Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Top 10 Baseball Movies

On Tuesday night's show, one of our callers "Steve from Roslyn" brought up the idea of a top ten list of baseball movies. Ironically enough he got the idea from a Bull Durham audio clip I had played, Bull Durham being a movie that would be in most people's top ten lists and a movie which "Steve from Roslyn" had never seen.

So I figured I would take the idea and run with it, and compile a list of what I consider to be the ten best baseball movies of all time. If you, like our friend from Roslyn have never seen one or more of these ten flicks, be sure to correct that in the very near future. And if I happened to miss one of your all time favorites, by all means let me know!Continue reading Top 10 Baseball Movies...

10. Little Big League- I know what you're thinking, this one is a stretch, and you're probably right. But still I can't deny that this movie is a guilty pleasure of mine, and despite it's silly premise it delves deeper into the subtleties and nuances of the game than most of the other films on the list. And compared to it's contemporaries (Angels in the Outfield and Rookie of the Year), this one is oscar worthy. And besides, who can resist Kevin Elster playing the bad guy?

9. The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings- I won't make anybody feel bad for never seeing, or even hearing of this one. That said, if you read this and STILL haven't seen it within a month's time I will hunt you down and viciously kill bombard you with Jewish guilt. Take The Sting, replace all the grifters with Negro League ball players, and throw in Richard Pryor planning to learn Spanish in order to break into the majors as a Cuban. Put it in your queue now.

8. Eight Men Out- This movie always stood as an entertaining look into one of baseball's darkest moments, but nowadays when I watch it it makes me wonder how the "Black Sox" scandal matches up with the current steroids debacle. It's cheaters vs. the cheaters and everybody loses. Say it ain't so!

7. The Bad News Bears- The foul language and racist remarks stack up with today's standards, but even the raunchiest of comedies nowadays usually wait until at least high school to deliver the kind of insults I dare not repeat. I love that in order to save production money the soundtrack consists mainly of public domain classical music, a cost cutting measure that fits right in with the team's sponsor choice. Ignore the remake, stick with the classic.

6. A League of Their Own- How fitting is it that a movie that's supposed to show us how women can play just as good as the men winds up with one of the most oft-quoted lines in baseball cinema history. Honestly, if you've never said "There's no crying in baseball!" out loud, you definitely didn't get the memo.

5. The Sandlot- How fitting is it that the "Women as good as men" movie on this list is directly followed by a film whose most memorable line is "You play ball like a GIRL!!!" Not even TWO direct to DVD sequels can tarnish this all time classic, which is sure to be enjoyed by baseball fans FOREVER...FOREVER...

4. Major League- There's no question in my mind this one is the funniest of the bunch, yet despite all the laughs the baseball scenes still pack enough punch to have you cheering for the Tribe, when your sides aren't hurting that is. The love story subplot is a little over done, but the resulting Moby Dick comic book gag made it worthwhile.

3. Bull Durham- Baseball, religion, and sex all rolled into one. What's not to like? 108 stitches, 108 rosary beads--heck that almost made me give Jesus a chance too! Every kid dreams of making it to the big leagues, and this all time great shows us what happens when we follow that dream, but don't end up exactly where we thought we would.

2. Field of Dreams-
They say real men don't cry. Well, if you don't cry at the end of this one then I say you're not even human! The way in which this masterpiece seamlessly blends fantasy with reality serves as the perfect allegory for how baseball is able to capture our imaginations, and why it has been able to "Mark the time" for so many generations.

1. The Natural- I've probably told this story at least 100 times on our show, and I'll be happy to tell it again. This film is one of my earliest memories of going to the movie theater, and is largely responsible for my passion for movies AND baseball. For as long as I live I will never forget my father's visceral reaction when "Wonderboy" was split in two, and at that moment I learned just how powerful a movie can be. It's all too fitting that I will always think of my father when I see this movie, as Roy's father is as important as any of the myriad of themes and archetypes interwoven into this cinematic glimpse at perfection.

So there you have it. I know I missed the perennial favorite (And the only Oscar winner of the whole bunch) Pride of the Yankees, not to mention Damn Yankees, and I never met anybody who didn't like Billy Crystal's 61* (Notice a pattern in all those omissions? I swear it wasn't intentional). Heck, For Love of the Game would have been a great baseball movie if they cut out 3/4 of all the mushy stuff. But I tried to call 'em as I see 'em, and like I said, if I left off one of your top ten, don't hesitate to leave a comment and let me know!



Dean said...

Not a Sox fan but Fever Pitch was a good movie

Steve said...

The biggest problem with Fever Pitch (Besides Jimmy Fallon) is that there just isn't all that much baseball in it. Although this movie did help me sleep during a flight from Houston to New York, so that's something.