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Cinema Connoisseur: Five sports flicks that hit plenty of touch goals

Allen Gaynor | Interrobang | Lifestyles | April 7th, 2008

If you happen to be a hardcore sports fan, this is truly the best time of the year. Major League Baseball just opened up the regular season, a new college basketball champion is about to be crowned, plus the NHL and NBA are about to begin their lengthy playoff period. All this, plus we will soon see the first ever UFC event in Canada, and the taping of a second season of “American Gladiators!” April 2008 is shaping up to be a banner month in the field of athletics.

When I think of movies like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Raging Bull and Hoosiers, it makes it very hard to remember that there have actually been some very good sports flicks produced. There in fact have been, so with that in mind, I give you the undisputed top five sports films of all time.

5. Air Bud: Golden Receiver
Dogs simply cannot play football. That's a lesson the CFL learned during one of their failed expansion attempts. Yet somehow the brilliant writing team of Paul Tamasy and Aaron Mendelsohn (yes, the Aaron Mendelsohn) were able to envision a universe where at least one dog, a golden retriever named Bud, not only could play football, put perform at a level which would arouse doping suspicion. Air Bud is worthy of a Super Bow-wow-wow.

4. Necessary Roughness
This is another football film, but it doesn't feature any canines — just a dog of a football team. The Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos are the victims of NCAA sanctions, probably for having too long of a name. They are unable to offer scholarships, so they must make up a team consisting entirely of their student body. So they end up with a 34-year-old quarterback, a female place kicker, a martial arts expert and plenty of other zany characters. Can this gang of misfits manage to do the impossible and actually win a game? Sitting back and finding out will truly be a rewarding experience for anyone. This one scores a touchdown and a two-point conversion. It then recovers an onside kick, and immediately scores another touchdown. That's how good it is. Comedian and Shakespearean trained thespian Sinbad stars, alongside supermodel Kathy Ireland.

3. Caddyshack 2
I think anyone in his or her right mind would agree with me when I say that golf is boring. So it would stand to reason that a film about golf would also be boring. Most of them are, except for Caddyshack 2. Far superior to the original Caddyshack, this one sees a low-income housing developer get rejected in his attempts to join a snooty golf course. In retaliation, he buys the golf course, and turns it into an amusement park. Hilarity ensues, leading to a winner take all golf showdown. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd shine in this one.

2. The Cutting Edge
This is an appropriate one with the Olympics coming up. Well, except for the fact that it deals with a Winter Olympics sport, figure skating. A hockey prospect sees his dreams of an Olympic hockey medal come to an end due to a severe injury. A young figure skater sees her dreams of a medal jeopardized when she cannot find a partner that can live up to her high standards. Luckily for us the viewing audience, the two join together, and make beautiful magic together both on and off the ice. If you're not sold yet, you will be after I tell you that Terry O'Quinn, better known as John Locke from “Lost” has a major role in this movie.

1. Rocky III
This is truly the cream of the crop, quite simply the epitome of sports films. In this third installment of the Rocky series, the Italian Stallion, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, is set to retire on top of the boxing world. However, a devastating and charismatic pugilist by the name of Clubber Lang draws him back into the ring. After Rocky's legendary trainer Mickey passes on, Rocky must pick up the pieces, and regain the eye of the tiger, with a little help from his former adversary, Apollo Creed. It's a story about love, it's a story about redemption, and it stars both Mr. T and Hulk Hogan. It's the most fun you can have watching a movie unless your name is Pee-Wee Herman and your pants are around you ankles. That last comment is as relevant today as it was back in 1991.
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