This is a rough time for sports fans. We’ve lost so many hours of entertainment. These days, I’d be gearing up for March Madness. These are troubling times indeed. However, I want to help give you a respite. Sports movies still exist. They haven’t gone anywhere. Here are 10 sports movies that are among my favorites. Give them a watch for your sports fix.
Slap Shot: To me, heading into Slap Shot you have to remember you aren’t supposed to consider the characters admirable. This movie was written to be, in part, an accurate reflection of the world of minor league hockey. Even the guys on the Chiefs, and Paul Newman as Reggie Dunlop, are lousy people. They are problematic, in the parlance of our times. Still, this is a great movie. It’s funny, gritty, and packs a punch.
Breaking Away: I love hockey. I do not love competitive cycling. Still, Breaking Away is a really good movie. It features a fine ensemble, and it’s a really good film. It’s as much coming-of-age movie as sports movie, but it still counts. You don’t have to care about bicycles to like Breaking Away.
A League of Their Own: What a cast. Anytime a movie is being headlined by Tom Hanks and Geena Davis you are starting off from a good place. Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell are actually both good! Believe it! There’s some good laughs in this movie, Jon Lovitz comes in for like five minutes of nothing but quips early one, but it’s also pretty sweet.
Moneyball: I’m a sabermetrics and analytics person in sports, but the affinity for this movie can’t just be from Fangraphs readers. Moneyball was nominated for Best Picture! That’s probably in part because Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt were both nominated for acting awards. Pitt plays long-time Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, who used advanced statistics to turn his underfunded team into a juggernaut.
Happy Gilmore: I am not a fan of Adam Sandler comedies. Honestly, the only one I really like is Happy Gilmore. Billy Madison and The Wedding Singer are decent, but I digress. This is not a bad time for dumb, goofy comedies. That’s Sandler’s specialty. He plays a hockey player turned golfer who remains a lummox. Hey, not everything has to be a Best Picture nominee.
Miracle: This is a solid movie. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s a feel-good biopic of the 1980s U.S. men’s hockey team that upset the Soviet Union. Some of it is by-the-numbers, but I still like it just fine.
The Fighter: Here’s another sports movie that Oscar nominated. Watch it mostly for Christian Bale’s performance, which won an Oscar. Melissa Leo won one too. She’s also great. Also, Conan O’Brien’s sister has a small role, which is amusing.
The Mighty Ducks: You might need something to watch with a family. The Mighty Ducks is fine for that. It’s super goofy, but fun enough. I prefer the sequel, but you can’t start with that one, obviously. You’ll have to wait for Iceland.
Rocky: I don’t think this is the best of the Rocky movies. My personal favorite is Rocky III. Again, though, you can’t really start with the third movie. Or can you? You know that Rocky Balboa is an underdog boxer, right? Maybe you can skip to the third one if you only have so much time. However, Rocky did win Best Picture. Don’t forget that.
Ford vs. Ferrari: This movie is good, but it’s also quite new. That’s why I figured I’d throw it in as a recommendation. You may not have seen Ford vs. Ferrari yet. Now you can. It’s a solid double of a movie, which is a sports reference. I hope we don’t start forgetting those as time goes on.