Angry Ward Wednesday: The World’s Greatest Athlete, Breaking Away, and Other Summer Sports Movie Thoughts

Mets, Jacob deGrom, Meet-The-Matts, World's Greatest Athlete, Breaking Away, Summer Sports Movies, Bad News Bears, Walter Mathau

BRONX, NY – Summertime is no time to be creating new content. It’s a time for reruns and stupid movies and air conditioning over substance. For years I’ve been lobbying Management to simply run a Worst of Angry Ward during some of these lazy weeks when our two or three hardcore followers are on vacation or serving time in the drunk tank but, NO, this suggestion is always rebuffed. Fine! I’m downshifting into summer movies and other familiar terrain.

The World’s Greatest Athlete. A million years ago or so a regular summer activity for kids in my neighborhood was piling into our local theatre for Disney double-features. Parents gave kids money and basically said: “Disappear for 4 or 5 hours. We’re done with you.” Anyway, one of the films we saw was The World’s Greatest Athlete starring John Amos (legend!), Tim Conway (also a legend, as well as Disney and Burnett stalwart) and Jan-Michael Vincent as the title character. The movie was mostly forgettable but what my brother and I remember was that the theater was absolutely packed! Standing room only! It was nuts. Anyway, the Olympics start this week and the world’s greatest athletes will have fewer people in attendance than the Dale Movie theater that day.

Photo Caption Contest

Breaking Away. One of the best sports/coming-of-age movies ever made, Breaking Away is not just a favorite of bicycle nerds. Dave Stoller (Dennis Christopher) is the biking-obsessed protagonist, but the stellar supporting cast includes John Ashton ( of Beverly Hills Cop fame), a young Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern (Diner, Home Alone, etc.), Paul Dooley (hilarious!), and Jackie Earle Haley who, between The Bad News Bears and this movie, could be cinema’s greatest two-sport star. Also, DO NOT sleep on Robyn Douglass as the object of Dave’s affection. She sure as hell got my attention.

But, back to Jackie Earle Haley for a sec. I read a thread the other day that asked people to weigh in on who was the greatest sports movie character ever. The answers I read were predictably colored by what generation the respondents were from. No different, I chimed in: “The only acceptable answers are Carl Spackler (Caddyshack) and Morris Buttermaker (The Bad News Bears.)”

Who you got for G.O.A.T. sports movie character?

I think I’m gonna put this thing to bed here, and me shortly after. I foolishly stayed up late Monday night watching the Mets/Reds extra-innings f**kfest. Don’t get me wrong, it was a magnificently-flawed work of art, but I should have bailed.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who I’m hoping can recommend some non-cheesesteak places to eat in Philly for me this upcoming weekend.

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About Angry Ward 600 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.