Germain’s 15 Favorite Sports Movies

White Men Cant Jump

5. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

As a 12 year-old suburban kid in 1992, watching Michael Jordan on the TV and pretending to be him in the driveway, I was ready to fall in love with a great basketball movie. It happened with Ron Shelton’s White Men Can’t Jump. The film had a unique voice, great characters and a hilarious non-stop lingo all its own. There was social commentary, super cool sports action and the undeniable charms of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson to boot. Just is magical, bittersweet tale of friendship, love, struggle and basketball.

Field of Dreams

4. Field of Dreams (1989)

As we near the end of this list you’ll notice a trend. My absolute favorite films, the ones that sit atop this list, have one thing in common: emotion. All four of these last films, and two in particular, are tear jerkers. And that’s what sports can do. They can give us a common language to express our wishes and desires. In the case of Field of Dreams, it’s a weird, etherial film that probably shouldn’t work. However, as the film evolves and begins to unravel its mysteries, we get to the center and see it’s a simple story of regret. Regret that a little boy never got to share something special with his Dad. Cue tears.

The Karate Kid

3. The Karate Kid (1984)

When we talk about The Karate Kid these days, it’s easy to talk about the finale. The funny lines and the cheesy Eighties music. To me though, all of that simply enhances a truly sweet, scary story of a family who leaves everything behind for a fresh start. Karate doesn’t really even come into the movie until the second act because the film is more interested in sucking you into the story and the budding, unconventional friendship between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. This way, once you get to “You’re The Best” and “Sweep the Leg” you’re on the edge of your seat and ultimately, jumping out of it in triumph.

Sean Astin Rudy

2. Rudy (1993)

I’ll never forget the first time I watched Rudy. I had rented the VHS. My parents didn’t care to watch it so I had to watch it by myself on a small TV. I was a Notre Dame fan at the time and this true story of one man’s stuggle to fulfill his dream – a dream I too had at that moment – was simply too much for me. At the very end of the movie, I found myself crying so hard I had to stop the movie with about 30 seconds left to go downstairs and tell my parents about it. To this day, the movie has a similar effect on me.

The Sandlot

1. The Sandlot (1993)

Apparently 1993 was a big year for me. Not only did I cry like a baby watching Rudy, I fell in love with Benny, Squints, Ham, Timmy, Tommy, Yeah Yeah, Smalls and the rest of the gang in The Sandlot. The story starts similar to The Karate Kid as a young man tries to make friends in a new, kind of scary world. He connects with friends through baseball, something he has to learn to become part of the group. Then, the film elevates itself when a shared goal – get back a Babe Ruth signed baseball – turns these boys into a family. I love the characters, the story, the baseball scenes, its surprises and the pitch perfect ending that’s exciting and tear-inducing. The Sandlot is kind of a blend of every other movie on this list, which is why it’s my favorite sports movies of all time.

Obviously there are so many other great sports movies. A few that came close to making my list but didn’t were Raging Bull, Bull Durham, Vision Quest, Varsity Blues, Kingpin and Win Win. What are your favorite sports movies?

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