BRONX, NY – This is my second post this week! Wow! I feel so important, and so very, very alone. As I mentioned last week, summer sports is really just boiling down to baseball. You can focus on the Thursday night’s NBA draft if you like, but it’s most likely that your team–especially you, Knicks fans–will not be competitive next year. Golf died with Tiger Woods’ marriage, so now we have an assortment of guys winning majors that no one really cares about. Preseason football is for people who can’t afford a proper lobotomy. It’s no wonder that this stupid Mayweather/McGregor spectacle is being pushed through quicker than the GOP “Health Care” Bill. They are looking to cash in (big-time) on the summer sports boredom vacuum. My advice? Hold on to your money, and be bored. In the meantime, let’s have a Bill Murray vs. Tom Hanks sports showdown.
As as been well-documented here and elsewhere, I firmly believe that Bill Murray was in the greatest sports movie of all time, “Caddyshack.” But don’t sell Tom Hanks short when it comes to sports-related performances. In “Forest Gump” alone, he was an all-everything savant and he was pretty much married to a volleyball in “Cast Away.” Let’s try to break it down… somehow.
Baseball and Bowling. Let’s get this one right out of the way. Murray, surprisingly, never did a baseball movie, while Hanks missed out on Bowling. Hanks was great as boozing manager Jimmy Dugan in “A League of Their Own” but Murray was even better as boozing, morally-bankrupt Ernie “Big Ern” McCracken in “Kingpin.” Edge: BM
Swimming. This one is interesting, as Murray spent some time at the bottom of the pool in “Rushmore” and looked surprisingly good swimming in the hotel pool in “Lost in Translation.” Hanks saved Meg Ryan’s life at sea in “Joe Versus the Volcano,” didn’t drown in “Cast Away,” and managed to become a Mer-Man by the end of “Splash.” Still, he had the help of some trunks, a life raft, and Daryl Hannah. Slight Edge: TH
Sailing. Hanks would seem to have a stranglehold on this category. He fought off pirates in “Captain Phillips,” had his own shrimp boat in “Gump,” and made his own escape vessel in the aforementioned “Cast Away.” Murray, however, played oceanographer Steve Zissou in Wes Anderson’s disappointing “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” More importantly, he overcame his fears and became a sailor in “What About Bob?” Hanks should win this one easily, but Murray’s Bob Wiley does enough to make it a draw. Edge: Even
Flying. Hanks played heroic pilot Chesley Sullenberger in “Sully,” and Murray was gonzo legend Hunter S. Thompson, a guy who was pretty much flying all the time, in the vastly underrated and little-seen “Where the Buffalo Roam.” Edge: BM (even though flying isn’t really a sport.)
Running. It took him a while to get going, but Bill Murray did a fair amount of running in “Stripes” and had a pretty decent morning jogging routine in the summer camp classic, “Meatballs.” But, c’mon, Hanks’ Gump ran back and forth across the United States multiple times. Hard to top that. Edge: TH
And the winner is…
John Candy! Hey, it’s my column, I can do whatever I like. Big John, was a catcher in “Brewster’s Millions,” a regatta-winning sailor in “Summer Rental,” an expert horse player in “Uncle Buck,” the voice of a horse in “Hot to Trot,” an amazing mud wrestler in “Stripes,” and the Jamaican bobsled team coach in “Cool Runnings.” And don’t get me started on his turns as Babe Ruth (wearing #4?) and prize fighter Hefty Neil on SCTV. That’s it! John Candy is your winner.
Come back tomorrow for some more timely and hard-hitting sports blather with Buddy Diaz, a man who hasn’t seen most of the movies I just mentioned. And you can find us on Twitter at @Angry_Ward, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.