The World Baseball Classic has officially started, and Spring Training has been underway for weeks now. I can’t think of a better time to talk about my personal top baseball movies.
Other than being about baseball, there’s no real criteria for how I’ve ranked these. They range from comedy to drama, and the genre doesn’t really affect how much I like the film.
I read the book well before the movie was announced; I think I wasn’t the only one just a little bit skeptical of whether or not an adaptation would be successful. A lot of liberties were taken to be sure, but the movie works. The characters are great and visually, it looks gorgeous. You can’t help but be romantic about baseball.
Major League I & II
I watched these out of order, first seeing Major League II with my brother in a hotel room when it came on TV. I understood none of the jokes that weren’t obvious, but years later I re-watch both of these films often.
Field of Dreams
You could probably group this one thematically with Moneyball if you were planning a baseball movie marathon. Everyone remembers “If you build it, they will come” and it’s pretty much a movie being entirely romantic about baseball.
A League of Their Own
“There’s no crying in baseball!” Another one I watched as a kid, and another one where some of the jokes went over my head. A fantastic telling of the women that played baseball during the war. Did not realize until much later in life that Bill Pullman (aka Lone Star) was in this film.
Angels in the Outfield
I’ve watched this movie countless times, and even today it holds up. I recently discovered that there was actually an earlier black & white film of the same name that centered around the Pittsburgh Pirates. I have yet to track it down, but would love to watch it.
I’ve got a few issues with this movie, but overall I think it’s great. The actors buy in 100%, except for Harrison Ford, who buys in 120%.
Trouble With the Curve
This isn’t the greatest movie on the list, but has its charm. Clint Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout going on One Last Road Trip with his daughter. Justin Timberlake is also in this for some reason? The funny thing about this movie is that it feels like a direct response from the baseball scouting world against Moneyball, where the villains of the movie rely solely on computer data and analysis instead of the good old eye test.
I watched this one recently – I’d never seen it, even though we had it recorded on VHS. I thought it was a really great “clash of cultures” film that happened to be about baseball.
I think I’ve only watched this once, but it’s definitely a good film. I need to mark this one down for a re-watch.
Rookie of the Year
The prevailing memory of this baseball movie for me is renting it (on VHS, remember, I’m 33) for a sleepover party when I was 9 or 10. Daniel Stern gets his shot at putting in 120% in this one. Hot ice!
Not technically a baseball movie in the literal sense, it is however a spiritual baseball movie. From the creators of South Park, this is a great one to watch that picks on some of the weirder aspects of sports.
Bad News Bears(remake)
This remake wasn’t all that great – it was basically Billy Bob Thornton picking up his Bad Santa role and plopping it into the timeless kids movie classic. But for what it is, it’s not bad. It earns a spot on my list, if only because I watched it.
What’s your favourite baseball movie? Or sports movie in general?