It is that awful sports window where there is nothing going on whatsoever (AKA Baseball season). Thank god the olympics start in two weeks. In the interim, we are left to provide some food for thought in the form of a top 10 list. Today's list: Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Sports movies...
10) The Mighty Ducks (1, 2 or 3) - Aside from the fact that Emilio Esteves is about 5'2 on skates and probably can' play a lick of hockey, there's always a soft spot in my heart for Goldberg and the Flying V
9) Victory - A team full of prisoners being held by the Nazis in World War 2 plot an escape during halftime of a soccer game organized by the Nazis, have the escape plan come together perfectly, only the team decides that they can actually win the game (down 0-4) at halftime. The team abandons the escape plan, goes back in and the game finishes a 4-4 tie. Thats soccer for you. Unintentional comedy abounds!
8) Remember the Titans - The movie may actually be the best story and all around movie on this list, and it's a really good film, making it a tough selection on the guilty pleasures list. Here's the amazing thing though. Despite all the racial tention at the high school and on the football field, not a single person drops an N word or an F Bomb. And the movie has a G rating. Love the movie, but come on...
7) The Karate Kid Part 1 - He kicks Johnny in the fucking face at the end of the movie! If ever there was a dude in need of some chin music from Daniel LaRussa, it was this bastard. Couple it with the absolutely sensational "You're the Best Around" musical montage and the mysterious and not overly chatty asian fella teaching the Karate, it't absolutely a must see
6) Lionheart - The undisputed crown jewel in the Van Damme collection. It's MMA before there was such a thing. Van Damme is on the run from the French Foreign Legion, taking care of his recently dead brother's family and doing it while engaging in a clandestine fighting ring organized by super-rich people. Fights take place in a parking lot where the ring is created by expensive cars and illuminated by headlights, a half filled swimming pool and a
5) Days of Thunder - It might be a leap to put NASCAR on this list because the car does most of the work, but if ESPN covers it, it counts. Tom Cruise as driver Cole Trickle. Nicole Kidman with a perm. Nothing but left turns. And a heroic, if completely unfathomable, rally at Daytona. It's like Top Gun, only they eliminated jets and swapped in rednecks.
4) Driven - Again, we are in the domain of racing, this time Open Wheel. This is, for what it's worth, the exact same movie as Days of Thunder with only a few subtle differences to distinguish them. The reason it ranks higher than Days of Thunder is that it's Stallone, which makes it cooler and the effects/racing sequences and crash scenes are MUCH better. Props to costars Til Schweiger, better known as Hugo Stiglitz from Inglorious Basterds, Kip Pardue, better known as Sunshine from Remember the Titans and Estella Warren, who can't act at all but looks really hot doing so.
3) Major League - Let's go over all the awesome things this movie has working for it. A cast consisting of a lot of B actors (Corbin Bernsen, Tom Berringer), Renee Russo, THE Wesley Snipes (Always bet on black!) and Charlie "The Warlock" Sheen. The team sucks, then, as if you could do this in baseball, suddenly decides to just be good. Eucker is great doing the play by play and the climax of movie has Jake Taylor calling his shot, surprising everyone by laying down a bunt and watching Willie Mays Hayes go from 2nd to home on a ball that never leaves the infield. Improbable, not at all. Impossible, abso-fucking-lutely. And yet, whenever it's on, I still stop on the station and almost always watch until the end. It's the Shawshank Redemption of sports movies, always on and always compelling.
2) Varsity Blues - I cannot put into words how great this movie is. I can do most of the dialogue in the film off the top of my head. Why is this movie great? Whipped cream bikini on the super-hot Ali Larter. Check. Jon Voight as the asshole coach. Check. Dawson. Check. A teacher discovered to be a stripper. Check. The most ridiculous dialogue ever written. Check. Guns. Pigs. A redneck named Billy Bob. Check, Check, Check. Cast is awesome. Scott Caan smashes some dude in the nuts with a whiffle ball bat and then steals a police cruiser within 90 seconds of each other. And then there's the "I don't want your life" speech. Finally, I leave you with this... Oopty Oop. Just sensational entertainment.
1) Rocky IV - There was a good reason for Rocky II because you needed to see him win. There was less of a reason for Rocky III unless you had a really good bad guy, and Mr. T delivered. Rocky IV looks almost starkly unnecessary at first glance. But then you dig a little deeper.
You've got the quintesential showdown between the USA and USSR, we send our best guy, they send theirs and we settle once and for all who is better in the ring. The fucking Russian (played by the VERY Swedish Dolph Lundgren) goes out and kills Apollo in the ring. The question is, what is Rocky going to do now? Easy answer, hes gonna go to Russia (on Christmas Eve no less) and beat the shit out of Drago. Adrian doesn't like it one bit. Rocky needs to take a drive in the Maserati so we queue up the "There's No Easy Way Out" musical montage. Fantastic.
Rocky leaves to go train in Russia, pissing Adrian off. What a whiny bitch she is in this movie. We get to Russia and its essentially the Siberian wilderness. Rocky brings Apollo's trainer Duke, who did such a bang up job getting Apollo ready for Drago, and he brings Pauly, who is the same useless fucker he's been for 3 movies at this point. Here, we begin the unorthodox training regimen, consisting of chopping wood and lifting a net full of rocks. Adrian shows up in fucking Russia, which the film makes appear easier than you know it would have been. Rocky is frustrated. Rocky decides to go for a run, away from the KGB douchebags monitoring his every move. Queue "Hearts on Fire" music montage while training like crazy and climbing a mountain. Yells Drago 2 times at the top of the mountain. Beyond fantastic.
Its Fight Time! Fight (typically) starts poorly for Rocky. Gets the hell beat out of him for a round and a half and while flailing around the ring, takes a wild swing at Drago, cuts him. Now we've got a fight on our hands. The next 12 rounds go by in another montage sequence and we cut all the way to Round 15. Realistically, Rocky is gonna have to knock the Russian out to win the fight. The Russian just needs to stay the fuck away from him (like Apollo in Rocky II) and still chooses not to (like Apollo in Rocky II). Furious finish with Rocky pounding away at Drago. Drago goes down. Rocky wins. Then we get the "If I can change, and you can change, we can all change" speech which is both shockingly bad and wonderful all at the same time.
The movie, as you can tell, is sensational. Just amazing.