Call me Roger Daltry if you wish, but yes, I’m talking about My Generation.
Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I just don’t get the films of yesteryear. Maybe the new stuff doesn’t evoke nostalgia and I merely write it off. Whatever the case may be, I firmly believe that the sports movies (and sometimes also kids movies) from my youth were a notch above those that appeared both before and after. The character development, the witty writing, the subtle jabs and references, it all just worked. They’re timeless. There are quotes from these sports movies that my friends, brothers and I have used and overused for years now. Here’s my list. Let the debate begin.
5. Little Big League (1994): Billy “The Kid” Haywood transforms a clubhouse full of misfits into a cohesive group of winners. Well, almost. Thanks for nothing, “Big Unit” and Junior. And that’s another point. You get big name athletes to appear in the movie? It always adds a certain level of credibility. Bowers with the bubble gum and the Reebok Pump glove. Mickey Scales with his flare on the base paths. Throw in a few quality tunes for the soundtrack (see “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts and “Centerfield” by John Fogerty) and you’ve got yourself a strong, very underrated flick.
4. Rudy (1993): This pick is likely a tad too sappy and sentimental for this audience, but if you can’t admit that you welled up when Fortune gives a big hand clap for Ruettiger when he gets into the game or when the Notre Dame players offer their spot on the roster to Rudy, then maybe you’re not a man after all. Rudy also features a phenomenal supporting character in Jon Favreau’s D-Bob and, after all, this is the movie that introduced Favreau to Vince Vaughn. Without Rudy we’re never blessed with the magic that is Swingers.
3. Major League (1989): “You may run like Mays, but you hit like sh*t.” Lou Brown epitomized the old school and his character offered legendary lines when trying to relate to the many personalities and egos that populated his clubhouse. There are almost too many phenomenal characters to credit them all, but I appreciate this movie most for introducing me to Bob Uecker for the first time. Major League also exposed a new audience to the 1960s hit song “Wild Thing.”
2. Rookie of the Year (1993): Henry Rowengartner had little to do with this movie earning the two spot. It can be largely attributed to two gents: Chet Steadman and Phil Brickma. I won’t go so far as to say that Brickma was Daniel Stern’s best character of all time, but it was damn good. This role came at the height of his career. He was still most famously known as Marv from the Home Alone movies. Throw in a little John Candy and you’ve got yourself comedic gold. For a few of my favorite phrases from my youth (“Funky butt loving,” and “Hot ice. You heat up the ice cubes. It’s the best of both worlds!”), I thank you kindly. (Fun fact: Daniel Stern actually directed Rookie of the Year).
1. The Sandlot (1993): More than anything, this movie reaffirmed my love for baseball. I was never any good at it, but always appreciated the game and its prominence in the fabric of our country’s history. On top of that, Wendy Peffercorn. Yes, I realize that’s not a complete sentence but what else is there to really say? She drove Squints over the edge, and pre-teens everywhere could relate.
What sports movies and quotes are you dropping like it’s going out of style? Do you agree with my selections and think that sports movies now just aren’t as good as they were back in the day? I want to hear from you so give me your thoughts in the comments.
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