Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Best Baseball Movies

I was arguing with a friend the other day about the best baseball movies of all time. Arguing about movies always turns into an exercise in irrationality because every opinion boils down to some gut level like or dislike that we can't explain, but that's what makes it so fun. Anyway, my friend's opinions were, of course, ridiculous.

Here is the list I was proposing:

1.The Natural
2.Bull Durham
3.Field of Dreams
4.A League of Their Own
5.The Bad News Bears
6.The Rookie
7.Eight Men Out
8.For Love of the Game
9.Pride of the Yankees
10.Rookie of the Year

My friend wanted to strike "The Bad News Bears," "For Love of the Game," and "Rookie of the Year" from the list and insert "The Babe," "Major League," and "Bang the Drum Slowly." I was able to break the "Drum" and "The Babe" pretty quickly because I haven't seen them, and I don't have much desire to see them. "Bang the Drum Slowly" strikes me as the baseball version of "Brian's Song," and I'm tired of bawling my eyes out at movies in front of strangers. "The Babe" was just too much for me--if you're going to do a biopic of Babe Ruth, you either have to focus on an element of his life or make a long movie, and, as far as I could tell, "The Babe" didn't do either. And while John Goodman has the body for the movie, it was hard for me to see him as the Sultan of Swat.

As for "Major League," I think it's one of the most overrated baseball movies of all time, mostly because it's just not that funny.

"Bad News Bears" is a great movie, and, although it's about kids, deserves to be on any list of the best baseball movies of all time. I realize that "Rookie of the Year" isn't a great movie, but it's fun and pretty funny in some parts. And "For Love of the Game" is a very underrated movie. Yes, there are three Kevin Costner movies on my list and, yes, Costner is a megalomaniac who inserts too much of his own personality into his movies, but "Bull Durham" is a GREAT baseball movie. You can argue that "Field of Dreams" isn't really a baseball movie at all, but a human relationship movie set in a baseball context, but to that I say "shut up!"


Nate said...

Now is that the original Bad News Bears or the Billy Bob Thornton remake? And what about the Keanu Reeves baseball opus Hardball?

Leiv & Erik said...

Good point--the original "Bears." Isn't "Hardball" essentially "The Mighty Ducks" on a baseball field?

Nate said...

Yes, but isn't The Mighty Ducks essentially Bad News Bears on ice skates?

Leiv & Erik said...

That is an excellent point. Hilarious also!

DM said...

Bull Durham in the only flick you list that has any VORP here -- all the rest are replacement movies. Yes, even The Natural, which is a decent movie (but a better book) and I like it, but I also like Jamey Carroll.

And I agree 100% on Major League, though my co-bloggers will ding me for that.

Leiv & Erik said...

Great use of lingo, DM. I love the Natural, but I must admit that I've lost former affinity for Jamey.

Ryan said...

My list would have Pride of the Yankees and Major League as the only good baseball movies.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

"Major League" not funny? Why do I even read this blog?! Et tu, dm?
Popular opinion is always right.

Ah, what am I saying, I have spent the past decade fighting a losing battle against the "Caddyshack" lionizers. I'm convinced half of them haven't even seen the movie, and have just seen Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray outtakes. Do they not realize that half the movie is about some caddy!

Leiv & Erik said...

I agree completely re Caddyshack. It's become required thinking to say that Caddyshack is good, and you're shouted down as a traitor if you have the temerity to voice any misgivings about it. I love Bill Murray, but I can't stand his character in that movie, and Chevy Chase is the most overrated comedic actor of all time.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

Chevy Chase...ugh. It's that time of year again to hear people say "What?! You don't like Christmas Vacation?"