5 sports movies to stream during quarantine
We are all struggling without sports during the COVID-19 crisis, and if you’re like me, you are looking everywhere you can to fill the void. I cannot tell you how many classic NCAA Tournament games and soccer matches I have re-watched over the past few days.
However, sports movies are another way to scratch the itch and maybe make us laugh a bit during these scary times.
With all the streaming options available, plenty of sports movies are just a click away. But which should you watch? While there are plenty of “classics” available, here are the five sports movies I recommend watching while in quarantine. They are terrific, and will make you laugh or lift your spirits, as well.
Available on Netflix
Will Smith put in one of his best performances when he portrayed "The Greatest." The biopic explores Muhammad Ali’s life, as he challenged Sonny Liston for the heavyweight belt, risked his career by speaking out against the Vietnam War, converted to Islam, and was banished from the ring.
It also touches on two of his most famous fights, the “Fight of the Century” against Joe Frazier and “The Rumble In The Jungle” against George Foreman.
This movie shows who Ali was at heart — a kind, benevolent man, who did not believe in war but believed in lifting those around him. Brash and cocky between the ropes, Ali had to navigate issues in his personal and political life that caused him to adapt and adjust.
His interactions with Howard Cosell (played wonderfully by Jon Voight) also give the viewer an insight into the fun-loving nature of the man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
Available to rent on Amazon Video
Most everyone reading this has seen Caddyshack, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. The movie follows a young caddie who works at Bushwood Country Club, trying to raise money for college. He volunteers to caddie for the director of the caddie scholarship program, Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight), in an attempt to get a leg up. Meanwhile, the man he typically caddies for (played by Chevy Chase) attempts to mentor him.
Rodney Dangerfield plays Al Czervik, a wealthy golfer who causes havoc at the club and antagonizes everyone. The real conflict, though, is between the insane groundskeeper, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), and the amazing dancing gopher, as the former tries to prevent the latter from destroying the course.
Even 40 years after its release, the movie is still hilarious, and ESPN once named it “the funniest sports movie ever made.”
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Available on HBO Go
In the words of Patches O’Houlihan, “Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation.” It’s also the basis of a very funny movie that features a star-studded cast, led by Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn.
With his Average Joe’s Gym about to be foreclosed, Vaughn and his clients attempt to save it by winning the $50,000 grand prize at the American Dodgeball Association of America tournament in Las Vegas. They must overcome Globo Gym’s Purple Cobras, led by Stiller’s egomaniacal owner White Goodman.
The movie is extremely quoteable, especially the eccentric “ESPN 8, the Ocho” commentator Pepper Brooks (played by Jason Bateman). If you’ve never seen it, you will immediately recognize some of the lines and gifs that are utilized often. There are also some terrific cameos, and Rip Torn steals the show as the geriatric O’Houlihan.
Available on Hulu
The Oakland Athletics changed how baseball analytics are utilized with Billy Beane’s “moneyball” concept. Beane (played by Brad Pitt) had to figure out a way to remain competitive before the 2002 season, as he was set to lose multiple key players to free agency. He hired Peter Brand (a composite character likely representing multiple people in the A's front office), an economics student from Yale, who came up with a program to analyze players based on statistical models, rather than traditional scouting methods.
Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman both put in outstanding turns as Brand and A’s manager Art Howe, respectively, and Pitt put in one of the best performances of his career.
The film navigates the 2002 season and how Beane’s system changes the face of baseball forever. Chris Pratt also stars as first baseman Scott Hatteberg, in one of his earlier roles in Hollywood. Moneyball was nominated for multiple Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Pitt.
Space Jam (1996)
Available on Netflix
With the LeBron James-led sequel on its way next year, why not watch (or hopefully re-watch) the original?
When the owner of Moron Mountain sends his goons to steal the basketball talent from multiple NBA players (including Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, and Patrick Ewing), Michael Jordan is kidnapped by Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes crew. They team up to defeat the Moron Mountain “Mon-Stars” team and regain their freedom.
The half animation, half live-action movie features an outstanding cast, including Danny DeVito, Bill Murray, Jordan, and multiple NBA players (Barkley, Bogues, Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Danny Ainge, Scottie Pippen, and others).
The soundtrack is outstanding, which adds to the movie’s enjoyment value. If you have kids at home with you, this is a terrific movie for everyone to enjoy.