, it also filled with uplifting moments. Those moments include Richey’s speech about why he signed Robinson and Peewee Reese standing by Robinson In Cincinnati with insults raining down. It is an example of the impact that sports can have and how one person can change the world.
9. The Rookie
The second to last movie on the list is based on a true story, unlike any other. The film is centered around Jimmy Morris who had his dream of making it to the big leagues crushed by a shoulder injury. Nearly twenty years later, Morris is a high school chemistry teacher and baseball coach.
After impressing his players by throwing ninety-plus at practice, Morris makes a deal with his team that if they win the district, he will attend a major league tryout. In an attempt to make his players chase their dreams, Morris is reminded of the dream he gave up on. At the major league tryout, Morris throws 98 mph and at 35 becomes the most talked-about prospect in baseball.
While Morris’s story is unique, what places it on the list is all he endures. After injuries, struggles in the minors, and family issues Morris is able to find his way to the show. He not only accomplishes a dream but rediscovers his love for the game. It shows that no dream is impossible, regardless of how hard it may seem.
This list would be incomplete without a classic in The Waterboy. In this film, Adam Sandler plays Bobby Bucher, who is the waterboy for a college football team. One day at practice, Boucher earns on spot the team by taking out all his pent frustration from being made fun of out on a ball carrier.
The easily likable storyline and impressive performance from Adam Sandler make this an unforgettable film. It has also been the source of many memes on social media and is one of Sandler’s best earlier films with Happy Gilmore close behind.