Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can’t Wait?

9 days and counting!
That is an eternity!
What to do in the mean time…

If you are a movie person and you love sports, then you already know that Hollywood has a true talent for bringing together sports and the silver screen, especially sports movies about boxing and baseball. There have been some incredible baseball movies over the years and any of them are liable to pop up on cable TV this week, or they can be rented to soothe and fulfill the void until Opening Day.
Here are my top ten (not in any particular order) that I recommend:

Major League
It is about our very own Cleveland Indians. The movie starts out showing the sights of the city with newspaper clippings documenting the failings of the club over the years…painful to see. As the story begins, the owner of the club dies and his showgirl wife develops a plan to break the contract with Major League Baseball and the city of Cleveland if she can run attendance into the ground. It is hilarious as the team unites despite their differences and develops their own last ditch plan to win, in spite of the “new” owner. This movie has become a cult classic as one liners from the great characters are repeated and recognized everywhere.
“Up your butt, Jobu!”
“Si si, Pedro!”
“I’m all for giving the sports writers in this town a big shit-burger to eat!”
“What a bunch of bullshit, I have a much better body than she does!”
“Nice catch Hayes, don’t ever f---ing do it again!”
“Want me to drag him outside, kick the shit outta him?”
“Hats for bats, keep bats warm, gracias!”
The Natural
What a movie! Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was. Robert Redford somehow pulls this off as a well past his time “rookie” who finally gets to the majors after his dream and career are derailed. He pretty much rips your heart out when he is in the maternity hospital and says to Glenn Close, “I wish dad coulda…God, I love baseball!”
Other great lines:
“You can’t pronounce it but it eats pretty good!”
“You’re the best damned baseball player I ever saw, suit up!”
“Your standing so close Gus, I’m not sure if those are my toes or yours that I’m feeling.”

Kill The Umpire!

William Bendix is priceless in this movie about a guy so crazy about baseball, it keeps costing him his job. He hates umpires but to stay employed and close to the game, he becomes an umpire. Drops in his eyes lead to a nickname of “Two-call Johnson.” Fast and funny as well as heart-warming.

It Happens Every Spring

Ray Milland is a physics professor who develops a substance that makes a baseball virtually impossible to hit. So of course he becomes an instant pitching sensation!

Field Of Dreams

Spooky, spiritual, but riveting. Kevin Kostner leads a fabulous cast in the creation of a baseball field for his, and his father’s heros to come and play once again. James Earl Jones gives a speech about baseball that stays etched in your memory forever. Burt Lancaster gives a wonderful performance in one of his final films.

Damn Yankees

A Washington Senators fan makes a deal with the devil to get beyond the Yankees and help the Senators win the pennant. Great musical with a great cast!

Pride Of The Yankees

A must see film every year. The Lou Gehrig story puts life and the game of baseball into perspective like no other movie.

Angels In The Outfield

This 1951 original is absolutely a Rite of Spring. Angels (not from California) assist the Pittsburgh Pirates to one of the greatest come from behind seasons to win the pennant. An orphan helps pull the team and the (heavenly) angels together while getting Paul Douglas and Janet Leigh together, despite the interference of Keenan Wynn.

Bull Durham

Kevin Kostner does it up right as a minor league catcher positioned to help pitching prospect Tim Robbins get to the “Bigs.” Susan Sarandon is priceless as she interacts with Robbins and Kostner.

Long Gone

This hard to find movie was made for TV (HBO) in 1987. It stars William Peterson and Virginia Madsen. Peterson is the player-manager of a minor league team who has to deal with corruption and racism while trying to win the championship. As I recall, he meets up with Virginia Madsen, a beauty pageant winner who sings (very poorly) the National Anthem on opening day, and they become a great couple and endure the season to reach their own happiness at the end. I loved this movie!

OK, so there are 10 movies that should help me pass the time until Monday, March 31st at 3:05 pm! I hope some of these movies will entertain you as well as help pass the time until the big day!
Enjoy and play ball!

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