Happy New Year!

Since, I’m not quite convinced we’re headed into a new decade (at least until next year) — I’m not doing a retrospective of the past decade. Aren’t you relieved?

Instead, I thought I’d take a couple of posts to go to the movies with you. Right now, there are sooo many movies in theaters that I want to see. Many of them, I’ll end up watching as I work out, or at night while Chris is travelling — Invictus and The Blind Side among them. Now, I could say that I love Clint Eastwood’s directoral style (which I do) or that I think Sandra Bullock has a fresh and natural acting style (she does). Or I could just confess that I’m a sports movie junkie — good ones, afterschool specials, Disney channel time fillers — I heart them all.

I’ve grouped my favorite movies by sport — and you know the plots are rather similar — but I cheer and get teary with each one 🙂

probably my least favorite sport in real life, although I can name most of the Yankees from the late ’70s (when I was a little girl I thought Bucky Dent was just wicked cute & I wanted a Thurmon Munson teddy bear) and my mother followed the Cubs religiously, and I still wake up every opening day thinking they will win the pennant…..

    Pride of the Yankees (1942) — When Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) makes the “speech,” I just choke up …….. every time.
    Sandlot (1993) — I grew up on a farm, we never had kids close enough to do pick up games, but it just seems so cool!
    Bull Durham (1988) — OK, it’s the Durham Bulls, but is that honestly the appeal — the toenail scene is just mmmmmmmm, well-done.
    Field of Dreams (1989) — does it still make you all shiver-y, when they begin emerging from the corn? No matter how cynical I feel, I still get weepy
    A League of their Own (1992) — what an awesome telling of the little known women’s baseball league, I tell the girls — “there’s no crying in whatever….” quite often

Football wasn’t big in our house — my Dad thought all the players were “bought & paid for,” plus who would watch people knock each other into the mud? Believe it or not, he wasn’t a fan of boxing or NASCAR either. 🙂 So what I knew, I learned from the movies, and Captain Kangaroo — Rosie Grier showed off his needlepoint skills and thoroughly impressed me as a kid!

    Knute Rockne: All American (1940) — just for the “win one for the Gipper” reference, I had to see it, once
    Brian’s Song (1971) — OK, it’s a tear-jerker — but every time it came on TV, my mom & I cried over the tragic story of Brian Piccolo & his true friend, Gale Sayers
    Rudy (1993) — Sean Astin had me in his corner long before “Samwise.” A great story of heart and perseverance
    Remember the Titans (2000) — everything comes together — all the elements of a triumphant sports movie are in this one — plus a little “Gettysburg”
    We Are Marshall (2006) — totally manipulative, the sideburns are a little scary (sorry Matthew) and I still stop and watch it whenever it’s playing
    The Express (2008) — my 10 year old & I watched this bio-pic of Ernie Davis together and she loved it, such a well-crafted film

Golf, I learned to love going out on the course. I will never be a “contender,” but my small forays have given me an appreciation for the dedication and the lures the sport offers. Hockey, on the other hand, is pretty much a sociological exercise. The first match I went to I saw a sweet, elderly lady sitting a couple of rows ahead of me. She may even have been knitting. Suddenly this grandmother of 12 (could have been) stood up and started screaming things I’m still not allowed to say. I think there was mention of the ref’s parentage, and puck & stick placement, among other things. I sat and stared, as she finished her diatribe, sat down and resumed crafting the little pink doily….. very strange.

    Cutting Edge (1992) — figure skating versus hockey — I think the difference is the “toe pick”
    Mystery, Alaska (1999) — I love this quirky hockey film about a little team, playing against the NHL —
    Miracle (2004) – a great movie about the 1980 US hockey team — Chris has used this for sales meetings
    Caddyshack (1980) — the best golf movie?
    Tin Cup (1996) — have you noticed Kevin Costner is much better in sports movies than anything else. This is wonderful & has an awesome soundtrack
    Greatest Game ever Played (2005) — a more serious golf movie — a dual bio of Francis Oiumet and Harry Vardon, and the match that made golf part of the American sporting scene; for a real treat read the book by Mark Frost

She gets her own category. She was the most amazing athlete — she played basketball, tennis, baseball, track & field, PGA golfer, LPGA golfer (she won 17 straight amateur tournaments, which is more than Tiger), and was a singer/songwriter. Bobby Jones thought she was one of the 10 best golfers of all time, male or female. And I love it — when she was asked if there was anything she didn’t play as a kid, she said, “Yeah, dolls.” Both movies are cool — Babe (1975) is more straight made-for-TV, earnest and rather over the top, while the fictionalized Pat & Mike (1952) with Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn is one of the coolest movies ever!

Finally, true love…. basketball movies just rock! The combination of the individual’s striving and the team spirit translates beautifully into exciting cinema! These I would and have watched over and over….

    White Shadow (1978) — loved this series, Ken Howard was great and Salami and all the other players were a street-wise fraternity that came together to win!
    Hoosiers (1986) — Gene Hackman can play any role! One of those anytime, anywhere movies!!!
    White Men Can’t Jump (1992) — I love the movie, but I don’t know that it’s truly about basketball, though the Rosie Perez scene where she interprets a request for water is classic
    Space Jam (1996) — How can it not work? Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny and basketball — can it get any better? 🙂
    Love & Basketball (2000) — One of the best basketball movies out there — the kicker is there are two protagonists — a boy and a girl. We follow their journeys to the NBA & WNBA
    Season on the Brink (2002) — stormy TV movie about Bobby Knight based on the incredible book by sportswriter John Feinstein, a truly gifted interpreter of the game.
    Glory Road (2006) — biopic of Don Haskins & the TX Western team that integrated the NCAA and took on Adolf Rupp
    Believe in Me (2006) — such a great basketball movie, loving the focus on women

sports songs: Brian’s Song (Henry Mancini — one year almost every kid played it for recital); Nadia’s Theme (Pandolfi or any cheesy easy listening compilation — it was everywhere); Sporting Life Blues (JJ Cale & Eric Clapton — kind of an old-fashioned bar band kind of sound); Mudfootball (Jack Johnson — laid back & mellow); T-E-A-M (from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown — another classic baseball tale, where you learn to never ever give up); Back to Salome (Shawn Colvin); Big Stick (Bruce Hornsby), Double Bogey Blues (Mickey Jones — this & the previous two are from Tin Cup, one of the coolest soundtracks out there); Mood Indigo (Duke Ellington made it, but Sidney Bechet has a killer cover as well); Do Lord (Johnny Cash — small town, big team); Spirit in the Sky (originally Norman Greenbaum, but Elton John has a great cover, as is the one from Evan Almighty); Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (the best cover is Chaka Khan from the Standing in the Shadows of Motown documentary); Centerfield (John Fogerty — it just makes you move); La Vie En Rose (Madeleine Peyroux, she channels Edith Piaf so hauntingly); Sixty Minute Man (Billy Ward & the Dominoes — summer & pick up games of anything); I Want To be your Man (the Beatles); and China Grove (Doobie Brothers — tailgating, sitting in the stands at any ballgame, any sport)

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. –> Friedrich Nietzsche

One thought on “Making a list, 2010 edition

  1. How are you I made a (rare)motown artists mix called “The Motown Connection” and I’d like for you to listen and let me know what you think

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