In honor of one of the more exciting post-seasons in recent memory, a private Yahoo! group known as The Three has a thread going of top baseball movies. Here are some of the lists, mine first:
I used to love baseball as a kid — I was obsessed really. But I quit cold turkey after the strike. Here are my top five:
5. FIELD OF DREAMS – I haven’t seen it since I was a kid and it’s probably soppy as all hell but I sure remember loving it
4. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN – Another one I liked as a kid, probably crushing on Geena Davis. Yikes!
3. THE SANDLOT – Yes, another favorite of my youth
2. FEAR STRIKES OUT (1957) – About a ballplayer who went crazy. Really amazing study of sports psychology, especially of parents who try to live out their fantasies thru their kids.
1. PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942) – Classic all around. Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig. Fun trivia: They had to make all the signs in the stadiums backwards, have people run for third base first, etc all so they could flip the film to make Cooper appear to be left handed.
The only baseball movie to win an Academy Award (I think).
Here’s the post that started it the thread:
As some of you know, we’re in the depths of the most exciting
baseball playoffs in recent years. It got me thinking… baseball, as a sport, is an excellent source of real drama — BUT, what about REEL DRAMA??? Baseball has been a part of the silver screen pretty much since its inception and has given us quite a few great movies… which leads me to…
THE ALL TIME TOP 5 BASEBALL MOVIES OF ALL TIME:
1. EIGHT MEN OUT
— John Sayles’ true story of the Chicago “Black Sox” scandal is an illuminating tale of corruption — not just of baseball, but America. Not to mention, the film’s cast is spectacular (John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney, David Straharen, John
Maloney, john Sayles, Christopher Llyod, etc, etc.) and gives an intense personal drama to the White Sox throwing of the World Series.
2. BAD NEWS BEARS
— Walter Matthau as an alcoholic little league baseball coach. Tatum O’Neil as his daughter, the team’s pitcher. A rag tag group of scamps who go on to win the big game. Not only is this film hilarious and mean spirited — it provided the template for almost EVERY sports movie after it.
3. BULL DURHAM
— Kevin Costner really, really likes baseball. While I enjoy Field of Dreams a bit, it’s schmaltzy and not very much fun. But, this film — filled with humorous and spot-on philosophy about baseball and sex is terrific. Oh yeah, and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are in it.
4. THE NATURAL
— Every kid who sees this movie and plays baseball has the movie’s main theme etched in their head while at the bat.
5. THE SANDLOT
— The film’s not even entirely about baseball, but it’s a nostalgic look back to a more innocent time in which baseball was part of growing up.
8 men out: great baseball story for anyone who’s familiar with it. this one is almost too much skewed towards baseball fanatics though, which i think accounts for its flying under the radar. but its still a very sad story, joe jackson deserves his own movie, read about the guy, its tragic, and sayles typical quality shines through with this stellar cast.
pride of the yankees: back when baseball players were heroes, real heroes, and actors were heroic enough to play them, this movie was made. it would be impossible to make a movie called “pride of the giants” starring denzel washington, because barry bonds is such a dick. lou gehrig’s speech remains one of the most selfless, albeit corny, moments in sports history, and this movie perfectly captures the sentiment.
take me out to the ballgame: not really about baseball, just a silly MGM musical starring frank sinatra and gene kelly about two care free ballplayers in turn of the century america. completely harmless, filled with more old movie nostalgia than baseball anything, but fun.
field of dreams: a perfect realization of what baseball, in its purest form means to some people (myself included) as a part of our national culture. plus it portrays joe jackson as a victim, which gets it major points in my book, cause again, the guy, read about him.
bull durham: “he hit the fuckin’ bull!”
mine will look very familiar, but here goes:
5. pride of the yankees – just a truly great movie. about the best team in freaking sports history.
4. major league – this movie is genius. before they went back to the minors, these guys were hilarious (even though corbin bernsen was the only thespian with the BALLS to stick it out through all movies).
3. field of dreams – americana at its finest. and james earl jones’ best outing outside of the holy trilogy and grimm prarie tales.
2. bull durham – more costner. and sarandon before she became a nutbag.
1. bad news bears – walter matthau should have been in every movie before he died. and maybe even a few after ala sky captain’s history raping machine.
Leave some of your faves in the comments…