Monday, April 28, 2008

Where have all the great sports movies gone?

I used to live in a place where sports movies were great. Where a trip to the movies was an exciting and entertaining time. And popping a VHS provided 120 minutes of laughter, sadness, or triumph. Sometimes all of the above.

Then it was over.

For many decades movies depicting real life events, biographies of famed athletes, and even fictional incidents were the threshold into how great sports really are. Through the years, us moviegoers have experienced so many emotions at the local movie theater.

Then it was over.

For me, it began as a wide eyed boy at Easy Video. Browsing through the aisles looking for something to accomodate my need for entertainment. I landed on Major League as a young lad and instantly fell in love. The brash and bold depiction of major league baseball and the exaggeration that followed was gold. From then on, I went before my time and rented as many sports movies as I could find. The Bad News Bears, Slapshot, and Caddyshack instantly jumped on my top lists. After renting all the comedic sports movies that were listed as classic, I went to the dramatic ones. Field of Dreams, Rudy, The Program.

As I was renting these movies every weekend, more great movies were appearing in the theater. Even no-talent actors such as Adam Sandler, Kevin Costner, even Michael Jordon were creating great sports movies, each in their own way.

Then it was over.

As time went on and the 90s, the best decade for sports movies in this bloggers opinion, ended, so did ideas for sports movies. There was no explanation for this lack of creativity or even research for old sports stories. It just ended. Abruptly. I mean come on, a great movie was created about Jamaican bobsledders! And suddenly there are no more ideas?? Instead we are left with a story about a retarded boy working on a college football team.

Even when great ideas for movies arise, such as the tragic events of Marshall University, we are left with Hollywood garbage, ruined by hacks such as McG or Richard Tollin.

Even when we take big name actors such as Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson and put them in a basketball movie about the ABA, it turns into garbage.

No, not every sports movie in the past few years has been bad. We have been blessed with such gems as Miracle, Cinderella Man, and Ali.

But why did these movies underachieve at the box office? Has the movie-goer lost interest in the sports genre? Has Hollywood put out too many busts in the past 10 years that people think its over?

I certainly hope not.

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