Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Top Ten Baseball Movies-1-5

My top ten baseball movies finishes today with my top five films.
Keep in mind that these are just what I like and my list may be far different than yours!
Again,please remember that documentaries are not rated..

1) The Natural
You could have taken any of these films and asked on a particular day,which is my favorite and gotten a different answer,but upon careful thought-The Natural wins this.
The film perfectly captures its time period (1939) and the surroundings make one think of the parks of the time like the Polo Grounds and Ebbetts Field.
Robert Redford plays like an actual player and swings like Ted Williams and that gives you first place in my rankings!
Darren McGavin is great in an uncredited role as gambler Gus as one of the villains.
Interesting Note: The film was made at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium,which hosted minor league baseball teams,but is better known as the home of the two time AFL champion Buffalo Bills from 1960-1972.

2) Major League
Major League was going to be a favorite of mine as soon as the film was written to include the Indians and not only was it funny with so many lines that trail baseball fields to this day,but it had so many younger actors that would become stars in both television and film.
Plus it has all of those shots of 1980's Cleveland,even though the film was made in Milwaukee!
Margaret Whitton (who recently passed away) should have been a much bigger star after her tremendous portrayal of the nasty owner of the Tribe-Rachel Phelps.
Interesting Note:The original ending was to have Rachel Phelps tell Lou Brown that her persona' was a charade to motivate the team and she never intended to move the team to Miami.
Screenings preferred Phelps as the villain and the ending was changed.

3) Field of Dreams
This movie features lots of great performances from Kevin Costner,Ray Liotta,James Earl Jones and Amy Madigan among others and every son has to be touched at one time or the other by the 'catch scene" at the end of the movie.
Like For the Love of the Game,another Costner vehicle,baseball is what ties all the film together.
It may be overly sentimental,but if you ever played baseball with your dad-it gets you every time..
Interesting Note:Ray Liotta played Shoeless Joe Jackson as a righthanded batter,when he actually was a lefty swinger.
The people involved with the film decided to lose a little historical accuracy in order to gain with Liotta looking like a legitimate player batting his natural righthanded stance.

4) Eight Men Out
The only film that is based on a real team,the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
It tells the story reasonably accurately and the baseball holds up as well.
The young stars of the film (Charlie Sheen,John Cusack and D.B.Sweeney) all look like real ballplayers.
The only downside is the bad guy gamblers that set the scandal up are pretty much the stereotypical bad guys without any fleshing out.
Interesting Note: D.B.Sweeney actually played pro baseball briefly with the Kenosha Twins.

5) Mr.Baseball
I'm not the biggest Tom Selleck fan in the world,but he was perfect for this role as a former major league star with faded skills that carries his name to the Chunichi Dragons of the NPB in Japan.
The story is based on former Expo Warren Cromartie's Japanese career and it explains many of the differences between Japanese baseball and American.
It's not drop dead hilarious overall,but if you are a hard core seamhead,this film is worth a look.
Interesting Note:The love interest of Selleck in the film (Aya Takanashi) is reported to have left show business after this film..

Hope you enjoyed this two part series.
I might do another one sometime maybe with other sports films..


The Angry Fungo said...

Major League II? I can handle the other choices at least making the list (Bull Durham should be higher), but I would have rather had Brewsters Millions, Rookie of The Year, Angels in the Outfield or Little Big League than MLII.

Have you seen Talent for the Game, Soul of the Game, Long Gone or Pastime?

Shawn said...

Hmm,Bull Durham is the one that I can make the argument to move.
Major League II makes me laugh,although it clearly isn't as good as the original.

A few words on the films you mentioned.
Brewster's Millions-OK,but not a list contender
Rookie of the Year-Of the run of the baseball "kids" movies of the 90's,I liked that one the best.
Angels in the Outfield and Little Big league are fine for films of that genre',but not list contenders..

Talent for the game-Never seen it
Soul of the game-It was OK,but the many factual errors bugged me enough to keep it off the list
Long Gone- I saw it long ago (No Pun intended) and liked it,but it was so long ago,I only remember bits and pieces.
A good film (like Golf's Dead Solid Perfect) that has been forgotten about sadly.
Pastime-Not bad,but a little too sappy for me..

Thanks for reading!

The Angry Fungo said...

I agree that Brewsters, ROY, Angels and Little Big League are not list contenders. I put them in line with MLII. Humorous to watch, but not top 10.

Some could argue for Moneyball, 42, Trouble with the Curve, Fever Pitch, The Fan, Summer Catch, Mr. 3000, and The Babe, but some have a lot of non-baseball storylines.

How about Bang the Drum Slowly?