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9 Funniest Sports Movies
The way I figure it, a good sports flick has got to do one of two things. It’s either got to make you frantically rub away some tears (the way macho guys like me do at the end of movies like Rudy or Miracle), or make you practically bust a gut from laughing so hard. If it’s somewhere in between, then it’s probably not worth the celluloid it’s printed on, and it’s certainly not worth and hour and a half of your life.
In previous weeks here at Total Pro Sports, we’ve brought you lists of the most sinister sports movie villains and the greatest sports movie heros. Today, we bring you simply the 9 Funniest Sports Movies. Obviously, this is a subjective endeavor, so go easy on me. However, let me know if there some other movies you think belong in the top 9.
9. Tin Cup (1996)
Tin Cup’s humor is sly and subtle. Sometimes that’s a bad thing for a comedy—like when the comedy isn’t actually funny. But in this case, it’s good. Kevin Costner’s character, Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, is basically a variation of the character he played so brilliantly in Bull Durham. Sure, he’s a little less suave and sophisticated than Crash Davis, but McAvoy has that same philosophical approach to his sport that chicks, apparently, can’t resist. In this clip, for example, we see McAvoy give his classic, well-worn groan-inducing spiel (replete with philosophical asides concerning such topics as the nature of perfection) about how a golf swing is like poetry. And all to impress a lady.
8. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
I assumed I would not like this movie when I sat down to watch it for the first time. But let me tell you, I was really glad someone else got to do the picking that night at Blockbuster, because I thought (and still think) this movie is freaking hilarious. Now, you have to remember, this movie came out in 2004, which was at least 2 or 3 full years before Vince Vaughn was starring or making cameo appearances in every comedy Hollywood produced. So, at the time, his fast-talking wry-joke schtick was not so grating back then. Ditto for Ben Stiller, but substitute “buffoonish” for “fast-talking wry-joke.”. My favorite scene in the movie has always been when Lance Armstrong meets Pete La Fleur at the airport bar and asks him what horrible disease has caused him to quit on his team, while also name dropping ESPN 8, “The Ocho.” Classic.
7. Kingpin (1996)
The plot of Kingpin is stupid, but the cast is epic. Woody Harrelson? Genius. Bill Murray? Genius. The hot chick? Hot. Randy Quaid? Genius. (Yes, I know, now he’s insane, but he used to be one of the most brilliant comedic actors around.) I loved this movie when I was 16, and I still love it now. Bill Murray has done so many “serious” (i.e. depressing) movies in recent years that people have forgotten that he used to be the king of over-the-top comedy. Here, as the nutjob Ernie McCracken, he is most definitely at the top of his game. In fact, you know what? He’s so good, he deserves a second clip:
6. Major League (1989)
You know, I think if I were doing a list of the best sports movies—and I’m not—Major League would probably be higher. But when I think of it strictly as a comedy, it only comes in at #6. Now, six is still pretty good. I’m just saying, it’s weird the way my instinct about this film seems to operate. In any case, like so many funny sports movies, many of the funniest aspects of this flick are subtle. Take, for instance, the way Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) winces in girlish pain when he’s hit by the pitch in this clip. Subtle, but hilarious (to me) in the larger context of the film. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a good clip of the movie’s most hilarious character, broadcaster Harry Doyle, who is of course played by the incomparable Bob Uecker. You’ll just have to watch the whole movie.)
5. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
This clip right here is the litmus test, and the only thing you need to know about Talladega Nights. If you think it’s stupid, fine. If you think it’s hilarious, fine. Either way, there is nothing more I need to say to make my case.
4. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Happy Gilmore is one of the few “early” Adam Sandler films I actually like. That’s probably because, unlike a lot of his other pictures, the lame bits and stupid jokes just seem to work so well here. The presence of certain actors certainly helps (Christopher McDonald is douchey gold as Shooter McGavin). So does the absence of other actors (sorry, Rob Schneider). Plus, any movie where the title character gets into a fistfight with Bob Barker has got to be good.
3. Bull Durham (1988)
Bull Durham is the rare sports comedy that manages to be both hilarious and realistic. Of course, it’s also a sports movie that’s not just about sports, but also life in general. In fact, it gets quite philosophic at times. However, with this list, we’re just going to stick with the funny stuff, like the all-time classic scene we have here. The reason this scene is so fantastic is that it posits a theoretical answer to the question every baseball fan has asked at one time or another: I wonder what they hell those guys are talking about out there? Also, it’s performed brilliantly. “We’re dealing with a lot of shit.”
2. Caddy Shack (1980)
Stepping back, looking at the whole movie, I think Caddy Shack is pretty crappy. The plot is very loosely tied together, and the whole thing is really poorly edited. However, on a scene by scene basis, I think Caddy Shack is one of the funniest movies of all time, let alone among sports films. Murray is his typical brilliant self, and every time I watch it I am reminded that Chevy Chase used to be really funny, too. And to top it all off, that Judge Smails is easily one of the greatest sports movie villains of all time.
1. Slap Shot (1977)
With Slap Shot, my gut instinct works the opposite of the way it did with Major League. If I were doing a list of the all-time best sports movies, I’d probably slot the movie in somewhere between four and seven. But when it comes to sports comedies, there’s no doubt Slap Shot is the best. Watch this clip. If that’s not enough proof for you, go out and rent the movie. But don’t complain about my #1 pick until you watch the whole thing again for yourself. Then we can talk.