Welcome to another installment of Sunday Night Sports Flicks. Tonight I give you 5 more sport movies favorites inspired by the fall season, back to school and the great outdoors. Click the images/movie titles for previews (ignore cheesy voiceovers).
While some may argue that Breaking Away is the best cycling movie, my favorite is an 80’s classic called “American Flyers” starring a mustached Kevin Costner and Rae Dawn Chong. Directed by John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), the film is about two brothers training to compete in a grueling bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains called “The Hell of the West”. There is a family history of illness and the plot takes a twist when we see which brother is actually afflicted. Set in The Rockies and filmed during the Coors Classic, a now-defunct stage race that was one of the world’s leading cycling events at the time, the movie features breathtaking scenery and action packed race photography.
This documentary follows the story of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two African-American inner city teens who dream of one day playing in the NBA. They are recruited by a predominantly white high school with an outstanding basketball program, St. Joseph High School, in Westchester, Illinois, from which NBA legend Isaiah Thomas graduated. Both face different struggles adjusting to the demands of the program and acclimatizing to a new socio-economic environment. Originally intended to be a 30-minute short produced for PBS, the movie was filmed over a five year period and documents the lives of two young men, their families and communities, from recruitment to their college freshman year.
Vision Quest is a coming of age drama about a high school wrestler named Louden Swain, played by Matthew Modine, who embarks on a mission to wrestle and beat a menacing undefeated 3-time state champion, and he must drop two weight classes to do so. All changes with the arrival of a boarder, played by Linda Fiorentino in the role that made her famous, who moves into his family’s house. A love story follows and his commitment is tested. For Madonna fans, the true movie highlight is her cameo as a club singer performing “Crazy For You” in her first screen roll.
While one might not consider this a sports movie, Brad Pitt fly fishing is a major qualification for me. The film is the story of two sons of a Presbyterian minister growing up under the watchful eye of their father. One is a straitlaced scholar played by Craig Sheffer and the other a rebellious gambler played by Brad Pitt. The film chronicles their intertwining and often conflicting lives, and looks at the fierce ties that unite and divide families. It is the three mens’ love of fly fishing for trout in Montana’s rivers that ultimately brings and bonds them together. Directed by Robert Redford, the film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
This is Top Gun on the race track and stars Tom Cruise as the cocky upstart stock-car racer Cole Trickle. Set in the high-pressure world of Nascar racing, he’s a hot driver with a hot temper, which gets him into trouble on and off the track. His rivalry with a fellow racer leads to an accident which lands him in the hospital and he develops a relationship with his doctor, played by Nicole Kidman. Directed by Tony Scott, this entertaining flick is also where Tom and Nicole began their off set relationship.