Movies are a way to dream

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Movies have always been a part of my life.

Since I was a child, I’ve curled up on the couch or in my bed, turned on the VCR or DVD player and drifted off into movies.

When I used to get sick and miss school, my mother would always take me to the video store and let me rent five or six movies to keep me occupied until a friend brought me my makeup work. I didn’t care what movie it was; action, drama, comedy, I enjoyed them all. Over the years I even caught myself renting the same titles because I enjoyed them so much.

I guess I’ve always had a fondness for movies because they allow me to travel somewhere I’ve never traveled before, do something I could only dream of doing or achieve a feat only the best of the best could achieve.

During my three-day Fourth of July weekend, I had the chance to watch ESPN’s Top 25 sports movies as part of the sports networks 25th anniversary. Being the movie buff I am and working in a sports profession, the one-hour special was very intriguing.

The show counted down to the No. 1 movie over the past 25 years voted on by a panel of judges.

I agreed with several of the judges’ selection, but disagreed with several as well. There were a few movies that I thought should have been omitted from the list and replaced with some I chose.

Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper’s performances as a coach down to his last chance and an alcoholic looking for something to turn his life around respectively in the sports classic Hoosiers topped ESPN’s list. Robert De Niro’s portrayal of an impulsive natured boxer in Raging Bull, Kevin Costner hits Field of Dreams and Bull Durham and the timeless comedy Caddyshack starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray round out the Top 5.

One of my all-time favorite sports movies, The Natural, staring Robert Redford, who plays an over-the-hill rookie baseball player ranked No. 6 on ESPN’s list. The seventh spot was awarded to Chariots of Fire, which was followed by another one of my favorites, Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise, who plays a down-and-out sports agent. Everyone’s favorite racehorse Seabiscuit and the unforgettable Walt Disney classic Remember the Titans made up the Top 10.

I don’t have a problem agreeing with ESPN’s Top 10 sports movies. I’ve seen most of them and they were all great movies that I could watch over and over again. Many of them I’ve already watched repeatedly.

As for the next 10, I would have made my selections differently.

A League of Their Own, which featured one of Tom Hanks’ best performances, was chosen as No. 11 on the list. Eight Men Out, White Men Can’t Jump, Major League and Tin Cup followed suit.

Of the above five mentioned movies, I believe Eight Men Out and White Men Can’t Jump don’t have any business being included in this elite list. There are several movies that surpassed them in the box office and should have been included in this list. I will share later.

Billy Crystal’s directing debut 61* documenting the lives of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle ranked 16th followed by The Hurricane, the all-time greatest pool hall movie The Color of Money, Finding Forrester and The Rookie. Again, I disagreed with ESPN’s judges, but this time only with Finding Forrester.

The final five movies in the countdown included Ali, Bend it Like Beckham, Cobb, Rudy and Searching for Bobby Fischer. This I believe was the worst selecting the judges made. The only movie in this list worthy of the Top 25 was Rudy. The rest were good, but not great.

The judges should have attempted to include every sport in their list if they were going to include a movie about a child prodigy chess player. If they had looked to every sport they would have realized they left out one of my all-time favorites 8 Seconds, starring Luke Perry, who played World Champion bull rider Lane Frost. With all the cowboys and cowgirls throughout Butler County, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Any movie that is based on a true story and had average directing should have been considered for the elite list. 8 Seconds should have been in the place of Eight Men Out.

Another movie that I believe was overlooked is Days of Thunder. To my knowledge it is the only movie that depicts NASCAR drivers’ ways of life and Tom Cruise, Robert Duval and Randy Quaid did great jobs with their roles. This movie could have easily replaced White Men Can’t Jump on ESPN’s list.

When it comes to golfing movies, I make sure to rent them and make my opinion known. Even though Tin Cup was a good movie about a deadbeat golfing pro that tries to make it big, The Legend of Bagger Vance far exceeded it.

The other two movies I believe should have been included are The Sandlot and The Babe. The Sandlot was a lot better children’s movie than Bend it Like Beckham and when it comes to baseball greats, watching a movie about Babe Ruth is much better than Ty Cobb.

The next time ESPN decides to rank the greatest sports movies of all-time, they should get the opinions of the people that count. The people that pay their hard-earned money to watch the movies.

Adam Prestridge is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 122 or by e-mail: adam.prestridge@greenvilleadvocate.com