Ok, I'll admit it, I love sports. I love movies. Clearly, it makes sense that I love sports movies. As for the rules, comedy helps here. True sports drama doesn't really work. As Exhibit 1, look at Any Given Sunday. Huge cast, real looking football scenes, actual NFL and college players, drama. And it came up short. Sure, this is a great scene. But it just didn't work.
As for the dramatic movies, sure, there are places for them. There are a few sports movies that are dramatic, but I think they are the exception, not the rule.
I'll even admit that most sports movies are formulaic. Group of misfits don't get along, something brings them together, musical montage of training or practice, something bad happens, they win, either on the field or morally. That's basically how it goes. But it works. And I like it.
1. Major League. All of Bob Ueker's lines were ad-libbed. No script. All laughs. Sure, Charlie Sheen isn't that believable as a pitcher. But, President David Palmer makes a compelling Cuban slugger, Wesley Snipes offers surprisingly funny one liners, Corbin Bernsen's best work, Tom Berenger is believable as a washed up catcher, and Lou Brown was Oscar worthy. I could watch this once a week and not get sick of it. Same for Caddy Shack.
2. Caddy Shack -- Bill Murray. Chevy Chase. Rodney Dangerfield. Plus, Judge Smails, Spaulding, and on and on. Unbelievably funny, even today.
3. Raging Bull -- In black and white. Good film. True story of Jake LaMotta.
4. Hoosiers -- How can you not like Hoosiers?
5. Cool Runnings -- Gentlemen, this is a bobsled. Sanka, you dead mon?
6. Bull Durham -- Second best baseball movie.
7. Brian's Song. If you cry here, it's ok. If you don't get a little choked up, you're not a good person.
8. Rudy. This would be higher on the list if Rudy didn't go on to become a hobbit and also if I didn't dislike Notre Dame so much. But, this scene is pretty inspirational.
9. Rocky 1 through 4. Five was awful, I never even bothered to see 6. This would be higher if not for the interracial man love between Rocky and Apollo. Not there's anything wrong with it, I just don't want to see it on TNT every other weekend. If this isn't the epitome of the 1980's, I'm not sure what is.
10. Tin Cup/Jerry Maguire. Both romantic comedies hiding as sports movies, both pretty good.