New York, NY – As much as it pains me to say this, I think the 2013 Major League Baseball season is in its final death rattles for a lot of us. I realized this just yesterday as I waded through all of the suspension crap and A-Rod horsesh*t as well as countless, meaningless NFL training camp updates (E.J. Manuel finished strong in a scrimmage? Darrius Heyward-Bey’s MRI came back negative? Wow!), and finally navigated my way to the baseball standings. Here’s what I saw: New York Mets, 17 games back; Philadelphia Phillies, same deal; Seattle Mariners, 12.5 games back; New York Yankees 9.5 games back. If your name is Preacher or Cam or JG Clancy, there’s still plenty of baseball to live for. For the rest of us, not so much. But, don’t fret, I’m here to help you fill the void until that first meaningful football game this fall. Here’s a quick list of summer sports movies to help take your minds off of baseball.
Golf. This category begins and ends with Caddyshack, perhaps the greatest sports movie of all time. In fact, I’d argue that it is the greatest sports movie. “Cinderella story…”,”It’s in the hole!”, “Misss… Noonan!“, “Hey Whitey, where’s your hat?“, “Gunga Galunga,” “Pool… pond… Pond would be good for you.” The list goes on and on. How many movies made over thirty years ago are still as widely, and frequently, quoted today? Even if you’ve seen it dozens of times, there are still laughs to be mined… just ask Chuck Shick.
Boating. Sticking in the Caddyshack decade, the 1980s was the absolute golden age of boating movies. More specifically, any movie in which there was some kind of regatta was okay by me. The two that really stand out are the underrated John Candy family comedy, Summer Rental and the John Cusack/Demi Moore rom-com, One Crazy Summer. Candy ends up sailing Rip Torn’s broken-down seafood restaurant “The Barnacle” against Richard Crenna, while Cusack and Co., go up against a random, spoiled, blonde-haired rich dude who wasn’t William Zabka. Talk about good check-your-brain-at-the-door fun, these two flicks deliver, and then some.
Gin Rummy. Speaking of Richard Crenna, he was in another summer classic, The Flamingo Kid, starring Matt Dillon. I’m not sure if playing Gin counts as a summer sport, but am willing to make allowances. Besides, there’s an entire scene featuring Matt and his buddies playing the ponies at Yonkers Raceway. I recently subjected our own Cheesy Bruin to a viewing of this movie and was surprised at just how much dialogue he remembered but even more shocked that he didn’t recall Janet Jones, rocking a hot white one-piece, was the female lead. How does a hockey guy like CB not remember Mrs. Wayne Gretzky was in that movie?
Biking. Way before Lance Armstrong put his permanent skidmark sh*tstain on the sport of cycling, there was an unspoiled gem of a biking movie called Breaking Away. Four Bloomington Indiana friends known as the Cutters, led by Cycling fiend Dave Stoller, take on the Frat boys from Indiana U in the school’s Little 500 bike race. For my money, one of the Top Five Coming-of-Age films of all time, this movie featured both past (Jackie Earle Haley, Bad News Bears), and future (Dennis Quaid, Tough Enough, Everybody’s All-American, The Rookie, etc), (Daniel Stern, Rookie of the Year, Celtic Pride) stars of sports-themed films.
There are plenty more titles to get to here–cripes, I didn’t even make it out of the ’80s–so feel free to chime in your favorite beach volleyball or wet t-shirt contest movies. And, as always, come back this winter when your football team stinks for my master’s thesis on Hot Dog: The Movie.