Stop me if you've heard this one before: underdog faces Goliath opponent, said Goliath opponent gets out to an early lead, underdog pulls off miraculous comeback, cheesy synthesized soundtrack plays in background as hugs are exchanged across the screen.
It is the plot of (essentially) every single sports movie ever created, yet somehow, some people manage to screw up the formula.
For every great sports movie, there are five more that are horrible (or in the case of Rocky, there's a number V that's horrible). For every Miracle, there is a Mighty Ducks 3.
With so many out there, it's time to differentiate the great from the awful. There is one ground rule: children's movies are exempt. Really, it's hard to judge a movie made for a seven-year-old as being too cheesy. That means if you're a former professional wrestler whose name rhymes with "The Dock" and you've dabbled in the art of amazing acting, you can breathe easy. Same goes for you, sitcom star who once shared a baseball diamond with a monkey.
Of course, there have been similar lists in the past, but choosing the worst sports movies in the history of cinema is an inexact science that should be updated regularly. And of course, it's impossible to name them all, so please feel free to add to the discussion.
Nothing says "baseball" like a murder in a sauna,
kidnapping and a fatal shooting on a baseball field. That's at least
the premise of The Fan.
The one redeeming quality about this movie is that Dane Cook was actually funny in it. Too bad he played a sausage mascot and only spent about 20 seconds on the screen.
Keanu Reeves as a quarterback is about as believable as, well, Keanu Reeves as a quarterback.
This would definitely rank higher if there was anyone who has actually seen it.
Major League: Back to the Minors
There was just no reason to come out with a third Major League, and even if there were people hoping for one, this is not what they wanted. One redeeming quality: Bob Uecker.
Tennis action so believable that it inspired someone to make a Journey music video. The scene itself is much less exciting than actually watching tennis. It actually might be more exciting to watch a game of Pong.
10. Any Given Sunday
On the surface, this looked to be the
coolest shot that Hollywood has taken into the world of the NFL.
Instead, it was a long, drawn-out tale of the Miami Sharks … playing,
for some reason, two years in the future. In small doses, it's not a horrible movie, but the running time of 162 minutes is just too painful to bear. As hour No. 3 kicks off with Cameron Diaz pretending to be a football general manager and Al Pacino hooking up with Jessie Spano, you don't care if the Sharks win, you don't care if Willie Beamen steals Dennis Quaid's job for good, if Lawrence Taylor takes a lethal hit, if LL Cool J can act or if you're ever going to see the prestigious Pantheon Cup Championship. You just want the movie to end.
Of course, this movie can't be any lower on this list, because the "Peace With Inches" speech is truly great.
9. Shaolin Soccer
The only thing necessary to say about this film is the two-sentence description from its Wikipedia page:
"Shaolin Soccer is a 2001 Hong Kong comedy film co-written and directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the film. A former Shaolin monk reunites his five brothers, years after their master's death, to apply their superhuman martial arts skills to play soccer and bring Shaolin kung fu to the masses."
Add in poorly translated subtitles and some killer action scenes, and you've got one whopper of a movie.
8. The Cutting Edge
So get this, a hockey player and a figure skater collide off the ice. He can't play hockey anymore, she fails at figure skating. Years later, that same hockey player is tracked down to be that same figure skater's partner, because obviously playing hockey qualifies a person for being a world-class figure skater.
The two skate majestically and fall in love.
This really happened.
Not only did it happen, but the 1992 film somehow spawned two sequels … which came out in 2006 and 2008. Just when you think society might make it, you see The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold and The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream and realize that people in power never cease to make the wrong decisions.
7. Rocky Balboa
This one was so bad that it wasn't even
deemed worthy of a Roman numeral. It's probably not a good sign when
the climax of your movie is this scene. Then you had to watch a 60-year-old dude hop in the ring and pretend he can box.
This movie made some money and probably appeased enough Rocky fans to make it worthwhile, but the series that probably didn't need five movies definitely did not need six.
6. Sudden Death
OK, Jean-Claude Van Damme, I'm sure you can fight off the bad guys, save your kids, disarm bombs, take down a mascot (via dishwasher) and, oh you know, just lay down a two-pad stack to stop an NHL player on a breakaway.
a Van Damme action movie is going to be a bit ridiculous, but why was
the bad guy arbitrarily waiting for the game to end? Couldn't he have
just blown the place to bits whenever he felt like it, Vice President
of the United States be damned?
These are the things you wonder
as you watch one of the great action stars engage in hand-to-hand
combat with a female wearing a penguin costume.
5. Fever Pitch
Among real Red Sox fans, this movie never had a chance. Watching the national TV networks show Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore
at random games throughout the 2004 season was hard enough to swallow,
but when the two stormed the field in St. Louis after the Red Sox made
history by winning the World Series, they somehow managed to put at
least a minor damper on what was the best night of many folks' lives.
movie itself was pretty dumb, though much of that is due to the fact
that Fallon is mostly painful to watch on screen. Then there's the whole fact
that this depiction of average folks in the city of Boston somehow allows them to run
across the field at Fenway Park and then hop the fence at Busch Stadium
and exchange high fives with Tim Wakefield like it's no big deal. Really, the movie probably would have been better if Fallon had just played his Sully character from Saturday Night Live for 90 minutes.
4. Blue Chips
Nick Nolte. Shaquille O'Neal. Ed O'Neill. Acting gold, right?
Amazingly — nay, impossibly — the story of a good coach gone bad, a tale of a pair of NBA players (Shaq and Penny Hardaway) who were in their early 20s in real life but portrayed high school students in the movie, and a saga of Al Bundy as an investigative reporter somehow fell short of perfection.
The bad news was that the movie was horrific. The good news was that Shaq made up for it tenfold with Kazaam, also known as the best movie … ever.
3. Caddyshack II
So let's take this hypothetical: Some movie execs want to make some cash on the Caddyshack franchise, even though it's been eight years since the original was released. They can't get Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight has passed away and Chevy Chase will hardly be in the sequel. That's bad enough, but then someone had the audacity to suggest that the gopher should be blessed with the gift of speech. Amazingly, someone in a position of more power said, "Yes! That is a brilliant idea! A talking gopher! Start filming!"
2. Summer Catch
As soon as you see the movie poster, you know this may be the worst movie ever made. For starters, they've got Freddie Prinze Jr. pretending to be a baseball player. I can believe that Freddie knows what I did last summer, but I can't believe he can throw a split-fingered fastball.
But that's not the worst part (and neither is the fact that he walked away from a no-hitter to chase down a girl). The worst part is how the sanctity of the Cape Cod Baseball League was compromised for a cheap summer romance movie. The Cape League is truly one of the coolest experiences in the entire world of sports. It's baseball in it simplest form, a hearkening back to the baseball days of yore.
And in this movie, it's played by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard. Yuck.
1. Slap Shot 2: Behind The Glass
The original Slap Shot, released in 1977, is an all-time classic. Slap Shot 2: Behind The Glass is an all-time failure.
It's like they didn't even try with this one. The marketing strategy might have been, "Just throw a Chiefs sweater on Stephen Baldwin, put the Hanson brothers on the DVD cover and let's see if people buy into it."
What followed was, not surprisingly, an abject disaster.
(Of course, Slap Shot 3: The Junior League is ineligible for this list, because there's not a soul alive who knows it exists.)
But really, this one tops the list not because it is markedly worse than the others. It claims the No. 1 spot because it took the legacy of perhaps the funniest and greatest sports movie of all-time and sullied it. For 25 years, Slap Shot stood the test of time as a classic. For what? To be embarrassed by a Baldwin brother? I just hope someone lost his blouse for this.
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