By Daniel Friedman
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Sports on their own are dramatic. When Hollywood gets involved, things are taken to an entirely different level.
And since we’re already emotionally invested in sports, we love that.
Here are my top 25 sports movies of the past 25 years:
25. Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Burt Reynolds and Russell Crowe coach and captain the small Alaskan town’s hockey team against the New York Rangers, in an effort to prove that the players from Mystery are as good as anyone.
24. The Express (2008)
The story of Ernie Davis, who became the first African-American to win the Heisman.
23. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
A fun, heartwarming baseball story, with the typical Disney charm. Fun fact: Matthew McConaughey plays a minimal role as an outfielder.
22. The Rookie (2002)
High school teacher and baseball coach Jimmy Morris winds up in the big leagues, after promising his players he’d try out if they won the championship.
21. The Waterboy (1998)
If you don’t like this movie, there’s something wrong with your medulla oblongata.
20. Rookie of the Year (1993)
Henry Rowengartner becomes a kid wonder after a freak injury gives him the ability to throw fast. You know it’s a movie because the Cubs win the World Series.
19. Seabiscuit (2003)
Tobey Maguire stars in this film, which focuses on the legendary racehorse.
18. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
It’s not Rocky, but it’s awfully close.
17. Little Giants (1994)
You watch this movie and wonder why NFL teams haven’t tried running the Annexation of Puerto Rico.
16. Invincible (2006)
Vince Papale goes from unemployed teacher to employed football player, after he catches the eyes of Eagles coaches at a public “tryout.”
15. The Mighty Ducks (1992)
So many laughs, so many great moments. Gordon Bombay rediscovers his passion for hockey and teaches a group of hapless kids to fly.
14. We Are Marshall (2006)
The story of how Marshall University football literally rose from the ashes, after a plane crash killed the vast majority of the original team and coaching staff.
13. The Blind Side (2009)
A wealthy couple takes Michael Oher into their home and then adopts him. Given the chance to be something in this world, Oher flourishes on the gridiron.
12. Space Jam (1996)
Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. Case closed.
11. Invictus (2009)
Nelson Mandela unites a torn South Africa in an effort to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
10. Moneyball (2011)
Billy Beane loses most of his star players to free agency, but Jonah Hill saves the day with his mathematical brilliance. Seriously though, it’s an outstanding story.
9. A League of Their Own (1992)
Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!
8. Glory Road (2006)
A movie that, in my opinion, has been under-appreciated. Josh Lucas’s performance as Texas Western coach Don Haskins is simply terrific.
7. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.
6. Major League (1989)
A hilarious movie, starring the fictional Cleveland Indians. Significantly better than the recent remake, starring the non-fictional New York Mets.
5. Field of Dreams (1989)
If you build it, they will come. If you put in the theaters, they will buy tickets. If you put it out on video, DVD, Blu Ray, they will purchase it. Why? Because it’s a timeless, sentimental baseball movie, and Kevin Costner is in it.
4. Rudy (1993)
The ultimate underdog story. You’ll think anything is possible after you watch it.
3. 42 (2013)
Chadwick Boseman is phenomenal, convincing, insert positive adjective here in his portrayal of Jackie Robinson. An instant classic.
2. Miracle (2004)
The story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team that took on and stunned the Soviets, who had dominated the sport for nearly 20 years. The on-ice performances are so authentic, you’ll feel like you’re watching the actual game.
1. Remember the Titans (2000)
T.C. Williams High School integrates, and its football team learns to unite as one and rise above the racial tensions engulfing 1971 Virginia. Simply the best.
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