Top Ten Plus one: Comedic Sports Movies
Hello and welcome back to AzarRising for another edition of Top Ten Plus One. Today I bring you my list of favorite comedic sports movies. That’s right, I like sports other than wrestling (whether you consider wresting a sport or not is a different issue altogether), and I love comedy, so sports comedies are a natural marriage in my books. With that in mind let’s get into the list.
First up a few Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite make the cut.
Honorable Mention #1
White Men Can’t Jump
It is because of Rosie Perez in this movie, I have the false impression of all female Latina accents. With that aside, this came out when Wesley Snipes was at his peak, and Woody Harrelson was first breaking out of his Cheers role. The two played off each other very well making for an enjoyable, funny movie, with some entertaining sports action. Who would have thought pick-up basketball could be so entertaining?
Honorable Mention #2
Rookie of the Year
I’m not the biggest baseball fan, but this movie speaks to my childhood. Every kid grows up imagining a scenario where an injury results in super powers. It’s a classic comic book troupe, and Rookie of the year meshed it perfectly with a sports movie. 12-year-old Henry breaks his arm, the healing of which results in a super pitch arm, perfect for a little league pitcher. His arm gets him into the major leagues, and hilarity ensues.
Honorable Mention #3
Ready to Rumble
Spoiler alert, there are no wrestling movies on the proper list, because of that I had to include one. Granted, Ready to Rumble is far from a great movie, but it was entertaining enough to at least earn a mention. The best thing about the movie is the inclusion of actual wrestlers into the movie. Not to mention the longest lasting legacy of the movie, the triple cage!
Now onto the official list!
Ok stick with me here, I’ve gotten other entries to earn your trust back. Shaolin Soccer is ridiculous, there’s no two ways about it, BUT I argue it’s in that ridiculousness that the beauty of the movie lies. A Shaolin monk unites with his brothers to form a soccer team in which to use their super powers to win games, but also as a display of what the martial arts can do. If they have super powers why do they need to play soccer? Who cares!? It's like NBA Jam with every cheat enabled, and everyone is “ON FIRE!” but on a soccer field.
A League of Their own
“Are you crying? There’s no crying. There’s no crying in baseball!” If that scene doesn’t earn it a spot on every comedy sports movie list, I don’t know what does. During World War II while all the men are away fighting, an all women’s softball league is created as a form of entertainment for those still around. The story surrounds a pair of rival sisters who start on the same team of misfits, only to end up on opposing teams.
Childhood is a time of imagination, that rings true for both the real world and in movies. Why do I bring this up now? It’s essentially the premise of BASEketball, where two friends create a backyard game that incorporates elements of both baseball and basketball. As adults, they elevate the game into a nationwide televised sport. Those two friends? They’re Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the twisted minds behind South Park. All this comes together for such a funny movie about a fake sport.
Although I really am not a baseball fan, it’s amazing how many great baseball comedies there are on this list. The spiteful owner of the Cleveland Indians comes up with the brilliant idea to draft the worst possible team in hopes the low ticket sales will initiate a team move to a sunnier climate. In those hopes she puts together a team destined to fail including Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes (making his second appearance on this list), and Tom Beringer among others. As expected, hilarious hijinks ensues and the team turns things around winning the pennant and ensuring the team remains in Cleveland.
Having never seen his work on Saturday Night Live, my introduction to Adam Sandler was the duo of movies “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” Let me tell you, only one of these movies holds up today, and since this is a sports comedy movie list, you can be sure that movie isn’t the one about a man child going back to elementary school in order to receive his father’s company. It’s the one about a man child, failed hockey player, who signs up for a golf tournament to win back his grandmother’s home. Sounds stupid? It is, but that’s where it belongs, a dumb funny movie about golf.
No other movie on this list encapsulates my childhood as much as this one does. Having gone to four different school in four different years, making friends with those of similar interests was a skill I needed to cultivate at a young age. Granted, for me it was football and the pick-up games we’d play before and after school, but “The Sandlot” had the exact same feeling with baseball. Young Scottie moves to a new town and befriends a group of kids who play baseball together virtually every day. Things get hairy when Scottie has to borrow his step-dad's baseball and it goes into the yard of the monstrous dog The Beast (no, not Brock Lesnar). Little did Scottie know that the signature on the ball was a little more important than an afternoon game of baseball.
When putting this list together, there’s no way I would have imaged two movies about golf making the final cut, but here we are. The most influential golf movie ever “Caddyshack” also happens to be one of the funniest movies of all time. There’s an art to comedies that was lost since the 80’s. I’m not saying there hasn’t been funny movies in the years between, as many entries of this list proves, but the style of comedy from then was unique, and sorely missed by this author.
We’re going from one hard hitting sport to another, but more importantly two Bill Murray movies back to back. If for nothing else, this should validate the list. Mr. Murray is a comedic genius and combined with Woody Harrelson (welcome back to the list) they create golden laughs. If you haven’t seen this yet, you’re a real Munson (that’ll be funnier if you’ve actually seen the movie). Harrelson is a one-handed former bowling prodigy that lost his hand due to his former mentor, Bill Murray, gets him involved in the shady under belly of the bowling sports world. Years later, Woody tries to make himself relevant again by co-opting a dimwitted Randy Quad to his services.
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Truer words have never been spoken. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, and Rip Torn and Hank Azaria playing the same character! A small-time gym about to foreclose enters a dodgeball tournament in the hopes of winning the money to stay in business. A rival behemoth gym, enters the same tournament to ensure the competition closes. Knowing both men’s careers you’d be forgiven for thinking Vaughn is the owner of the rival gym, while Stiller is the smaller gym owner, but they both play against cast in a hilarious movie about a ridiculous sport.
Two Adam Sandler movies! I hope this doesn’t invalidate the list in the opposite manner Bill Murray validated it. No disrespect to Mr. Sandler but I’m not his biggest fan. With that said, I can confidently say “Waterboy” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and was in strong contention for favorite comedic sports movie. Don’t let the fact it’s number two detract from how good this movie actually is. Every actor in this movie is perfectly cast, from Fairuza Balk, a cameo by WWE’s own Big Show, The Fonz, and to mother fucking Kathy Bates killing it as momma.
Many years ago, I was discussing with a friend our favorite sports movies. He couldn’t grasp the fact that this isn’t only my favorite comedic sports movie, but also my favorite sports movie in general, and even one of my top movies of all time. Just a few days ago, I was speaking with a co-worker about this movie which was the catalyst for this list in the first place. I’m fighting the urge to simply quote line after line as way of explanation. If you don’t know, this is about the real-world Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Granted details were changed, as is the case of every ‘based on true events’ movie, but the premise of four Jamaicans traveling to Alberta, Canada to compete in an ice-based sport, is funny off the bat. Add the legendary John Candy to steer the ship (and coach the team) and you’ve got the recipe for one of the funniest movies of all time. And remember, when naming a child, pet, or even a bobsled, “Tallulah, sounds like a two-dollar hooker.”
So, there you have it; my favorite sports comedies, or comedic sports, movies of all time. Agree or disagree? Comment below and let me know.
Remember to keep reading, and enjoy life.