The best and worst of sport-movies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I had the opportunity to watch the new football movie Friday Night Lights a few weeks ago and with the playoffs being underway, I got to thinking about that movie.

Driving to the Edgewood vs. Fort Dale game, I had the opportunity to comprise a list of some other wicked-awesome sports movies that should be viewed and viewed often. The drive also provided me with plenty of time to think of some of the worst sports movies ever made. Now, with the playoffs going on and your favorite team's success relying on a week-to-week basis keep this in mind when and if your team's branch in the playoff picture gets broken off, it''s that simple.

No. 10 North Dallas Forty

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According to the Internet Movie Database, North Dallas Forty was made during the late 70's and stars Nick Nolte from 48 Hours and Charles Durning of O Brother, Where Art Thou? The movie is loosely based on the 1970's era Dallas Cowboys.

No. 9 Rookie of the Year

When this movie came out in 1993, who didn't want to be Henry Rowengarter.

Who? That's the response I'm expecting from people that haven't seen this movie. Henry breaks his arm playing sandlot baseball with some friends. After spending some time in a cast, he learns that his tendons have healed tighter than expected and as a by-product, Rownegarter can throw a Roger Clemons-esque fastball. Just what the Cubs need a token phenom to beat the curse of the Goat.

No. 8 Major League III: Back to the Minors

A movie like this reminds you how fun sports movies can be. Back to the minors revived the franchise after the debacle that was nearly ended after Major League 2. This movie introduces some new characters such as Juan 1, Juan 2 and Doc and then gives fans of the series a chance to see some of the old characters such as Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano. In this movie, the location and team changes from the traditional Cleveland Indians to the Minnesota Twins after Roger Dorn buys the club. Gus Cantrell is a minor-league journeyman who has never had a big shot at glory but is known by Dorn.

Dorn offers Cantrell the opportunity to coach the Twin Cities' AAA affiliate known as the Buzz.

No. 7 Summer Catch

Now, I usually think sports movies that focus around a love story are pointless. But this movie is good because of the plot. It's about guys playing baseball up in the Cape League in the New England states. It stars Matthew Lillard and some guy named Freddy Prinze Jr., as well as a very gorgeous Jessica Biehl. They have a great swimming pool scene and the baseball action is pretty good as well.

No. 6 Bull Durham

It would not be a sports movie list without this movie on there. It has great lines, great characters and a great plot. It focuses on one season with the Durham Bulls. During this season, catcher Crash Davis is given the charge of turning hotshot pitcher Nuke LaLoosh into a major leaguer. Along the way, LaLoosh becomes involved with resident "consultant" Annie who teaches the youngster the Zen of baseball. Before watching this movie, just remember: "the rose goes in the front, Meat."

No. 5 The Longest Yard

Any movie where one team steals the other team's uni's and then wears them is tops on my list. The plot is where there is a prison football game. Simple as that. Burt Reynolds plays the lead character who is a tainted college quarterback but is in prison. This movie is also on my list and is very high on my list because it is being remade and will return to theatres Memorial Day 2005 with a new cast and a new coach.

No. 4 Hoosiers

What movie list would be complete without this movie on it.

No. 3 Varsity Blues

This movie made the list because it reminds me a lot of my hometown and of my high school. Granted, some of the guys that I played ball with were no where near as colorful as Tweeter or Billy Bob, but still they stick out in my mind. The fans of this town are like fans in any small town where football is God.

No. 2 Any Given Sunday.

Al Pacino as a battle-weary football coach who is stuck in his old-school ways. He is suddenly confronted with updating them when his veteran quarterback goes down and he has to put in the hot-shot benchwarmer.

The No. 1 best sports movie that I have seen in a while would have to be without a doubt Friday Night Lights.

Billy Bob Thornton is a football coach and the movie is based on the 1980's era Permian-Odessa High School football team and their run to the state championship. The whole movie Thornton tells his kids to be perfect to each other but never really gives an explanation of it. But when he does, you just feel enlightened. I'm not going to ruin the meaning, just get the movie when it comes out on DVD.

Now, I am a fair and balanced person. Those were the top 10 movies. In order to keep my fairness alive, here is the bottom 10 movies. Or the worse movies that have been made and have any kind of tie-in to sports.

No. 10 Slapshot 2

I shouldn't even have sequels but this one is just awful.

No. 9 Any sports movie that has an animal as an athlete – case in point, Air Bud and the 25 different sequels.

No. 8 Space Jam.

Apparently Michael Jordan's acting skills are as fun to watch as his baseball skills.

No. 7 The Air up There

Really bad basketball movie about how Minute Boll went pro.

No. 6 The Legend of Bagger Vance.

This movie is always in at the video store for a reason people.

No. 5 Major League 2

Just awful.

No. 4 Mighty Ducks

The first one was unique, then it got old with two, then with three.

No. 3 Juwanna Mann

I'm usually positive, but the only thing I can be certain about is that the writer of this movie has some issues.

No. 2 Rocky 5

Granted it's Rocky so that should keep it off this list, but it was just too terrible.

And the worst movie that I have seen is none other than Rudy.

It would be a really good movie had it not taken place at Notre Dame. Had he been wearing bright orange, or garnett or even Auburn blue then it would have been an awesome movie. But he's in South Bend, so that just ruined it.

Griffin Pritchard is the sports editor of the Greenville Advocate. He can be reached by phone at 382-3111 or via email at