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BLEEDIN’ WICKED GOOGLY… Films about 35 of those “Other” Sports (Part 7 of 7) by JAY

Posted on April 29th, 2009
Posted on April 29th, 2009

Yessir sporting activities, like crooked cops, malevolent extraterrestrials and nymphomaniacal teens, just lends itself to treatment on the silver screen. Yet apart from films centered on the big four – you heard me, four (football, basketball, baseball, golf) – few seem to have any knowledge or interest in cinematic depictions of the so-called lesser athletic endeavors. So let’s take a look at some participatorily-challenged sports and the films which sought – with varying degrees of success – to bring them to the forefront of the public conscience…

(CONTINUED FROM PART 6)

31. Table Tennis

WINNER: “A Great Wall”. You don’t know how badly I wanted to say “Forrest Gump”, but as far as treatment of the sport goes nothing has even come close to “Wall”. The film is a prodigy flick along the lines of “Searching for Bobby Fischer” with a few glaring continuity errors, but when it comes to ping pong — it’s da bomb. (NOTE FROM COOP: Check out the hilarious Independent Spirit Award nominee “Ping Pong Playa” as well!)

Honorable Mention (here it is): “Forrest Gump”.

32. Tennis

WINNER: “Wimbledon”. I suppose by virtue of it being denigrated as a country-club pastime, tennis is depicted in film only as the backdrop of a romantic comedy or slapstick farce.

I’m going with Rotten Tomatoes here and proclaiming “Wimbledon” the winner by a foot fault over(Honorable Mention) “Match Point”.

33. Track & Field

WINNER: “Chariots of Fire”. The Vangelis soundtrack aside, this is one of my favorite movies (let alone sports films) ever. Its religious overtones are in perfect keeping with the periodic depiction of Georgian England and highlight the struggle between runners Liddell and Abrahams. The cast including Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers and Alice Krige is top notch.

Most Honorable Mention: “Prefontaine” and “Without Limits” both recount the meteoric rise and tragic end of a true racing legend.

34. Weight Lifting

WINNER: Nada. As far as I can tell, there has as yet to be a film produced about the competitive sport of weight lifting. Bodybuilding has its “Pumping Iron”, but that is a documentary. Besides, bodybuilding is as much a “sport” as bikini waxing.

35. Wrestling

WINNER: “VisionQuest”. Saving the best for last, this is my all-time favorite sports movie. While many will decry it as just another coming-of-age 80’s teen drama, “VisionQuest” is oh so much more. Unlike any other film apart from “Rocky”, this little flick details what sacrifices an athlete must endure to become a champion. Apart from the egregious Madonna vignettes, this Harold Becker classic has the ultimate 80’s soundtrack and is, in my humble opinion, a must see for any sports fan.

So there you have it. There are certainly other sports that I have omitted
due either to ignorance or indifference. I leave it others to fill in the
blanks. As Ebby Calvin LaLoosh once said…: “You gotta play this game
with fear and ignorance…” I couldn’t agree more.

-Jay

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

OTHER “LIST” ARTICLES…

#1:  BLEEDIN’ WICKED GOOGLY… Films about 35 of those “Other” Sports (Parts 1 – 7) by JAY
#2: “Bard None: A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY

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