Top 10 Baseball Movies24.09.11 # Top Ten # 6 Comments
A man becomes pre-eminent; he is expected to have enthusiasms… enthusiasms… enthusiasms… what are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! Lucky then, that there are so many bat-and-ball flicks to wallow in. In honour of the release of Moneyball, here are the top 10 best baseball movies.
10. The Fan (1996)
With The Last Boy Scout having given his trademark glossy, bombastic treatment to football, director Tony Scott used this harshly-reviewed San Francisco-set thriller to do something of the same for baseball. Wesley Snipes is the Giants player feeling the excess heat of affection from De Niro’s overzealous supporter. Did I mention that the latter works in knives? Never a good sign…
9. A League of their Own (1992)
A stonking great hit in its day, Penny Marshall’s crowd-pleasing account of a female baseball league in the ‘40s certainly has its fair share of flaws – does Tom Hanks make for the least convincing horrifically hungover man ever? Is the flashback framing one of the least plausible uses of such a device in cinema history? – but its adroit manipulation of the viewer’s emotional levers is still ruthlessly effective.
8. Sugar (2008)
Another side of the American dream represented by baseball stardom, as the Half Nelson directorial duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck deal with an outsider perspective, that of the titular “Sugar”, a young immigrant from the Dominican Republic, determined that his sporting prowess will deliver a better life.
7. Brewster’s Millions (1985)
As good a mainstream comedy as the same director’s The Driver is a thriller and his The Warriors is an offbeat action movie, this Walter Hill-helmed flick would probably be higher up the list if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s less baseball-centric than the other movies mentioned. Worth noting that Monty Brewster himself, Richard Pryor, had previously pitched up in The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings, playing alongside future Star Wars alumni James Earl Jones and Billy Dee Williams.
6. Cobb (1994)
And we arrive at the first appearance in this run-down for Ron Shelton, the writer-director who over a decade-long period from the late-80s onwards established himself as Hollywood’s go-to guy for sporting movies that actually rang true. Cobb was his most sober such picture, eschewing the comic edge of White Men Can’t Jump and another film which might just feature later in this list, in favour of a venturing into serious biopic territory, as Tommy Lee Jones essays one of baseball’s finest and most foul-tempered figures.
Best Baseball Movies – 5th to 1st >
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