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40 FAVORITE SPORTS MOVIES

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Major League

Field of Dreams

A League of Their Own

The Sandlot

Remember the Titans

Slap Shot

Hoosiers

Rudy

The Natural

Bull Durham

Rocky

Caddyshack

Eight Men Out

Brian's Song

Bad News Bears

Rocky IV

The Rookie

Happy Gilmore

Raging Bull

Miracle

The Hustler

Kingpin

Friday Night Lights

Little Giants

Mighty Ducks

The Longest Yard

The Wrestler

61*

The Blind Side

Jerry Maguire

The Pride Of The Yankees

White Men Can't Jump

The Big Lebowski

Coach Carter

Rounders

BASEketball

D2: The Mighty Ducks

Breaking Away

The Waterboy

The Program

 

Chariots of Fire

The Express

Bang The Drum Slowly

Knute Rockne: All American

Tin Cup

Rocky III

Victory

Bingo Long's Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings

Seabiscuit

Sugar

We Are Marshall

Dodge-ball

Angels in the Outfield

Varsity Blues

The 6th Man

Taladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby

Million Dollar Baby

Big Fan

A River Runs Through It

Space Jam

Major League II

On Golden Pond

Rookie of the Year

Cool Runnings

Brewster's Millions

Knights of the South Bronx

We Were Kings

The Replacements

The Color of Money

Fever Pitch

Men With Brooms

The Longest Yard (New)

Little Big League

Cinderella Man

Cobb

He Got Game

Glory Road

Any Given Sunday

Finding Forrester

Mystery, Alaska

Necessary Roughness

Bad News Bears (New)

Catching Hell

Searching for Bobby Fischer

The Fighter

Wildcats

The Champ

The Karate Kid

Blue Chips

It Happens Every Spring

The Kid From Left Field

Moneyball

Fear Strikes Out

Stratton

Invictus

Alley Cats

Radio

Benchwarmers

Brink

 

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40. The Program

 

The_program_movie.jpg

 

(3 of 15 lists - 33 points - highest ranked #4 LittleHurt05)

 

The Program is a 1993 film starring James Caan, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Craig Sheffer, Kristy Swanson, Daniel Lee, and Joey Lauren Adams. The film was directed by David S. Ward who has directed and written other Hollywood films such as the Major League series.

 

The film touches on the season of the fictional college football team, the ESU Timberwolves as they deal with the pressure to make a bowl game, drug and alcohol abuse, and overall college life. It follows the trials of Coach Sam Winters (Caan), the Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Kane (Sheffer), the freshman running back Darnell Jefferson (Epps), their girlfriends (Berry & Swanson), and other team members.

 

The film was released by Touchstone Pictures in September 1993. The movie went on to gross over twenty million dollars at the box office. The film was shot on location at several American universities, including: Boston College, Duke University, the University of Michigan, the University of Iowa, and the University of South Carolina. The film includes a cameo appearance from Miami University and Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler.

 

Synopsis

 

The ESU Timberwolves are entering a season with high expectations after two disappointing seasons. The film begins with a loss to end the prior season, along with the school president putting pressure on Sam Winters to win this coming season or face a possible firing. Quarterback Joe Kane spends the Christmas bowl season with his alcoholic father and brother, while NFL prospect Alvin Mack gives his mother a present to go with the new house she will soon have when he turns pro. The film then follows the recruiting of Darnell Jefferson, a highly rated running back, and his eventual commitment to ESU.

 

The film then cuts to the following fall, as football season is about to get underway. Fall camp commences, with Jefferson fumbling during practice and subsequently forced to carry a football with him at all times. Winters warns that if any other player brings the football back to him, "you'll wish you were never born." Kane has trouble with the pressure put upon him by the school and its Heisman campaign prepared for him, and drinks to deal with his stress. He meets a tennis player, Camille, (Kristy Swanson) and as their first date they go on a thrilling and scary motorcycle ride. They then develop a relationship. Mack's indifference to academics is shown clearly in a tutoring session where he couldn't care less about learning the material, but his strong ability to read offenses and football strategy during film study shows his commitment to football. Lattimer is obviously taking performance-enhancing drugs as he goes from a backup to starter on defense in one season (after gaining 30 lbs. of muscle in the offseason), and showing signs of "roid rage" when he learns he will be a starter at the beginning of the season. Lattimer walks into the parking lot, and shatters car windows with his head while screaming "STARTING DEFENSE!! PLACE AT THE TABLE!!"

 

The film progresses to show the problems of a "big-time" football program. Winters' daughter is expelled for taking a test for Bobby Collins, a backup quarterback. Kane and ESU then lose a close game to Michigan, calling into question Kane's ability to win the Heisman. Later incidents occur when Lattimer assaults a girl unwilling to "hook up" with him, but her father is a large football booster and gets her to drop the charges (Lattimer is forced to take urine tests with coach Winters watching). Lattimer is suspended for three games based on this steroid use. All-American Alvin Mack criticizes him, but Lattimer defends himself by saying "Not everyone has your ability Alvin, you do what you have to do to play." Also, Kane is forced into rehab when he is involved in a bar fight and DUI after the Michigan loss. With Kane out for 4 games, the team goes 2-2.

 

After losing to Iowa where Mack suffers a career ending injury also, Lattimer is run over at the goal line by the Iowa running back (the film implying that Lattimer is weaker without steroids) for the winning score, ESU has a final game against Georgia Tech. This game will win the Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC) and secure a major bowl game. GT leads the game 10-0 at the half. Joe Kane was benched for Bobby Collins but asked to start in the 2nd half. He proceeds to lead the team to victory, securing a major bowl game. The film ends with Kane reuniting with Camille, and the coaches leaving on a recruiting trip to look for next season's freshmen.

 

Season Schedule and Results

 

Mississippi State @ ESU - 20-28 (Win)

Michigan @ ESU - 20-14 (Loss)(score is a guess based on Kane's 2 TD performance and ESU not attempting a tying FG at closing of game)

ESU @ Boston College - 14-10 (Win)

Texas @ ESU - 13-0 (Loss)

ESU @ North Carolina - 14-13 (Win)

ESU @ Iowa - 10-14 (Loss)

Georgia Tech @ ESU - 10-13 (Win)

 

 

Characters

 

Coach Sam Winters : James Caan

Autumn Haley : Halle Berry

Darnell Jefferson : Omar Epps

Joe Kane : Craig Sheffer

Camille Shafer : Kristy Swanson

Bud Kaminski : Abraham Benrubi

Steve Lattimer : Andrew Bryniarski

Alvin Mack : Duane Davis

Ray Griffen : J. Leon Pridgen II

Bobby Collins : Jon Pennell

Daniel Luciano : Daniel Lee

Louanne Winters : Joey Lauren Adams

Reporter #3 : Rhoda Griffis

 

Controversy

 

The film originally included a scene in which Kane reads aloud comically "It says here that I'm good under pressure," while holding a Sports Illustrated college football preview issue with him on the front cover. He then lies down the middle of a road on the yellow line as cars barely pass him at highway speeds. Several team members who are at first trying to stop Kane decide that it is a test of their bravery and team unity and join him. Influenced by the film, several teenagers imitated this scene and were either killed or suffered injuries. This resulted in the scene being removed from the film after its release. A brief clip of the scene in question showing team members lying in the street had already been aired repeatedly in the television commercials for the film and therefore captured on VCRs. Later versions of the trailer had the offending clip removed.

 

The only known home video release with this scene intact is the Hong Kong laserdisc published by Taishan International. This version of the film is three minutes longer than the theatrical cut and clocks in at a 115-minute run time.

 

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39. The Waterboy

 

Waterboy-poster-0.jpg

 

(4 of 15 lists - 34 points - highest ranked #10 Milkman delivers)

 

The Waterboy is a 1998 American comedy film directed by Frank Coraci. It stars Adam Sandler alongside Henry Winkler, Kathy Bates, Jerry Reed, and Fairuza Balk. Lynn Swann, Lawrence Taylor, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Paul Wight, and Rob Schneider have cameos. Sandler produced the movie and co-wrote the script with Tim Herlihy.

 

The movie was extremely profitable, earning over one hundred and eleven million dollars in the United States alone and made Sandler a successful actor with The Waterboy becoming his second $100 million film in a year, along with The Wedding Singer.

 

Sandler's character, Bobby Boucher (pronounced "Boo-SHAY"), bears a strong resemblance to his "The Excited Southerner" comedic skits from his album "What the Hell Happened to Me?" The portrayal is one of a stereotypical Cajun from the bayous of South Louisiana, not the typical stereotype of a Southerner. He also shares similarities in speech and mannerism to Canteen Boy, a recurring character, also portrayed by Adam Sandler, on Saturday Night Live. Like Bobby, Canteen Boy preferred "purified water, right out of the old canteen", which he always carried with him.

 

Plot

 

Bobby Boucher is a socially inept, stuttering water boy with hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and excessive sheltering by his mother (Kathy Bates). He became the water boy for the University of Louisiana Cougars after being told his father died of dehydration in the Sahara Desert while serving in the Peace Corps. However, the players always torment him and the team's head coach, Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed), eventually fires him for "disrupting" his practices. Bobby then approaches Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs and asks to work as the team's waterboy. Coach Klein has been coach of SCLSU for years without success, after his brilliant playbook was stolen by Red Beaulieu.

 

Bobby Boucher's mother, Kathy Bates tells Bobby of the evils of football and forbids him to play. Coach Klein shows Bobby his tattoo of Roy Orbison encouraging him to go against his mothers' wishes.

 

After being picked on again by his new team, Coach Klein encourages Bobby to strike back, which leads to him knocking out the teams quarterback. Coach Klein convinces Bobby to go back to school and play for the team, to which he agrees on the grounds that nobody tells his mother.

 

Bobby quickly becomes one of the most feared linebackers in college football, hitting opposing players with injury-causing force. The Mud Dogs manage a winning streak and earn a trip to the annual Bourbon Bowl to face the Cougars and Coach Beaulieu. Bobby's newfound fame also allows him to rekindle a relationship with his childhood friend and crush Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), who has been in prison multiple times.

 

Coach Beaulieu reveals that Bobby never finished high school, making him ineligible for college and football. However, Bobby manages to pass his GED exam, despite his mothers objections about him going back to college. She then fakes falling ill to keep Bobby from playing, but eventually admits it after witnessing the residents support for Bobby.

 

Arriving late for the finals, Bobby manages to encourage the losing Mud Dogs to make a comeback. With Bobby's help, Coach Klein overcomes his fear of Red Beaulieu and creates new plays that allow the Mud Dogs to catch up. During the final play, Bobby throws a touchdown pass and the Mud Dogs win the finals.

 

Sometime later, Bobby and Vicki are getting married. On their way out Bobby's father makes an unexpected appearance, having actually left Bobby's pregnant mother for another woman years ago. He tries to convince Bobby to leave school and go to the NFL, hoping to personally profit as his father; but Bobby's mother charges in and tackles him down.

 

Cast

 

Adam Sandler as Robert 'Bobby' Boucher

Kathy Bates as Helen 'Mama' Boucher

Fairuza Balk as Vicki Vaillancourt

Henry Winkler as Coach Klein

Jerry Reed as Coach Red Beaulieu

Larry Gilliard Jr. as Derek Wallace

Blake Clark as Farmer Fran

Peter Dante as Gee Grenouille

Jonathan Loughran as Lyle Robideaux

Al Whiting as Casey Bugge

Clint Howard as Paco

Allen Covert as Walter

Rob Schneider as Townie

Matt Baylis as Student

Todd Holland as Greg Meaney

Kirk Lindell as Dumb Redneck 3

Kevin P. Farley as Jim Simonds

Frank Coraci as Roberto Boucher

Paul Wight as Captain Insano

Soon Hee Newbold as Mud Dog Cheerleader

Dan Fouts as Himself (ABC Sports commentator)

Brent Musburger as Himself (ABC Sports commentator)

Lynn Swann as Himself (ABC Sports commentator)

Chris Fowler as Himself (ESPN commentator)

Lee Corso as Himself (ESPN commentator)

Dan Patrick as Himself (ESPN commentator)

Lawrence Taylor as Himself (LT's Louisiana Lightning Training Football Camp)

Bill Cowher as Himself (Pittsburgh Steelers coach)

Jimmy Johnson as Himself (Miami Dolphins coach)

Sam Hazlewood as Himself (Bourbon Bowl Crowd)

Wade Phillips as Referee (uncredited)

Jennifer Bini Taylor as Rita

 

Filming and production

 

The Waterboy was mostly filmed in the Central Florida and Orlando area as well as around Daytona Beach, Deland, Florida and Lakeland, Florida and surrounding areas.

 

The Mud Dogs home games were filmed at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Florida, home of the local high school team (the DHS Bulldogs). The classrooms and gym where Bobby takes the GED are part of Stetson University, also located in DeLand. Stetson's Carlton Student Union building is featured in the scene where Bobby is told his mother has been hospitalized.

 

The scenes involving Momma's Cabin were shot on Lake Louisa, in Clermont, Florida.

 

Coach Klein's (Henry Winkler's) office was a stage built inside of the Florida Army National Guard Armory in Deland, Florida. It is home of Btry B 1st Bn 265th ADA. If you look closely, in the background of the practice field scenes, you can see the Armory and some military vehicles.

 

The initial exterior shot of the University of Louisiana stadium was Everbank Field in Jacksonville; the interior of the stadium is actually the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Citrus Bowl was also the filming location for the climatic Bourbon Bowl game.

 

The "medulla oblongata" scene was filmed at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. The extras in the scene were students at Florida Southern College. The scene was shot in Edge Hall.

 

Critical reception

 

The Waterboy received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The film has a rating of a rating of 32%, or 4.6/10, on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the site's consensus being "The Waterboy is an insult to its genre with low humor and cheap gags." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 41 out of 100, indicating "Mixed or average reviews." The film also appears on critic Roger Ebert's "Most Hated" list. Nevertheless, the film was a box office smash, grossing $185,991,646 worldwide. Sandler's performance in the film earned him a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor.

 

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#38 Breaking Away

 

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(2 of 15 lists - 36 points - highest ranked #7 farmteam)

 

Breaking Away is a 1979 American film. A coming of age story, it follows a group of four male teenagers in Bloomington, Indiana, who have recently graduated from high school. It stars Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern (in his first film role), Jackie Earle Haley, Barbara Barrie and Paul Dooley. The film was written by Steve Tesich (an alumnus of Indiana University) and directed by Peter Yates. Tesich would go on to script another cycling-themed film, American Flyers, starring Kevin Costner.

 

The film won the 1979 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Tesich, and also received nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Barbara Barrie), Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Picture. The film also won the 1979 Golden Globe Award for Best Film (Comedy or Musical).

 

The film is ranked eighth on the List of America's 100 Most Inspiring Movies compiled by the American Film Institute (AFI) in 2006. In June 2008, AFI announced its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Breaking Away was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the sports genre.

 

A short-lived television series based on the film, also titled Breaking Away, aired in 1980.

 

Dave (Dennis Christopher), Mike (Dennis Quaid), Cyril (Daniel Stern) and Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) are four working-class friends, living in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana. Now turning 19 years of age, they all graduated from high school the year before and are not sure what to do next with their lives. They spend much of their time together swimming in an old abandoned water-filled quarry, but also often clash with the more affluent Indiana University students in their hometown, who refer to them habitually as "cutters", a derogatory term stemming from the local Indiana Limestone industry and the stonecutters who worked the quarries.

 

Dave is obsessed with competitive bicycle racing. His down-to-earth father, Ray (Paul Dooley), a former stonecutter who now operates (sometimes unethically) his own used car business, is puzzled and exasperated by his son's love of Italian music and culture, which Dave associates with cycling. However, his mother Evelyn (Barbara Barrie) is more understanding.

 

Dave develops a crush on a university student named Katherine (Robyn Douglass) and masquerades as an Italian exchange student in order to romance her. One evening he serenades "Katerina" outside her sorority house, with Cyril providing guitar accompaniment. When her boyfriend Rob (Hart Bochner) finds out, he and some of his fraternity brothers beat up Cyril, mistaking him for Dave. Though Cyril wants no trouble, Mike insists on tracking down Rob and starting a brawl. The University president (then-University president Dr. John W. Ryan) reprimands the students for their arrogance toward the "cutters" and over their objections invites the latter to participate in the the annual Indiana University Little 500 race.

 

When a professional Italian cycling team comes to town for a racing event, Dave is thrilled to be competing with them. However, the Italians become irked when Dave is able to keep up with and even speak to them in Italian during the race. One of them jams a bike pump in Dave's wheel, causing him to crash, which leaves him disillusioned and depressed.

 

Dave's friends persuade him to join them in forming the locals' cycling team for the Little 500. Dave's parents provide t-shirts with the name "Cutters" on them. Dave's father remarks how, when he was a young stonecutter, he was proud to help provide the material to construct the university, yet never felt comfortable being on campus. Dave is so much better than the other competitors, he rides without a break and builds up a large lead, while the other teams have to switch cyclists every few laps. However, he is injured and has to stop. After some hesitation, Moocher, Cyril and Mike take turns pedaling, but soon their lead evaporates. Finally, Dave has his feet taped to the bike pedals and starts making up lost ground; he overtakes Rob on the last lap and wins.

 

Dave's father is immensely proud of his son's accomplishment, so much so that he takes to riding a bicycle himself. Having finally decided on a direction in life, Dave later enrolls at the university himself, where he meets a pretty, newly arrived French student. Soon, he is extolling the superiority of French cyclists and culture.

 

Cast

 

Dennis Christopher as Dave Stohler

Dennis Quaid as Mike

Daniel Stern as Cyril

Jackie Earle Haley as Moocher

Paul Dooley as Ray Stohler

Barbara Barrie as Evelyn Stohler

Robyn Douglass as Katherine

Hart Bochner as Rod

P.J. Soles as Suzy

Amy Wright as Nancy, Moocher's girlfriend

John Ashton as Mike's policeman brother Roy

 

Dooley and Christopher also played father and son in the 1978 film A Wedding and in the 2003 Law & Order: Criminal Intent television episode "Cherry Red".

 

Barrie, Haley and Ashton continued their roles in the prequel TV series.

 

Real-life inspiration

 

The Little 500 bicycle race that forms the centerpiece of the plot is a real race held annually at Indiana University. A reenactment of the race was staged for the film in the "old" Memorial Stadium on the IU campus, which was demolished shortly after the filming of the movie.

 

The team is based on the 1962 Phi Kappa Psi Little 500 champions, which featured legendary rider and Italian enthusiast Dave Blase, who provided screenwriter and fellow Phi Kappa Psi team member Steve Tesich the inspiration for the main character in the movie. Blase, together with team manager Bob Stohler, provided the name of this character: Dave Stohler. In the 1962 race, Blase rode 139 out of 200 laps and was the victory rider crossing the finish line, much like the main character in the film. Blase himself appears in the movie as the race announcer.

 

Scenes shot in Bloomington

 

Opie Taylors

 

Many of the scenes in the movie were filmed on the Indiana University campus; glimpses of the Indiana Memorial Union are in the background of Dave's ride through campus. The pizza restaurant in the film ("PAGLIAI'S") is now Opie Taylors on the east side of North Walnut Street, across from the Monroe County Courthouse. Dave Stohler's house in the film is located at the corner of S. Lincoln St. and E. Dodds St. Other scenes were filmed outside the Delta Delta Delta sorority house (818 E. 3rd St) and along Jordan Street. Dave's "ecstasy ride" on the wooded road after first meeting Kathy (where his bike tire blew) was filmed on the "West Gate Road" in Indiana's Brown County State Park, 14 miles east of Bloomington on State Road 46. Two other scenes were filmed on W. 7th St.: one at Fairview Elementary, the other three blocks east near the intersection of W. 7th St. and N. Madison (the old railroad tracks have since been removed). A scene in which Dave runs a red light in front of his father was filmed at the southwest corner of the Monroe County Courthouse, at the intersection of College St. and W. 5th St (a few seconds before he runs it, the light is visible as he rides by the courthouse and sees Moocher and Nancy). The starting-line scene of the "Cinzano 100" bicycle race was at the intersection of Indiana State Roads 46 and 446 on the city's eastern edge. The old limestone quarry where Dave and his friends swim is on a private property south of Bloomington, at the end of East Empire Mill Road (off of old State Road 37), and is closed to visitors. It is now often called the "Roof Top" quarry, but was originally known as "The Long Hole" or "Sanders" quarry. The used car lot ("Campus Cars") was on S. Walnut St., and was a real used car lot for many years, but now has two small commercial buildings on the property; it is located at 1010 S. Walnut St. Next door is the local Honda motorcycle franchise seen in the background of the famous "Refund? REFUND!!" scene; it remains there today.

 

Judging from the evidence in the scenes, location filming was apparently done in the months of July through September, 1978.

 

Film remake

 

The 1992 Bollywood film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, starring Aamir Khan, is based on Breaking Away.

 

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37. D2 - The Mighty Ducks

 

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(2 of 15 lists - 37 points - highest ranked #8 farmteam)

 

 

D2: The Mighty Ducks also known as The Mighty Ducks 2 is the second film in The Mighty Ducks trilogy and the first theatrical sequel to The Mighty Ducks. It was produced by Avnet–Kerner Productions and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, and it was originally released on March 25, 1994. In the UK and Australia, the film was titled The Mighty Ducks.

 

Plot

 

Former peewee hockey coach Gordon Bombay is a star in the minor leagues and is expected to make it to the NHL soon. However, after a career-ending knee injury, he returns to Minneapolis. Bombay is then offered a chance to coach a team representing the United States in the Junior Goodwill Games. Team USA consists of many of the old Ducks, in addition to five new players with special talents.

 

The lure of celebrity becomes a distraction to Bombay, who begins to neglect the team in exchange for a luxurious lifestyle. Fortunately, easy victories come over Trinidad and Tobago and Italy in the double-elimination tournament. During this time, Fulton Reed and Dean Portman gain recognition for their enforcer skills, becoming known as the "Bash Brothers". Backup goaltender Julie asks Bombay for a chance to play, but he tells her to wait, as current goalie Greg Goldberg is on a hot streak.

 

Reality sets in when the team suffers an embarrassing 12-1 defeat at the hands of Team Iceland, coached by ex-NHL player Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson, who is known for his tough reputation. Team USA plays badly, with Julie and Portman ejected from the game. Star center Adam Banks manages to score a goal but gets slashed in the wrist moments later. Frustrated, Bombay drives his players even harder, but they begin to suffer, completely exhausted. Eventually, the team's tutor, Michelle McKay, cancels their practice and confronts Bombay, while the players come across a street hockey team who teaches them how to play like "the real Team USA".

 

However, Bombay continues to suffer until one of his mentors, Jan (Hans' brother), personally visits him, and reminds him of how he used to love the game. During a match against Team Germany, Bombay fails to arrive on time, forcing Charlie to tell the referee that Michelle is actually "Coach McKay". They play poorly, entering the third period tied, until Bombay shows up and apologizes for his behavior. Inspired by their coach's "return", the players come back to win the game and advance to the next round. The renewed Bombay finally realizes Adam's wrist injury, benching him despite his complaints. To fill the open roster spot, Charlie recruits street hockey player, Russ Tyler, whose unique "knucklepuck" (which rotates end over end toward its target as opposed to spinning about its centerline) secures USA's victory over Russia (who defeated Iceland earlier), advancing USA to the championship game for a rematch against Iceland. Before the game, Adam's injury is healed and returns to Team USA's locker room, only to find they already have a full roster. Charlie gives up his spot on the roster so Adam can play, cementing his position as the true team captain.

 

At first, Iceland appears to be out to dominate Team USA again, but they manage to score one goal. Unfortunately, the Ducks take penalties: Ken picks a fight with an Iceland player ("stick, gloves, shirt") after scoring the team's first goal, the Bash brothers celebrate this by fighting with the entire Iceland bench and Dwayne lassoes an opposing player, about to check Connie. Bombay is annoyed because "this isn't a hockey game, it's a circus."

 

After a motivational locker room speech from Bombay and new Duck jerseys from Jan, the team emerges rejuvenated. The Ducks manage to tie the game when Russ outsmarts Team Iceland by disguising himself as Goldberg, so as to prevent himself from being covered and pulling off a successful "knucklepuck". The game is forced to go to a five-shot shootout. With a 4-3 score in favor of the Ducks, Gunner Stahl (the tournament's leading scorer) is Team Iceland's final shooter. Bombay knows Gunner favors shooting the glove side after a triple deke, and replaces Goldberg with Julie, who has a faster glove. Gunner advances on Julie and fires a hard slapshot. Although Julie falls to the ice, she slowly turns to look at her glove while the entire stadium (and presumably the home audience of millions) waits in breathless anticipation. She then opens her glove and drops the puck, signifying the game-winning save. With this, the Ducks triumph over Iceland to win the tournament.

 

The film concludes with the team returning to Minnesota on a plane and sitting around a campfire singing Queen's "We Are the Champions" as the credits roll.

 

Cast

 

In credits order:

 

Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay

Kathryn Erbe as Michelle McKay

Michael Tucker as Mr. Tibbles

Jan Rubes as Jan

Carsten Norgaard as Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson

Maria Ellingsen as Maria

Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway, #96

Elden Henson as Fulton Reed, #44

Shaun Weiss as Greg Goldberg, #33

Matt Doherty as Les Averman, #4

Brandon Adams as Jesse Hall, #9

Garette Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine, #00

Marguerite Moreau as Connie Moreau, #18

Vincent Larusso as Adam Banks, #99

Colombe Jacobsen as Julie Gaffney, #6

Aaron Lohr as Dean Portman, #21

Ty O'Neal as Dwayne Robertson, #7

Kenan Thompson as Russ Tyler, #56

Mike Vitar as Luis Mendoza, #22

Justin Wong as Ken Wu, #16

Scott Whyte as Gunnar Stahl, #9

 

Cameo appearances

 

There are several cameo appearances in D2: The Mighty Ducks from famous athletes.

 

Kristi Yamaguchi - Champion Olympic figure skater

Greg Louganis - Champion Olympic diver

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Basketball player

Wayne Gretzky, Chris Chelios, Luc Robitaille, Cam Neely - Professional (NHL) Ice Hockey players

 

Departures

 

Mighty Duck players that were in the first film but not this one:

 

Tammy Duncan (Jane Plank, her figure skating skills were replaced with those of Ken Wu)

Tommy Duncan (Danny Tamberelli)

Terry Hall (Jussie Smollett, despite the continuation of the character's brother, Jesse)

Dave Karp (Aaron Schwartz)

Peter Mark (J.D. Daniels)

 

 

Reaction

 

Critical reception

 

The film was poorly received by most critics. It has received a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

Desson Howe of The Washington Post wrote: "D2: The Mighty Ducks reaches an extraordinary low – even for a Disney sequel. This unctuous barrage of flag-waving, message-mongering, counterfeit morality, which contains the stalest kiddie-team heroics in recent memory, makes the original, innocuous 'Ducks' look like one of the Great Works."

 

Box office

 

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $10,356,748 domestically. It was a financial success, with a final domestic box office total of $45,610,410.

 

Soundtrack

 

Queen - "We Will Rock You"

Poorboys - "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" (Bachman-Turner Overdrive Cover)

Gary Glitter - "Rock and Roll"

Martha Wash - "Mr. Big Stuff"

David Newman - "Mighty Ducks Suite"

Tag Team - "Whoomp! (There It Is)"

The Troggs - "Wild Thing"

Gear Daddies - "Zamboni"

Queen - "We Are the Champions"

John Bisaha - "Rock the Pond"

 

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36. BASEketball

 

Baseketball.jpg

 

(3 of 15 lists - 37 points - highest rank #8 Milkman delivers)

 

BASEketball is a 1998 American David Zucker comedy starring South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Dian Bachar, Robert Vaughn, Ernest Borgnine, Yasmine Bleeth, and Jenny McCarthy. The movie follows the history of the sport (created by Zucker years earlier) of the same name, from its invention by the lead characters as a game they could win against more athletic types, to its development as a nationwide league sport and a target of corporate sponsorship. This is the only work involving Parker and Stone that was neither written, directed, or produced by them.

 

Plot

 

At Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Joe "Coop" Cooper catches Reggie Jackson's third home run in the stands and proclaims to his best friend, Doug Remer, that "One day, I'm gonna be a big sports star."

 

16 years later, Coop (Trey Parker) and Remer (Matt Stone) are 23 and unemployed and about to have their gas shut off. They arrive uninvited at a party hosted by a former high school classmate of theirs. After finding out that their classmates have grown up and moved on with their lives, Coop and Remer find themselves outside drinking beer and shooting hoops on the driveway basketball court. There, two other former classmates challenge them to a game. The two see that their opponents are very good at basketball, so they say they will only play a new game they picked up "in the hood". Clearly making this new game up as they go, Coop originally proposes the game Horse, but changes it to basketball with baseball rules: shots made from different locations count as singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, and missed shots count as outs. During the challenger's first shot, Coop "psyches" him out to make him miss; this is another rule made up on the spot. A "psyche out" can be anything said or done that makes the offense lose their concentration and miss their shot. Coop and Remer continue playing their new game, "BASEketball," and add a third member to their team, Kenny "Squeak" Scolari (Dian Bachar).

 

Six months later, people come from miles around to watch them play the game they created against other neighborhood teams. Ted Denslow (Ernest Borgnine) shows up to propose creation of the National BASEketball League (NBL), with numerous rules in place to prevent the sport from deteriorating as other sports had done: teams cannot switch cities, players cannot be traded, and individuals cannot make money via corporate sponsorship deals.

 

Five years after creation of the league, the NBL is in full swing with stadiums, teams, fans, and a major championship (the Denslow Cup). During the 1997 championship, Denslow, who is the owner of the Milwaukee Beers for whom Coop and Remer both play, chokes on a hot dog and dies. Denslow's will grants Coop ownership of the Beers for one year; if they do not win the next Denslow Cup, ownership reverts to Denslow's widow Yvette (Jenny McCarthy).

 

The owner of the Dallas Felons, Baxter Cain (Robert Vaughn), wants to change the league rules to allow teams to move cities and players to switch teams, but could not accomplish this while Denslow was alive. Yvette would have been willing to comply had she been given ownership of the team, but Coop refuses to accept any of the proposed changes. Cain and Yvette work together to make sure the Beers will lose the next Denslow Cup and Yvette will win ownership of the team.

 

 

In a private conversation at Cain's office, Cain tells Remer that Coop has said no to Cain's plans without talking to the other members of the Beers. Remer then goes to the Beers behind Coop's back and tells the team what he learned from Cain. After Remer and the other members of the Beers confront him, Coop agrees to split all decisionmaking with Remer and the team. The team continues to agree that the rules should not be changed. Coop also seemingly enters into a relationship with Jenna, despite Remer's attempts to get between them.

 

Cain cuts the funds to Jenna's foundation, forcing Coop and Remer to ask Cain for help. Cain suggests creating a clothing line and sending the proceeds to her foundation. Coop is entirely against it, but Remer, as part team owner, immediately agrees, and becomes so obsessed with his newfound fame that he alienates Coop. After they win the league semifinals, Cain informs Coop and Remer through photos that their clothing line has been produced through child labor in Calcutta. If the public learns about it, the team and Jenna's foundation will be ruined. Cain threatens to show the photos to the public unless Coop and Remer lose or skip the Denslow Cup game. Jenna learns about the child labor scandal and breaks it off with Coop. Coop blames Remer for the mess and they have a falling out, and Coop decides to go to Calcutta to resolve the situation.

 

Coop replaces all the child workers in the factory with adult workers and makes it back just as the fifth annual Denslow Cup begins. The Beers start with an abysmal performance, failing to make one hit in six innings. At the seventh-inning stretch, the Beers are down 16–0. After a moving speech from Squeak, Coop and Remer reconcile their differences and Yvette breaks off her alliance with Cain. Coop, Remer, and Squeak finally get back into the game and start scoring.

 

In the bottom of the ninth, Remer is on second, Squeak is on third, and Coop is up when his custom-made BASEketball (La-Z-Boy) pops. Joey brings Coop a new custom-made BASEketball made from a Barcalounger. Coop misses, but successfully completes the conversion, which is considered a home run for the win and the Denslow Cup. He meets Reggie Jackson after the game, who wishes him luck in the next season. Coop and Jenna reunite while Remer hooks up with Yvette, as the team happily carries Squeak on the Denslow Cup.

 

Cast

 

Trey Parker as Joe "Coop/Airman" Cooper

Matt Stone as Doug "Sir Swish" Remer

Dian Bachar as Kenny "Squeak/Little b****" Scolari

Yasmine Bleeth as Jenna Reed

Jenny McCarthy as Yvette Denslow

Ernest Borgnine as Ted Denslow

Robert Vaughn as Baxter Cain

Trevor Einhorn as Joey Thomas

 

Cameo appearances as themselves:

 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Bob Costas

Dale Earnhardt

Reggie Jackson

Kenny Mayne

Tim McCarver

Al Michaels

Pat O'Brien

Dan Patrick

Reel Big Fish

Victoria Silvstedt

Robert Stack

 

BASEketball teams

 

All of the teams represent stereotypes and include references to their respective areas:

 

Milwaukee Beers

Reference to the numerous local beer breweries and the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team; the fans wear beer mug "foam heads" and perform "the chug" (similar to the "tomahawk chop" used by the Florida State Seminoles and Atlanta Braves). Their mascot is a walking keg of beer (who can use his "tap" to urinate).

 

Dallas Felons

Huge muscle types who are probably ex-convicts (a reference to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, a team on which numerous players had legal problems in the mid-1990s). Their owner, Baxter Cain (Vaughn) is based on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The team has cheerleaders dressed in black leather dominatrix outfits.

 

Miami Dealers

The players appear to be Cuban drug dealers. Note the chainsaw wielding man on the back of their jersey reminiscent of Scarface. One of the players ran away because Coop was wearing a DEA jacket with the logo facing him.

 

New Jersey Informants

The players are Italian-American stereotypes (one of their failed psych-outs was "Your mother's a terrible cook"); their cheerleaders all have perms and also perform some Italian hand gestures. Features Greg Grunberg, of subsequent Heroes fame.

 

San Francisco Ferries

The players wear white and pastel pink uniforms, and have the only all-male cheerleader squad in the league. The word "Ferries" is meant to be a play on "fairies", a slang term sometimes used to refer to male homosexuals.

 

Roswell Aliens

Reference to the location where a UFO supposedly crashed and the surrounding conspiracies; the team has an alien mascot, an arena shaped to look like a flying saucer, and an "Anal Probe Night" promotion.

 

L.A. Riots

Reference to the 1992 Los Angeles/Rodney King riots (and possibly Watts riots); the players appear to be angry Latinos and African-Americans. Their cheerleaders perform on stripper poles.

 

San Antonio Defenders

Rednecks, their home field includes a giant recreation of the Alamo Mission. The cheerleaders all wear Davy Crockett hats and revealing attire.

 

Detroit Lemons

Reference to the home of American auto makers.

 

When the league began to spin out of control, it was supposedly inundated with expansion teams. During the scene describing the extremely complex playoff system (complete with "a blind-choice round robin" and "the two-man sack race held on consecutive Sundays"), references were made to teams in Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Oakland, Toronto, Tampa, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver. No nicknames or mascots were given for these.

 

Some teams on the bracket behind Kenny Mayne and Dan Patrick can also be made out if a viewer looks closely, adding even more cities, not all of which make sense. These include New York, Cleveland, Sacramento, Pasadena, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Green Bay, St. Paul, Anaheim, Salem, Burbank, Morgantown, Tucson, Phoenix, Jackson, Tulsa, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Chicago, San Diego, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Lincoln, Knoxville, Memphis, Baltimore and Cairo. It appears there is also a Hawaiian Division, which included Oahu, Maui and a team named "Volcano".

 

Reception

 

BASEketball was released to mixed reviews, earning 41 percent approval from 49 critics on review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes and garnering a score of 38 out of 100 from 18 critics on Metacritic.

 

Yasmine Bleeth and Jenny McCarthy were given nominations at the 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actress respectively for their performances in BASEketball, but did not win.

 

Soundtrack

 

Main article: BASEketball (soundtrack)

 

The soundtrack featured a bouncy ska cover of Norwegian band a-ha's signature single "Take on Me" by Reel Big Fish. The band also appears as the live entertainment at the home stadium of the Milwaukee Beers, playing "Take on Me" and several of their other songs.

 

Notes

 

- Trey Parker in the film does voices of Cartman and Mr. Garrison from South Park (Which he and Matt Stone Created) throughout the film.

 

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35. Rounders

 

RoundersPoster.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 38 points - highest ranking #8 Zoomslowik, LittleHurt05)

 

Rounders is a 1998 film about the underground world of high-stakes poker. Directed by John Dahl and starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, the movie follows two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a large debt. The term "rounder" refers to a person travelling around from city to city seeking high stakes cash games.

 

The movie opened to mixed reviews and made only a modest amount of money. However, with the growing popularity of Texas hold 'em and other poker games, Rounders has become a cult hit.

 

Plot

 

Gifted poker player Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his entire bankroll in a hand of Texas hold'em against Teddy "KGB" (John Malkovich), a Russian mobster who runs an illegal underground poker room. Shaken, Mike decides to concentrate on law school, while promising his girlfriend and fellow law student Jo (Gretchen Mol) to not play the game anymore. Mentor and fellow rounder Knish (John Turturro) offers him a part-time job driving a delivery truck to make ends meet.

 

Time passes, and Mike is true to his promise. He does not play cards, and focuses on school and work until his childhood friend Lester 'Worm' Murphy (Edward Norton) is released from prison. Worm is also a card player, who owes an outstanding debt accumulated before his incarceration. At Worm's influence, Mike is soon rounding again, which interferes with his studies and hurts his relationship with Jo, who eventually leaves him.

 

When Worm is given a five day deadline to pay off his debt, Mike joins him in a furious race to earn the money by playing in several card games in and around New York City. The two come close to making the $15,000 needed, yet end up losing their entire bankroll when they are caught cheating at a poker game, despite Mike's insistence on playing the game straight. After this incident, Worm decides to leave the city, and advises Mike to do the same. This is when he reveals to Mike that his debt is due to KGB, the very same Russian mobster who had cleaned Mike out of his $30,000 bankroll months before. Infuriated, Mike cuts ties with Worm once and for all.

 

Mike refuses to flee, and instead, with the help of a loan from his law school professor Petrovsky (Martin Landau), sits down to play KGB heads-up in a No-Limit Texas Hold'em game. In a race against time to pay off Worm's debt, Mike gets his shot at redemption as he puts his life on the line against the man who had forced him out of the game.

 

Mike eventually beats KGB in two heated heads-up matches in which he ultimately wins enough to pay off Worm's debt, repay his loan to the professor, and regain his original bankroll of about $30,000. The movie ends with Mike officially dropping out of law school, saying goodbye to Jo and going to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event.

 

Production

 

Rounders began filming in December 1997 and was set mostly in New York, with the notable exceptions being that the law school scenes were filmed at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey and the State Trooper poker game and parking lot scenes which were taped at B.P.O Elks Lodge on Spruce Avenue in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.

 

Cast

 

Matt Damon as Mike McDermott

Edward Norton as Lester 'Worm' Murphy

John Turturro as Joey Knish

John Malkovich as Teddy KGB

Famke Janssen as Petra

Michael Rispoli as Grama

Martin Landau as Abe Petrovsky

Gretchen Mol as Jo

Paul Cicero as Russian Thug

Melina Kanakaredes as Barbara

Josh Mostel as Zagosh

 

Reception

 

Rounders was released on September 11, 1998 in 2,176 theaters and grossed $8.5 million during its opening weekend. It went on to make $22.9 million domestically.

 

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote: "Rounders sometimes has a noir look but it never has a noir feel, because it's not about losers (or at least it doesn't admit it is). It's essentially a sports picture, in which the talented hero wins, loses, faces disaster, and then is paired off one last time against the champ". In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote: "Though John Dahl's Rounders finally adds up to less than meets the eye, what does meet the eye (and ear) is mischievously entertaining". USA Today gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "The card playing is well-staged, and even those who don't know a Texas hold-'em ("the Cadillac of poker") from a Texas hoedown will get a vicarious charge out of the action". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Norton, cast in what might have once been the Sean Penn role (hideous shirts, screw-you attitude), gives Worm a shifty, amphetamine soul and a pleasing alacrity ... Norton's performance never really goes anywhere, but that's okay, since the story is just an excuse to lead the characters from one poker table to the next".

 

Peter Travers, in his review for Rolling Stone said of John Malkovich's performance: "Of course, no one could guess the extent to which Malkovich is now capable of chewing scenery. He surpasses even his eyeballrolling as Cyrus the Virus in Con Air. Munching Oreo cookies, splashing the pot with chips (a poker no-no) and speaking with a Russian accent that defies deciphering ("Ho-kay, Meester sum of a beech"), Malkovich soars so far over the top, he's passing Pluto". In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle said of Damon's performance: "Mike should supply the drive the film otherwise lacks, and Damon doesn't. We might believe he can play cards, but we don't believe he needs to do it, in the way, say, that the 12-year-old Mozart needed to write symphonies. He's not consumed with genius. He's a nice guy with a skill". In his review for the Globe and Mail, Liam Lacey wrote, "The main problem with Rounders is that the movie never quite knows what it is about: What is the moral ante?"

 

Despite an unremarkable theatrical release, Rounders has a following, particularly among poker enthusiasts. In an interesting chicken or the egg situation, some speculate the film is directly responsible for the recent increase in the popularity of Texas hold 'em, while others believe that the substantial increase in the popularity of poker has nothing to do with the movie, but that same increase does have everything to do with the come-lately increase in the popularity of the film, so many years after its theatrical release.

 

There are pro poker players today who credit the movie for getting them into the game. The film drew in recent successful players such as Hevad Khan, Gavin Griffin and Dutch Boyd.

 

Pro player Vanessa Rousso has said of the movie's influence, "There have been lots of movies that have included poker, but only Rounders really captures the energy and tension in the game. And that's why it stands as the best poker movie ever made."

 

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34. Coach Carter

 

Coach_Carter_poster.JPG

 

(2 of 15 lists - 38 points - highest rank #7 dasox24)

 

Coach Carter is a 2005 American film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story, in which Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter made headlines in 1999 for benching his MVP and undefeated team due to poor academic results.

 

The screenplay was co-written by Mark Schwahn, who created the TV series One Tree Hill. The movie also recycles a handful of plot-lines from another TV series, The White Shadow, which director Thomas Carter co-starred in.

 

Plot

 

Ken Carter takes the job as coach of the Richmond Oilers basketball team at his old school Richmond High School, having been on the team himself and earned unbeaten records. Taking over from Coach White, Carter learns the team members are rude and disrespectful. He gives the team individual contracts, instructing them to attend all of their classes and maintain a grade average of 2.3 (although the local average grade students are meant to maintain is 2.0). Carter also asks the school staff for progress reports on the players' attendance. However, three players including Timo Cruz refuse to follow the contract and quits the team. Nonetheless, Carter coaches the team well and allow them to win their first victory whilst playing properly. Carter's son Damien joins the team, after quitting the private school St. Francis to play for his father.

 

Teammate Kenyon Stone struggles to come to terms with his girlfriend Kyra being pregnant and eventually splits up with her, unsure if he could juggle basketball, college and being a parent. Their relationship is explored over the course of the film. Cruz attempts to rejoin the basketball team after watching them at their last game, but Carter refuses to let him back in. Cruz has to do 1000 suicides and 2500 pushups to earn Carter's approval, aided by his teammates, eventually succeeding and is allowed back on the team. Carter continues to educate the teammates, teaching them respect for other players. The team eventually won a holiday season basketball tournament, and are invited to a suburb mansion by a fan to party. Carter finds out, crashing the party with the mansion's owners. The enraged Carter returns to his office and finds the progress reports reveal the teammates have been skipping classes.

 

Carter initiates a lockdown on the gym, forbidding the team from playing until they improve their grades, angering the locals and is verbally and physically abused by numerous people. Cruz quits the team again, hanging out with his drug-dealing cousin Remmy, only to witness his cousin get gunned down and dies. Cruz goes to Carter in tears and is allowed back on the team. The school board eventually confronts Carter, who justifies his actions, explaining he wants to give his team the opportunity and option for further education so they do not resort to crime. The board, save Principal Garrison and the chairwoman, vote to end the lockout, much to Carter's regret.

 

Carter quits his job, but finds the team studying in the gym, unwilling to play basketball. Cruz reveals to Carter his deepest fear, which Carter asked for repeatedly in the film, is being unable to fulfill his true potential, by quoting Marianne Williamson. Eventually the team improve their grade and are allowed to play basketball again. Kenyon reunites with Kyra, learning she had an abortion. The team play in the high school playoffs, learning their first opponent is St. Francis. The team ultimately loses, but are proud with what they have achieved. The ending reveals six of the players including Damien, Cruz and Kenyon all went to college.

 

Cast

 

Samuel L. Jackson — Coach Ken Ray Carter

Robert Ri'chard — Damien Carter

Rob Brown — Kenyon Stone

Rick Gonzalez — Timo Cruz

Nana Gbewonyo — Junior Battle

Antwon Tanner — Jaron 'Worm Willis

Channing Tatum — Jason Lyle

Sean Mc Groarty — Polish Snake Tamer

Tadhg Deevy — Assistant Polish Snake Tamer

Ashanti — Kyra

Texas Battle — Maddux

Denise Dowse — Principal Garrison

Debbi Morgan — Tonya Carter

Mel Winkler — Coach White

Vincent Laresca — Renny

Sidney Faison — Ty Crane

Octavia Spencer — Willa Battle

Adrienne Bailon — Dominique

Dana Davis — Peyton

Bob Costas - Himself

Lorcan Ryan - Tyreek

Jeremy Wray - Tyron

Shorty Mack - Pinole Guy

Ray Baker - St. Francis Coach

 

Critical reception

 

The reviews for the film were generally positive, and as of May 1, 2011 it has a 65% fresh rating at rottentomatoes.com. Critics gave Jackson considerable praise for what they believed to be his strongest performance to date.

 

Box office

 

The movie debuted at #1 on the U.S. Box Office and has grossed over $67 million to date. However, the movie was not as big of a hit worldwide, managing to bring in only $9 million overseas, for a total of $76 million.

 

Soundtrack

 

Main article: Coach Carter (soundtrack)

 

The film features the song "Hope" by Twista and Faith Evans as the main song off the film's soundtrack. An extensive list of songs is featured on the soundtrack which differs from the soundtrack recording. The recording has five songs which were not featured in the film : About da game by Trey Songz; Balla by Mack 10 featuring Da Hood; Beauty queen by CzarNok; What Love Can Do by Letoya; and Wouldn't You Like to Ride, Kanye West; Malik Usef, Common.

 

Awards/nominations

 

Black Movie Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Directing: Thomas Carter (Winner)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture: Samuel L. Jackson (Nominated)

Outstanding Motion Picture: David Gale, Brian Robbins & Michael Tollin (Nominated)

 

Black Reel Awards

Best Director: Thomas Carter (Winner)

Best Actor: Samuel L. Jackson (Nominated)

Best Breakthrough Performance: Ashanti (Nominated)

 

Image Awards

Outstanding Motion Picture: (Nominated)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Samuel L. Jackson (Winner)

Outstanding Director for a Motion Picture: Thomas Carter (Nominated)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Ashanti (Nominated)

 

MTV Movie Awards

Best Female Breakthrough Performance: Ashanti (Nominated)

 

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33. The Big Lebowski

 

Biglebowskiposter.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 38 points - highest ranked #4 PlaySumFnJurny)

 

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to (and also refers to himself) as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski. When the millionaire Lebowski's trophy wife is later kidnapped, he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release. The plan goes awry when The Dude's friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the full ransom. Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, and John Turturro star in the film, which is narrated by a cowboy known only as "Stranger," played by Sam Elliott.

 

The film is loosely based on Raymond Chandler's novel, The Big Sleep. The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a longtime collaborator of the Coen Brothers. The Big Lebowski was a disappointment at the U.S. box office and received mixed reviews at the time of its release. Reviews have trended towards the positive over time, and the film has become a cult favorite, noted for its idiosyncratic characters, dream sequences, unconventional dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack.

 

Plot

 

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski returns home only to be roughed up by two thugs claiming to be collecting money that Lebowski's wife owes a man named Jackie Treehorn. After beating him and urinating on his rug, they realize they are looking for a different person with the same name, and they leave. At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Walter Sobchak (Goodman), The Dude decides to seek compensation for the rug from the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The next day, the titular "Big" Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, refuses The Dude's request. The Dude meets Bunny Lebowski (Reid), the Big Lebowski's nymphomaniac trophy wife, while leaving the premises with a rug taken from the mansion.

 

Days later, the Big Lebowski contacts The Dude, revealing that Bunny has been kidnapped. He asks The Dude to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because The Dude will be able to confirm whether or not the kidnappers were the same thugs. Later, a different set of thugs enter The Dude's apartment, knock him unconscious, and steal his new rug. When Bunny's kidnappers call to arrange the ransom exchange, Walter tries to convince The Dude to keep the money and give the kidnappers a "ringer" suitcase filled with his dirty underwear. The kidnappers escape with the ringer, and The Dude and Walter are left with the million-dollar ransom. Later that night, The Dude's car is stolen, along with the briefcase filled with money. The Dude receives a message from the Big Lebowski's daughter, Maude, who admits to hiring the criminals who knocked him unconscious. The Dude visits her at her art studio, and she reveals that Bunny is a porn starlet working for Jackie Treehorn. She agrees with The Dude's suspicion that Bunny kidnapped herself and asks The Dude to recover the ransom, as it was illegally withdrawn by her father.

 

The Big Lebowski angrily confronts The Dude over his failure to hand over the money, and hands The Dude an envelope sent to him by the kidnappers which contains a severed toe, presumably Bunny's. The Dude later receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Dude's apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers. They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Dude returns to Maude's studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Bunny's friends. The Dude picks up his car from the police, and he and Walter track down the supposed thief, a teenager named Larry Sellers. Their confrontation with Larry is unsuccessful, and the Dude and Walter leave without getting any money or information.

 

Jackie Treehorn's thugs return to The Dude's apartment to bring him to Treehorn's beach house in Malibu. Treehorn inquires about the whereabouts of Bunny, and the money, offering him a cut of any funds recovered. Treehorn then drugs The Dude's drink and The Dude passes out. After a surreal dream sequence blending the themes of bowling, the Persian Gulf War, Maude’s “vaginal” art, and the nihilists, The Dude wakes up in a police car and is then placed in front of the police chief of Malibu. The police chief physically assaults The Dude and warns him not to return to Malibu. After a cab ride home, The Dude is greeted by Maude Lebowski, who seduces him. During post-coital conversation with Maude, The Dude learns that she hopes to conceive a child with him but wants him to have no hand in the child's upbringing. He also finds out that, despite appearances, her father has no money of his own. Maude's late mother was the rich one, and she left her money exclusively to the family charity. In a flash, The Dude unravels the whole scheme: when the Big Lebowski heard that Bunny was kidnapped, he used it as a pretense for an embezzlement scheme, in which he withdrew the ransom money from the family charity. He kept it for himself, gave an empty briefcase to The Dude (who would be the fall guy on whom he pinned the theft), and was content to let the kidnappers kill Bunny.

 

Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: while Bunny took an unannounced trip, the nihilists (her friends) alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. The Dude and Walter arrive at the Big Lebowski residence, finding Bunny back at home from her trip. They confront the Big Lebowski with their version of the events. The affair apparently over, The Dude and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Dude's car on fire. They once again demand the million dollars. After telling the nihilists what they knew, the nihilists demand all the money in their pockets. Walter responds by biting one nihilist's ear off, throwing a bowling ball at another's ribs, and knocking the final nihilist unconscious with their portable radio. However, in the aftermath, Donny has a heart attack and dies.

 

Walter and The Dude go to a cliff overlooking a beach to scatter Donny's ashes. After an informal eulogy which Walter turns into a tribute to the Vietnam War and accidentally covers The Dude with Donny's ashes, Walter suggests, "f*** it, Dude. Let's go bowling." The movie ends with closing comments from "The Stranger" at the bar of the bowling alley, who hints that Maude may be pregnant with a "little Lebowski."

 

Cast

 

Jeff Bridges as Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, a single, unemployed slacker living in Venice, California, who enjoys marijuana, White Russians, and bowling. Bridges had heard or was told by the Coen brothers that they had written a screenplay for him. The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, a member of the anti-war radical group the Seattle Liberation Front (The Dude tells Maude Lebowski during the film that he was one of the Seattle Seven, who were members of the SLF), and a friend of the Coen brothers, Pete Exline, a Vietnam War veteran, who actually found a twelve-year old's homework in his stolen car.

 

John Goodman as Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam veteran, The Dude's best friend, and bowling teammate. Walter places the rules of bowling second in reverence only to the rules of his religion, Judaism, as evidenced by his strict stance against "rolling" on Shabbos. He has a violent temper, and is given to pulling out a handgun (or crowbar) in order to settle disputes. He says the Gulf War was all about oil and claims to have dabbled in pacifism. He constantly mentions Vietnam in conversations, much to the annoyance of The Dude. Walter was based, in part, on director John Milius.

 

Steve Buscemi as Theodore Donald "Donny" Kerabatsos, a member of Walter and The Dude's bowling team. Naïve and good-natured, Donny is an avid bowler and frequently interrupts Walter's diatribes to inquire about the parts of the story he missed or did not understand, provoking Walter's frequently repeated response, "Shut the f*** up, Donny!" This line is a reference to Fargo, the Coen brothers' previous film, in which Buscemi's character was constantly talking.

 

David Huddleston as Jeffrey Lebowski, the "Big" Lebowski of the movie's title, is a wheelchair-bound (he lost the use of his legs in the Korean War) multi-millionaire who is married to Bunny and is Maude's father by his late wife. He refers to The Dude dismissively as "a bum" and a "deadbeat." Although he characterizes himself as highly successful and accomplished, it is revealed by Maude that he is simply “allowed” to run some of the philanthropic efforts of her mother’s estate.

 

Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski, a feminist and an avant-garde artist whose work "has been commended as being strongly vaginal". She introduced Bunny to Uli Kunkel. She beds The Dude solely to conceive a child, and wants nothing else to do with him.

 

Tara Reid as Bunny Lebowski, the Big Lebowski's young "trophy wife". Born Fawn Knutsen, she ran away from the family farm outside Moorhead, Minnesota and soon found herself making pornographic videos under the name "Bunny La Joya". According to Reid, Charlize Theron tried out for the role.

 

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Brandt, the Big Lebowski's sycophant, who plays mediator between the two Lebowskis.

 

Sam Elliott as The Stranger, the narrator, who sees the story unfold from a third-party perspective. His narration is marked by a thick, laid-back Texas accent. He is seen in the bar of the bowling alley, and converses directly with The Dude on two occasions. He expresses disapproval of The Dude's use of profanity and laziness, and adds the qualifier "parts of it anyway" when concluding that he enjoyed the film.

 

Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn, a wealthy pornographer and loan shark, who lives in Malibu, and employs the two thugs who assault The Dude at the beginning of the film. Bunny owes him a large sum of money.

 

Peter Stormare, Torsten Voges, and Flea play a group of nihilists, (Uli Kunkel, Franz, and Dieter, respectively). They are German musicians (Kunkel, as "Karl Hungus", appeared in a porn film with Bunny), who, along with Kunkel's girlfriend (Aimee Mann), pretend to be the ones who kidnapped Bunny. The character of Uli originated on the set of Fargo between Ethan Coen and Stormare, who often spoke in a mock German accent.

 

John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, an opponent of The Dude's team in the bowling league semifinals. A Latino North Hollywood resident who speaks with a thick Cuban American accent, and often refers to himself in the third person, insisting on the English pronunciation of his name rather than the Spanish. "The Jesus", as he refers to himself, is a "pederast" (according to Walter) who did six months in Chino for exposing himself to an 8-year old. Turturro originally thought that he was going to have a bigger role in the film but when he read the script, he realized that it was much smaller. However, the Coen brothers let him come up with a lot of his own ideas for the character, like shining the bowling ball and the scene where he dances backwards, which he says was inspired by Muhammad Ali.

 

Minor characters

 

Jon Polito as Da Fino, a private investigator hired by Bunny's parents, the Knutsens, to entice their daughter back home. He mistakes The Dude for a "brother shamus."

David Thewlis as Knox Harrington, the video artist

Mark Pellegrino as Treehorn's blond thug

Jimmie Dale Gilmore as Smokey

Jack Kehler as Marty, The Dude's landlord

Leon Russom as Kohl, Malibu police chief

Asia Carrera (uncredited) as the actress who co-starred with Bunny in the pornographic movie "Logjammin"

 

Production

 

Development

 

The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, a man the Coen brothers met while they were trying to find distribution for the feature film, Blood Simple. Dowd had been a member of the Seattle Seven, liked to drink White Russians, and was known as "The Dude." The Dude was also partly based on a friend of the Coen brothers, Peter Exline (now a member of the faculty at USC's School of Cinematic Arts), a Vietnam War veteran who reportedly lived in a dump of an apartment and was proud of a little rug that "tied the room together." Exline knew Barry Sonnenfeld from New York University and Sonnenfeld introduced Exline to the Coen brothers while they were trying to raise money for Blood Simple. Exline became friends with the Coens and, in 1989, told them all kinds of stories from his own life, including ones about his actor-writer friend Lewis Abernathy (one of the inspirations for Walter), a fellow Vietnam vet who later became a private investigator and helped him track down and confront a high school kid who stole his car. As in the film, Exline's car was impounded by the Los Angeles Police Department and Abernathy found an 8th grader's homework under the passenger seat. Exline also belonged to an amateur softball league but the Coens changed it to bowling in the movie because "it's a very social sport where you can sit around and drink and smoke while engaging in inane conversation," Ethan said in an interview. The Coens met filmmaker John Milius when they were in Los Angeles making Barton Fink and incorporated his love of guns and the military into the character of Walter.

 

According to Julianne Moore, the character of Maude was based on artist Carolee Schneemann, "who worked naked from a swing," and Yoko Ono. The character of Jesus Quintana was inspired, in part, by a performance the Coens had seen John Turturro give in 1988 at the Public Theater in a play called Mi Puta Vida in which he played a pederast-type character, "so we thought, let's make Turturro a pederast. It'll be something he can really run with", Joel said in an interview.

 

The film's overall structure was influenced by the detective fiction of Raymond Chandler. Ethan said, "We wanted something that would generate a certain narrative feeling – like a modern Raymond Chandler story, and that's why it had to be set in Los Angeles ... We wanted to have a narrative flow, a story that moves like a Chandler book through different parts of town and different social classes". The use of the Stranger's voiceover also came from Chandler as Joel remarked, "He is a little bit of an audience substitute. In the movie adaptation of Chandler it's the main character that speaks off-screen, but we didn't want to reproduce that though it obviously has echoes. It's as if someone was commenting on the plot from an all-seeing point of view. And at the same time rediscovering the old earthiness of a Mark Twain."

 

The significance of the bowling culture was, according to Joel, "important in reflecting that period at the end of the Fifties and the beginning of the Sixties. That suited the retro side of the movie, slightly anachronistic, which sent us back to a not-so-far-away era, but one that was well and truly gone nevertheless."

 

Screenplay

 

The Big Lebowski was written around the same time as Barton Fink. When the Coen brothers wanted to make it, John Goodman was taping episodes for the Roseanne television program and Jeff Bridges was making the Walter Hill film, Wild Bill. The Coens decided to make Fargo in the meantime. According to Ethan, "the movie was conceived as pivoting around that relationship between the Dude and Walter", which sprang from the scenes between Barton Fink and Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink. They also came up with the idea of setting the film in contemporary L.A. because the people who inspired the story lived in the area. When Pete Exline told them about the homework in a baggie incident, the Coens thought that that was very Raymond Chandler-esque and decided to integrate elements of the author's fiction into their script. Joel Coen cites Robert Altman's contemporary take on Chandler with The Long Goodbye as a primary influence on their film in the sense that The Big Lebowski "is just kind of informed by Chandler around the edges". When they started writing the script, the Coens wrote only 40 pages and then let it sit for a while before finishing it. This is the normal writing process for them, because they often "encounter a problem at a certain stage, we pass to another project, then we come back to the first script. That way we've already accumulated pieces for several future movies". In order to liven up a scene that they thought was too heavy on exposition, they added an "effete art-world hanger-on", known as Knox Harrington, late in the screenwriting process. In the original script, the Dude's car was a Chrysler LeBaron, as Dowd once owned, but that car was not big enough to fit John Goodman so the Coens changed it to a Ford Torino.

 

Pre-production

 

PolyGram and Working Title Films, who had funded Fargo, backed The Big Lebowski with a budget of $15 million. In casting the film, Joel remarked, "we tend to write both for people we know and have worked with, and some parts without knowing who's going to play the role. In The Big Lebowski we did write for John [Goodman] and Steve [buscemi], but we didn't know who was getting the Jeff Bridges role". In preparation for his role, Bridges met Dowd but actually "drew on myself a lot from back in the Sixties and Seventies. I lived in a little place like that and did drugs, although I think I was a little more creative than the Dude". The actor went into his own closet with the film's wardrobe person and picked out clothes that he had thought the Dude might wear. He wore his character's clothes home because most of them were his own. The actor also adopted the same physicality as Dowd, including the slouching and his ample belly. Originally, Goodman wanted a different kind of beard for Walter but the Coen brothers insisted on the "Gladiator" or what they called the "Chin Strap" and he thought it would go well with his flat-top haircut.

 

For the film's look, the Coens wanted to avoid the usual retro 1960s clichés like lava lamps, Day-Glo posters, and Grateful Dead music and for it to be "consistent with the whole bowling thing, we wanted to keep the movie pretty bright and poppy", Joel said in an interview. For example, the star motif featured predominantly throughout the movie started with the film's production designer Richard Heinrichs' design for the bowling alley. According to Joel, he "came up with the idea of just laying free-form neon stars on top of it and doing a similar free-form star thing on the interior". This carried over to the film's dream sequences. "Both dream sequences involve star patterns and are about lines radiating to a point. In the first dream sequence, the Dude gets knocked out and you see stars and they all coalesce into the overhead nightscape of L.A. The second dream sequence is an astral environment with a backdrop of stars", remembers Heinrichs. For Jackie Treehorn's Malibu beach house, he was inspired by late 1950s and early 1960s bachelor pad-style furniture. The Coen brothers told Heinrichs that they wanted Treehorn's beach party to be Inca-themed with a "very Hollywood-looking party in which young, oiled-down, fairly aggressive men walk around with appetizers and drinks. So there's a very sacrificial quality to it".

 

Cinematographer Roger Deakins discussed the look of the film with the Coens during pre-production. They told him that they wanted some parts of the film to have a real and contemporary feeling and other parts, like the dream sequences, to have a very stylized look. Bill and Jacqui Landrum did all of the choreography for the film. For his dance sequence, Jack Kehler went through three three-hour rehearsals. The Coen brothers offered him three to four choices of classical music for him to pick from and he chose Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. At each rehearsal, he went through each phase of the piece.

 

Principal photography

 

Actual filming took place over an eleven-week period with location shooting in and around Los Angeles, including all of the bowling sequences at the Hollywood Star Lanes (for three weeks)[36] and the Dude's Busby Berkeley-esque dream sequences in a converted airplane hangar. According to Joel, the only time they ever directed Bridges "was when he would come over at the beginning of each scene and ask, 'Do you think the Dude burned one on the way over?' I'd reply 'Yes' usually, so Jeff would go over in the corner and start rubbing his eyes to get them bloodshot". Julianne Moore was sent the script while working on The Lost World: Jurassic Park. She worked only two weeks on the film, early and late during the production that went from January to April 1997 while Sam Elliott was only on set for two days and did many takes of his final speech.

 

Architecture

 

The scenes in Jackie Treehorn's house were shot in the Sheats Goldstein Residence, designed by John Lautner and built in 1963 in the Hollywood Hills.

 

Deakins described the look of the fantasy scenes as being very crisp, monochromatic, and highly lit in order to afford greater depth of focus. However, with the Dude's apartment, Deakins said, "it's kind of seedy and the light's pretty nasty" with a grittier look. The visual bridge between these two different looks was how he photographed the night scenes. Instead of adopting the usual blue moonlight or blue street lamp look, he used an orange sodium-light effect.[40] The Coen brothers shot a lot of the film with wide-angle lens because, according to Joel, it made it easier to hold focus for a greater depth and it made camera movements more dynamic.

 

To achieve the point-of-view of a rolling bowling ball the Coen brothers mounted a camera, "on something like a barbecue spit", according to Ethan, and then dollied it along the lane. The challenge for them was figuring out the relative speeds of the forward motion and the rotating motion. CGI was used to create the vantage point of the thumb hole in the bowling ball.

 

Soundtrack

 

The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a veteran of all the Coen Brothers' films. While the Coens were writing the screenplay they had Kenny Rogers' "Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was in)", the Gipsy Kings' cover of "Hotel California", and several Creedence Clearwater Revival songs in mind. They asked T-Bone Burnett to pick songs for the soundtrack of the film. They knew that they wanted different genres of music from different times but, as Joel remembers, "T-Bone even came up with some far-out Henry Mancini and Yma Sumac". Burnett was able to secure the rights to the songs by Kenny Rogers and the Gipsy Kings and also added tracks by Captain Beefheart, Moondog and the rights to a relatively obscure Bob Dylan song called "The Man in Me". However, he had a tough time securing the rights to Townes Van Zandt's cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers", which plays over the film's closing credits. Former Stones manager Allen Klein owned the rights to the song and wanted $150,000 for it. Burnett convinced Klein to watch an early cut of the film and remembers, "It got to the part where the Dude says, 'I hate the f***in' Eagles, man!' Klein stands up and says, 'That's it, you can have the song!' That was beautiful". Burnett was going to be credited on the film as "Music Supervisor" but asked his credit to be "Music Archivist" because he "hated the notion of being a supervisor; I wouldn't want anyone to think of me as management".

 

For Joel, "the original music, as with other elements of the movie, had to echo the retro sounds of the Sixties and early Seventies". Music defines each character. For example, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by Bob Nolan was chosen for the Stranger at the time the Coens wrote the screenplay, as was "Lujon" by Henry Mancini for Jackie Treehorn. "The German nihilists are accompanied by techno-pop and Jeff Bridges by Creedence. So there's a musical signature for each of them", remarked Ethan in an interview.

 

"The Man in Me" – written and performed by Bob Dylan

"Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles" – written and performed by Captain Beefheart

"My Mood Swings" – written by Elvis Costello and Cait O'Riordan; performed by Costello

"Ataypura" – written by Moises Vivanco; performed by Yma Sumac

"Traffic Boom" – written and performed by Piero Piccioni

"I Got It Bad & That Ain't Good" – written by Duke Ellington and Paul Francis Webster; performed by Nina Simone

"Stamping Ground" – written by Louis T. Hardin; performed by Moondog with orchestra

"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" – written by Mickey Newbury; performed by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

"Walking Song" – written and performed by Meredith Monk

"Glück das mir verblieb" from Die tote Stadt – written and conducted by Erich Wolfgang Korngold; performed by Ilona Steingruber, Anton Dermota and the Austrian State Radio Orchestra

"Lujon" – written and performed by Henry Mancini

"Hotel California" – written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Don Felder; performed by The Gipsy Kings

"Technopop (Wie Glauben)" – written and performed by Carter Burwell. The character Uli Kunkel was in the German electronic band Autobahn, a homage to the 1970s band Kraftwerk. The album cover of their record Nagelbett (nail bed) is a parody of the Kraftwerk album cover for The Man-Machine and the group name Autobahn shares the name of a Kraftwerk song and album. In the lyrics the phrase "We believe in nothing" is repeated with electronic distortion. This is a reference to Autobahn's nihilism in the film.

"Dead Flowers" – written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; performed by Townes van Zandt

 

Other music used

 

"Tumbling Tumbleweeds" – written by Bob Nolan; performed by Sons of the Pioneers

"Requiem in D Minor: Introitus and Lacrimosa" – written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; performed by The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir

"Run Through the Jungle" – written by John Fogerty; performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Lookin' Out My Back Door" – written by John Fogerty; performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Behave Yourself" – written by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr. and Lewie Steinberg; performed by Booker T. & the MG's

"I Hate You" – written by Gary Burger, David Havlicek, Roger Johnston, Thomas E. Shaw and Larry Spangler; performed by The Monks

"Gnomus" – composed by Modest Mussorgsky; from Pictures at an Exhibition. Arranged for orchestra by Maurice Ravel.

"Mucha Muchacha" – written and performed by Juan García Esquivel

"Piacere Sequence" – written and performed by Teo Usuelli

"Standing on the Corner" – written by Frank Loesser; performed by Dean Martin

"Tammy" – written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans; performed by Debbie Reynolds

"Sounds of the Whale" - unknown recording of a whale song

"Oye Como Va" – written by Tito Puente; performed by Santana

"Peaceful Easy Feeling" – written by Jack Tempchin; performed by Eagles

"Branded Theme Song" – written by Alan Alch and Dominic Frontiere

"Viva Las Vegas" – written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman; performed by Big Johnson (with Bunny Lebowski) and by Shawn Colvin (closing credits).

"Dick on a Case" – written and performed by Carter Burwell

 

Release and critical reception

 

The Big Lebowski received its world premiere at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 1998 at the 1,300 capacity Eccles Theater. It was also screened at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival[46] before opening in North America on March 6, 1998 in 1,207 theaters. It grossed USD $5.5 million on its opening weekend, grossing US$17 million in the United States, just above its US$15 million budget. The film's worldwide gross outside of the US was $10,300,000, bringing its worldwide gross to $27,739,163.

 

Many critics and audiences have likened the film to a modern Western, while many others dispute this, or liken it to a crime novel that revolves around mistaken identity plot devices. During its premiere at Sundance, there were reportedly[by whom?] a few walkouts. Peter Howell, in his review for the Toronto Star, wrote, "It's hard to believe that this is the work of a team that won an Oscar last year for the original screenplay of Fargo. There's a large amount of profanity in the movie, which seems a weak attempt to paper over dialogue gaps." Howell revised his opinion in a later review, and more recently stated that "it may just be my favourite Coen Bros. film".

 

Todd McCarthy in Variety magazine wrote, "One of the film's indisputable triumphs is its soundtrack, which mixes Carter Burwell's original score with classic pop tunes and some fabulous covers."USA Today gave the film three out of four stars and felt that the Dude was "too passive a hero to sustain interest", but that there was "enough startling brilliance here to suggest that, just like the Dude, those smarty-pants Coens will abide."

 

In his review for the Washington Post, Desson Howe praised the Coens and "their inspired, absurdist taste for weird, peculiar Americana – but a sort of neo-Americana that is entirely invented – the Coens have defined and mastered their own bizarre subgenre. No one does it like them and, it almost goes without saying, no one does it better."

 

Janet Maslin praised Bridges' performance in her review for The New York Times: "Mr. Bridges finds a role so right for him that he seems never to have been anywhere else. Watch this performance to see shambling executed with nonchalant grace and a seemingly out-to-lunch character played with fine comic flair." Andrew Sarris, in his review for the New York Observer, wrote, "The result is a lot of laughs and a feeling of awe toward the craftsmanship involved. I doubt that there'll be anything else like it the rest of this year." In a five star review for Empire Magazine, Ian Nathan wrote, "For those who delight in the Coens' divinely abstract take on reality, this is pure nirvana" and "In a perfect world all movies would be made by the Coen brothers." Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, describing it as "weirdly engaging"

 

However, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in the Chicago Reader, "To be sure, The Big Lebowski is packed with show-offy filmmaking and as a result is pretty entertaining. But insofar as it represents a moral position–and the Coens' relative styling of their figures invariably does–it's an elitist one, elevating salt-of-the-earth types like Bridges and Goodman ... over everyone else in the movie." Dave Kehr, in his review for the Daily News, criticized the film's premise as a "tired idea, and it produces an episodic, unstrung film." The Guardian criticized the film as "a bunch of ideas shoveled into a bag and allowed to spill out at random. The film is infuriating, and will win no prizes. But it does have some terrific jokes."

 

The Big Lebowski currently has a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes (62% amongst "Top Critics").

 

Legacy

 

Since its original release, The Big Lebowski has become a cult classic. Steve Palopoli wrote about the film's emerging cult status in July 2002. He first realized that the film had a cult following when he attended a midnight screening in 2000 at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles and witnessed people quoting dialogue from the film to each other. Soon after the article appeared, the programmer for a local midnight film series in Santa Cruz decided to screen The Big Lebowski, and on the first weekend they had to turn away several hundred people. The theater held the film over for six weeks, which had never happened before.

 

An annual festival, the Lebowski Fest, began in Louisville, Kentucky, United States in 2002 with 150 fans showing up, and has since expanded to several other cities. The Festival's main event each year is a night of unlimited bowling with various contests including costume, trivia, hardest- and farthest-traveled contests. Held over a weekend, events typically include a pre-fest party with bands the night before the bowling event as well as a day-long outdoor party with bands, vendor booths and games. Various celebrities from the film have even attended some of the events, including Jeff Bridges who attended the Los Angeles event. The British equivalent, inspired by Lebowski Fest, is known as The Dude Abides and is held in London.

 

Dudeism, an online religion devoted largely to spreading the philosophy and lifestyle of the movie's main character was founded in 2005. Also known as The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, the organization has ordained over 130,000 "Dudeist Priests" all over the world via its website.

 

Entertainment Weekly ranked it 8th on their Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years list. The film was also ranked #34 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films" and ranked #15 on the magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list. In addition, the magazine also ranked The Dude #14 in their "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years" poll. The Big Lebowski was voted as the 10th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list". Empire magazine ranked Walter Sobchak #49 and the Dude #7 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll. Roger Ebert added The Big Lebowski to his list of "Great Movies" in March 2010.

 

In September 2008, Slate published a revisionist article which viewed The Big Lebowski as a political critique. The centerpiece of this viewpoint was that Walter Sobchak is "a neocon," citing the movie's references to then President George H. W. Bush and the first Gulf War.

 

John Turturro has suggested a number of times that he would be interested in doing a spin-off movie using his character Jesus Quintana. If the project got off the ground, the Coens would not direct it, but may have a part in writing it.

 

Home media

 

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released a "Collector's Edition" DVD on October 18, 2005 with extra features that included an "introduction by Mortimer Young", "Jeff Bridges' Photography", "Making of The Big Lebowski", and "Production Notes". In addition, a limited-edition "Achiever's Edition Gift Set" also included The Big Lebowski Bowling Shammy Towel, four Collectible Coasters that included photographs and quotable lines from the movie, and eight Exclusive Photo Cards from Jeff Bridges’ personal collection.

 

A "10th Anniversary Edition" was released on September 9, 2008 and features all of the extras from the "Collector's Edition" and "The Dude's Life: Strikes and Gutters ... Ups and Downs ... The Dude Abides", theatrical trailer (from the first DVD release), "The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story", "Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude", "Interactive Map", "Jeff Bridges Photo Book",and a "Photo Gallery". There are both a standard release and a Limited Edition which features "Bowling Ball Packaging" and is individually numbered.

 

A High definition version of The Big Lebowski was released by Universal on HD DVD format on June 26, 2007. The film was released in Blu-ray format in Italy by Cecchi Gori.

 

On August 16, 2011 Universal Pictures released The Big Lebowski on Blu-ray. The limited-edition package includes a Jeff Bridges photo book, a ten-years-on retrospective, and an in-depth look at the annual Lebowski Fest.

 

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32. White Men Can't Jump

 

White_men_cant_jump.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 40 points - highest ranked #6 LittleHurt05)

 

White Men Can't Jump is a 1992 American sports comedy drama film starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as streetball hustlers, co-starring Rosie Perez. The film was written and directed by Ron Shelton and released in theaters on March 27, 1992 by 20th Century Fox.

 

Plot

 

Billy Hoyle (Harrelson) is a former college basketball player who makes a living hustling streetballers who assume he cannot play well because he is white. Hoyle never downplays his skill to increase the stakes; it is the black basketball players' own assumptions that are at the root of the hustle.

 

Such a talented but arrogant player is Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes), a star on the Venice Beach, California outdoor courts. He is humiliated twice by Billy in front of his friends, losing a wager. But he also recognizes a good thing when he sees one and immediately begins to think of a number of ways Billy can be useful to him.

 

Billy and his girlfriend Gloria Clemente (Rosie Perez) are on the run from out-of-state mobsters because of a gambling debt. A voracious reader, making note of obscure facts, Gloria's goal in life is to be a contestant on the television show Jeopardy! and make a fortune. Sidney's mission in life is to buy a house for his family outside the rough Baldwin Village, Crenshaw District neighborhood of Los Angeles. He talks Billy into a partnership and they hustle other players for money. But when they unexpectedly lose a game, it turns out that Sidney has double-crossed Billy by deliberately playing badly alongside him, making Billy lose $1,700 to a group of Sidney's friends.

 

Gloria is incensed at Billy's blowing his money again and is also suspicious of how it happened. On the way to Sidney's apartment, she tells Billy: "Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs."

 

Once they get to Sidney's and appeal to his wife (Tyra Ferrell) for fairness, Gloria agrees to share some of the money provided Sidney and Billy are willing to team up again for a major 2-on-2 outdoor tournament. While they bicker incessantly, Sidney and Billy do win the grand prize of $5,000, largely due to Billy's ability to disrupt his opponents' concentration. Billy's most notable claim is that he is "in the zone," a state of mind in which nothing can get in his way. Sidney is pleased with the outcome, yet he cannot help mocking Billy about his inability to slam dunk. "White men can't jump," he notes. Billy, however, claims that dunking the basketball is unnecessary grandstanding, while expressing a belief that black guys like Sidney would "rather look good and lose than look bad and win."

 

Billy insists that he can indeed dunk but Sidney clearly disagrees. Infuriated, Billy claims he is willing to bet his share of the $5,000 on his ability to dunk. Sidney accepts and gives him three chances. Billy fails, losing his share. When he tells Gloria, she leaves him. One of Sidney's friends works as a security guard at the TV studio that produces Jeopardy!. He agrees to get her on the show, if Billy can sink a half court hook shot, which he does. To begin, Gloria stumbles over sports questions (notably naming Babe Ruth as the NBA's leading rebounder), but makes a comeback with a pet topic, "Foods That Start With The Letter 'Q' ". She wins $14,100 on her first episode. Gloria and Billy get back together.

 

Billy sings Gloria a song he has composed to win her back. Everything in his world is all right again, but now it is Sidney who suffers misfortune and needs a favor. He and his family are burglarized and become more desperate for money. Billy is supposed to get a steady job and settle down, but Sidney needs him to play basketball for money again and use his share of Gloria's take. Gloria warns that if Billy gambles with her money "we are through." Billy feels he must honor the obligation he owes Sidney for getting Gloria on Jeopardy! in the first place. They play a final game against two hoops legends of the L.A. scene, "The King" and "Duck." In a very tight game, Sidney and Billy prevail, the winning points coming when Sidney lobs an "alley-oop" pass to Billy, who dunks it.

 

Returning home happy, Billy discovers Gloria has kept her word and left him for good. He is crushed. Then the mobsters who are after Billy track him down and he pays off his debts. Billy once again asks Sidney to set him up with a real job. Billy says that Gloria has left him many times, but that "this is it", and Sidney remarks "Maybe you two were better off without each other." As the closing credits are about to roll, Billy launches into yet another basketball argument with Sidney and they are right back where they began—but, this time, as friends.

 

Cast

 

Wesley Snipes as Sidney Deane

Woody Harrelson as Billy Hoyle

Rosie Perez as Gloria Clemente

Tyra Ferrell as Rhonda Deane

Cylk Cozart as Robert

Kadeem Hardison as Junior

Ernest Harden Jr. as George

Freeman Williams as Duck Johnson

Louis Price as Eddie "The King" Faroo

Alex Trebek as Himself

 

Reception

 

White Men Can't Jump grossed $14,711,124 in 1,923 theaters in its opening weekend, with a total gross of $76,253,806 in the U.S. and $90,753,806 worldwide and was the 16th highest grossing movie of 1992.

 

The film received generally positive reviews. It currently has a 78 percent "fresh rating" on Rotten Tomatoes, with 28 positive reviews. Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun Times gave the film three and a half stars, saying it was "not simply a basketball movie", praising Ron Shelton for "knowing his characters". Janet Maslin from New York Times praised Wesley Snipes for his "funny, knowing performance with a lot of physical verve". The film was reportedly one of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's favorites.

 

Production

 

Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks legend and Hall of Famer, was hired as basketball coach for the movie. He was impressed with Harrelson and Snipes, suggesting that both reached division III college basketball skill level.[citation needed]

 

The musical R&B quintet Riff recorded a song and accompanying music video called "White Men Can't Jump" for the movie. The music video featured Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes and Rosie Perez. It can be seen on the DVD release with bonus features.

 

Marques Johnson has a supporting role as Raymond, who loses a game to Snipes and Harrelson. Johnson was a star player for UCLA's 1974-75 national championship team coached by John Wooden and later played for the NBA's Bucks, Clippers and Warriors.

 

Freeman Williams, who played "Duck" Johnson, also had a distinguished NBA career, playing for the Clippers, Jazz, and Bullets from 1978-86.

 

Future NBA player Gary Payton made an uncredited appearance as an unidentified street baller.

 

The category "Foods that start with the letter 'Q'" was an actual category on an October 1997 episode of Jeopardy!

 

There is a video game based on the movie, for the Atari Jaguar console.

 

To introduce a new basketball shoe, Nike teamed up with the makers of White Men Can't Jump to assemble the package of shoes inspired by characters Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane.

 

Soundtracks

 

Main article: White Men Can't Jump (soundtrack)

 

Main article: White Men Can't Rap

 

Two soundtracks were released by Capitol Records, the first, White Men Can't Jump was released on March 24, 1992 and consisted mostly of R&B, the second, White Men Can't Rap was released on April 7, 1992 and consisted entirely of hip hop.

 

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31. Pride of the Yankees

 

The_Pride_Of_The_Yankees_1942.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 41 points - highest ranked #3 Milkman delivers)

 

The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 biographical film directed by Sam Wood about the New York Yankees baseball player, first baseman Lou Gehrig, who had his career cut short at 37 years of age when he was stricken with the fatal disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (later known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). The film was released the year after Gehrig's death.

 

It stars Gary Cooper as Gehrig and co-stars Teresa Wright as his wife Eleanor and Walter Brennan as a sportswriter friend. Yankee teammates Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig, and Bill Dickey play themselves, as does sportscaster Bill Stern.

 

The film was adapted by Herman J. Mankiewicz, Jo Swerling, and an uncredited Casey Robinson from a story by Paul Gallico.

 

The film includes a re-enactment of Gehrig's farewell speech in Yankee Stadium. The famous line "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" was voted #38 in the American Film Institute (AFI) list of the 100 greatest film quotes of all time.

 

Plot

 

Lou Gehrig (played by Gary Cooper) is a young Columbia University student whose old-fashioned mother wants him to study hard and become an engineer. But the young man has a gift for playing baseball.

 

A sportswriter named Sam Blake (Walter Brennan) befriends Gehrig and persuades a scout to come see him play. Before long, Gehrig gets a contract offer from the best team in baseball, the New York Yankees. With his father's help, he conspires to keep this a secret from his mother.

 

Gehrig eventually becomes a Yankee and joins the likes of Babe Ruth, who at first treats the rookie coldly. Gehrig's strong hitting and play at first base, though, wins over his teammates, and before long he is joining them in playing pranks on Ruth on the team train.

 

After a game in which he trips, Gehrig falls for a spectator, Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright), who heckled him from the grandstand, dubbing him "Tanglefoot." Their relationship grows, and soon Lou and Ellie plan to marry. This news, on top of learning that her son won't become an engineer, does not sit well with Gehrig's mother. However, Lou finally stands up to her and marries Eleanor.

 

The Yankees start winning multiple championships, and all is going well for Gehrig. Even his mother now comes to a game and cheers for him. He hits two home runs in a single game as a promise to a sick boy in a hospital. He and his wife couldn't be happier. But then without warning, Gehrig, baseball's "Iron Horse" who never misses a game because of illness or injury, begins to feel that something's wrong.

 

Gehrig keeps on playing, keeping his illness a secret and extending his consecutive-game streak to an all-time high. But he is clearly not the player he once was, and one day he voluntarily removes himself from a game.

 

After an examination, a doctor gives it to him straight: Gehrig is gravely ill and only has a short time to live.

 

At a day at Yankee Stadium in his honor, Gehrig addresses the fans, memorably telling them that while some say he got "a bad break," he considers himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."

 

Miscellaneous

 

The film emphasizes the personal relationships of Gehrig's short life: first, with his parents, especially his domineering mother; then his friendship with the sportswriter, Sam; and finally, the "storybook romance" and marriage to Eleanor. The details of Gehrig's baseball career are represented by montages of ballparks, pennants, and Cooper swinging bats and running bases. His record of 2,130 consecutive games played is prominently mentioned.

 

In addition to a depiction of his farewell speech, the film includes a scene of Gehrig visiting a boy named Billy (Gene Collins) in a hospital and promising that he would hit two home runs in a single World Series game; Gehrig fulfills his promise, and an older Billy (David Holt) attends Lou Gehrig Day and shows Gehrig that he can walk, having made a full recovery inspired by his hero's determination.

 

Gehrig died on June 2, 1941.

 

Release

 

In New York City, the film premiered at the Astor Theatre and was shown for one night only at "forty neighborhood theatres"; preceding the film was the premiere of a Disney animated short called "How to Play Baseball" (produced by Disney at Samuel Goldwyn's request).

 

Reception

 

The 1942 review of the film in Variety magazine called it a "stirring epitaph" and a "sentimental, romantic saga ... well worth seeing." Time magazine's August 1942 review said the film was a "grade-A love story" done with "taste and distinction" though it was "somewhat overlong, repetitive, undramatic"; Time noted:

 

Baseball fans who hope to see much baseball played in Pride of the Yankees will be disappointed. Babe Ruth is there, playing himself with fidelity and considerable humor; so are Yankees Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig. But baseball is only incidental. The hero does not hit a home run and win the girl. He is just a hardworking, unassuming, highly talented professional. The picture tells the model story of his model life in the special world of professional ballplayers.

 

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it a "tender, meticulous and explicitly narrative film" that "inclines to monotony" because of its length and devotion to "genial details."

 

Awards and other recognition

 

The Pride of the Yankees won an Oscar for Film Editing. In addition, it had ten more nominations for:

 

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Cooper)

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Teresa Wright)

Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

Best Effects, Special Effects

Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

Best Picture

Best Sound, Recording (Thomas T. Moulton)

Best Writing, Original Story

Best Writing, Screenplay

 

The American Film Institute ranked The Pride of the Yankees #22 on their list of the top 100 most inspiring films in American cinema.

 

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Pride of the Yankees was ranked as the third best film in the sports genre.

 

Inaccuracies

 

In the film, Gehrig is depicted belting a home run through the window of his alma mater's athletics department. Actually, his farthest hits smashed not into the athletic department, which was located on the north end of campus, but through the windows of the nearby Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

 

Gary Cooper tried as a righty to swing left handed as Gehrig actually did; however, Cooper eventually gave up and was filmed always swinging right. The film accomplished the appearance of batting left by using the negative of Cooper batting right. During filming Cooper would run to third base instead of first to complete the effect.

 

Gehrig's farewell speech

 

In Gehrig's actual speech on July 4, 1939, the line "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" was actually at the beginning of the speech; it was moved to the end of the speech in the film.

 

Here is the text of the actual speech given that day by Gehrig:

 

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

 

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.

 

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body — it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.

 

So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for.

 

 

 

Here is the speech from the film:

 

I have been walking onto ball fields for sixteen years, and I've never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. I have had the great honor to have played with these great veteran ballplayers on my left - Murderers' Row, our championship team of 1927. I have had the further honor of living with and playing with these men on my right - the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees of today.

 

I have been given fame and undeserved praise by the boys up there behind the wire in the press box, my friends, the sportswriters. I have worked under the two greatest managers of all time, Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy.

 

I have a mother and father who fought to give me health and a solid background in my youth. I have a wife, a companion for life, who has shown me more courage than I ever knew.

 

People all say that I've had a bad break. But today...today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

 

Adaptations to other media

 

The Pride of the Yankees was adapted as an hour-long radio play on the October 4, 1943 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Gary Cooper and Virginia Bruce and a September 30, 1949 broadcast of Screen Director's Playhouse starring Gary Cooper and Lurene Tuttle.

 

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30. Jerry Maguire

 

Jerry_Maguire_movie_poster.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 43 points - highest ranked #5 BigSqwert)

 

Jerry Maguire is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film starring Tom Cruise. It was written, co-produced, and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film released in North American theaters on December 13, 1996, distributed by Gracie Films and TriStar Pictures.

 

The film received mostly positive reviews and, on a $50 million budget, was a financial success, bringing in more than $270 million worldwide.

 

Plot

 

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a glossy 35-year-old sports agent working for Sports Management International (SMI). After suffering a nervous breakdown as a result of stress and a guilty conscience, he writes a mission statement about perceived dishonesty in the sports management business and how he believes that it should be operated. He distributes copies of it, entitled "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business". His co-workers are touched by his honesty and greet him with applause, but the management sends Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr), Maguire's protégé, to fire him. Jerry and Sugar call all of Jerry's clients to try to convince them not to hire the services of the other. Jerry speaks to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), one of his clients who is disgruntled with his contract. Rod tests Jerry's resolve through a very long telephone conversation, which culminates in the famed "Show Me the Money!" scene. Meanwhile, Sugar secures most of Jerry's previous clients. Frank "Cush" Cushman (Jerry O'Connell), a superstar football prospect from SMU expected to be #1 in the NFL Draft, also stays with Jerry after he makes a visit to the Cushman home. Leaving the office, Jerry announces he will start his own agency and asks if anyone is willing to join him, to which only 26-year-old single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger) agrees. The two had previously bumped into each other in the airport and told him personally how inspiring she found his "memo".

 

Jerry travels to the NFL Draft with Cush and convinces Rod to come too, to meet representatives of other NFL teams. Though Rod at first feels neglected compared to the superstar Cush, Sugar contacts Matt Cushman (Beau Bridges), Cush's dad, while Jerry is in the lobby with Rod and re-signs Cush to SMI. Jerry is devastated and turns to his fiancée Avery (Kelly Preston) for support, but she rebukes him and he breaks up with her. He then turns to Dorothy, becoming closer to her young son, Ray, and eventually starts a relationship with her. However, Dorothy contemplates moving to San Diego as she has a secure job offer there. Jerry concentrates all his efforts on Rod, now his only client, who turns out to be very difficult to satisfy. Over the next several months, the two direct harsh criticism towards each other with Rod claiming that Jerry is not trying hard enough to get him a contract while Jerry claims that Rod is not proving himself worthy of the money for which he asks. Jerry marries Dorothy to help them both stay afloat financially and to keep her from moving away. He is emotionally and physically distant during the marriage, but is clearly invested in becoming a father to Ray. Although Dorothy is in love, she breaks up with him because she believes he does not love her.

 

Before the start of a Monday Night Football game between the Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, Sugar attempts to steal Rod, but is rebuked by Rod and Jerry. The two reconcile soon after. Rod plays well but appears to receive a serious injury when catching a touchdown. He recovers, however, and dances for the crowd, which cheers wildly. Afterwards, Jerry and Rod embrace in front of other athletes and sports agents and show how their relationship has progressed from a strictly business one to a close personal one, which was one of the points Jerry made in his mission statement. Jerry then flies back home to meet Dorothy to tell her that he loves her and wants her in his life. He says to Dorothy "You complete me" to which she replies "You had me at hello". Rod later appears on Roy Firestone's sports show. Unbeknownst to him, Jerry has secured him an $11.2 million contract with the Cardinals that will allow him to finish his pro football career in Arizona. The visibly emotional Rod proceeds to thank everyone and extends warm gratitude to Jerry. Jerry speaks with several other pro athletes, some of whom have read his earlier mission statement and respect his work with Tidwell. The film ends with Jerry, Dorothy and Ray walking in the park and stumbling across a Little League baseball game. When the ball lands near them, Ray throws it back; a surprised Jerry then comments on his natural throwing ability (and possible future in sports), much to Dorothy's dismay.

 

Cast

 

Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire

Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Rod Tidwell

Renée Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd

Kelly Preston as Avery Bishop

Jerry O'Connell as Frank "Cush" Cushman

Jay Mohr as Bob Sugar

Regina King as Marcee Tidwell

Bonnie Hunt as Laurel Boyd

Jonathan Lipnicki as Ray Boyd

Todd Louiso as Chad the Nanny

Jeremy Suarez as Tyson Tidwell

Aries Spears as Teepee Tidwell

Mark Pellington as Bill Dooler

Jared Jussim as Dicky Fox

Ingrid Beer as Anne-Louise

Glenn Frey as Dennis Wilburn

Drake Bell as Jesse Remo

Christina Cavanaugh as Mrs. Remo

Toby Huss as Steve Remo

Eric Stoltz as Ethan Valhere

Lucy Liu and Ivana Milicevic as Former girlfriends

Beau Bridges (uncredited) as Matt Cushman

 

Cameos Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., former NFL quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon, German ice skater Katarina Witt, then current Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer, and former Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes play themselves in the film.

 

Other NFL players that make cameos as themselves are Tim McDonald, Johnnie Morton, Rick Mirer, Rob Moore, Ki-Jana Carter, Herman Moore, Art Monk, Kerry Collins, and Dean Biasucci.

 

Sportscasters Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Roy Firestone, Mike Tirico, and Dan Dierdorf also make cameos.

 

Former NBA basketball player Brent Barry is featured in the film as an athlete who wouldn't sign an autograph for a young boy.

 

Actresses portraying ex-girlfriends of Maguire include Alison Armitage, Emily Procter, and Stacey Williams. Reagan Gomez-Preston also had a minor role in the film as part of the Tidwell family.

 

Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell makes a brief appearance in the film as a copier store clerk.

 

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay makes a cameo as Jerry Maguire's boss.

 

Reception

 

Critical response

 

The film received critical acclaim, with a 84% positive reviews on the film-critics aggregate Rotten Tomatoes. Its critical consensus states: "Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache." Cuba Gooding, Jr. won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rod Tidwell, the Arizona Cardinals football player who sticks with Maguire. Cruise was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the movie marked Renée Zellwegger's breakout role. The film itself was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and crew members on the film were nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Film Editing awards.

 

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3/4 stars, writing that there "are so many subplots that Jerry Maguire seems too full" and also commented that the film "starts out looking cynical and quickly becomes a heartwarmer." He concluded that the film "is often a delight" and "is about transformation: About two men who learn how to value something more important than money, and about two women who always knew." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote "An exceptionally tasty contempo comedic romance, 'Jerry Maguire' runs an unusual pattern on its way to scoring an unexpected number of emotional, social and entertaining points. Smartly written and boasting a sensational cast, Cameron Crowe's shrewdly observed third feature also gives Tom Cruise one of his very best roles..."

 

Box Office

 

The film debuted at number one. It earned $17,084,296 its opening weekend, and eventually grossed $153,952,592 in North American box office and approximately $119,600,000 overseas for a $273,552,592 worldwide total, on a budget of $50 million.

 

Legacy

 

Jerry Maguire spawned several popular quotations, including "Show me the money!" (shouted repeatedly in a phone exchange between Rod Tidwell and Jerry Maguire), "You complete me", "Help me help you", and "You had me at 'hello'" (said by Renée Zellweger's Dorothy Boyd after a lengthy romantic plea by Jerry Maguire), and "Kwan", a word used by Cuba Gooding, Jr. Tidwell meaning love, respect, community, and money, also spelled "quan" and "quawn", to illustrate the difference between himself and other football players: "Other football players may have the coin, but they won't have the 'Quan'". These lines are largely attributed to Cameron Crowe, director and screenwriter of the film. Zellweger said of filming the famous "hello" line, "Cameron had me say it a few different ways. It's so funny, because when I read it, I didn't get it — I thought it was a typo somehow. I kept looking at it. It was the one thing in the script that I was looking at going, 'Is that right? Can that be right? How is that right?' I thought, 'Is there a better way to say that? Am I not getting it? I just don't know how to do it.'"

 

Accolades

 

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Jerry Maguire was acknowledged as the tenth best film in the sports genre. It was also voted by AFI as #100 on its list of 100 Passions. The quotes "Show me the money!" and "You had me at 'hello'" were also ranked by AFI on its list of 100 Movie Quotes, ranked #25 and #52 respectively.

 

Academy Awards

 

Best Actor (Cruise, nominated)

Best Editing (Hutshing, nominated)

Best Picture (nominated)

Best Screenplay – Original (Crowe, nominated)

Best Supporting Actor (Gooding Jr., won)

 

Chicago Film Critics Association

 

Best Supporting Actor (Gooding Jr., won)

 

Directors Guild of America

 

Outstanding Directing – Motion Pictures (Crowe, nominated)

 

Golden Globe Awards

 

Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Cruise, won)

Best Film – Musical or Comedy (nominated)

Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture (Gooding Jr., nominated)

 

Image Awards

 

Outstanding Actor – Motion Picture (Gooding Jr., nominated)

 

Satellite Awards

 

Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Cruise, won)

Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Gooding Jr., won)

Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Zellweger, nominated)

 

Screen Actors Guild

 

Outstanding Actor – Motion Picture (Cruise, nominated)

Outstanding Supporting Actor (Gooding Jr., won)

Outstanding Supporting Actress (Zellweger, nominated)

 

Writers Guild of America

 

Best Screenplay – Original (Crowe, nominated)

 

American Film Institute Lists

 

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – #100

AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:

Secret Garden – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:

"Show me the money!" – #25

"You had me at "hello."" – #52

"You complete me." – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers – Nominated

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated

AFI's 10 Top 10 – #10 Sports Film (also nominated Romantic Comedy)

 

Soundtrack

 

The movie soundtrack includes

 

The Durutti Column – "Requiem Again"

Rickie Lee Jones – "The Horses"

The Replacements – "I'll Be You"

Paul McCartney – "Momma Miss America"

Paul McCartney – "Singalong Junk"

Elvis Presley – "Pocket Full of Rainbows"

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – "The Lonely Bull"

Merrilee Rush – "Angel of the Morning"

The Who – "Magic Bus" and "Getting In Tune"

Nirvana – "Something in the Way"

AC/DC – "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)"

Tom Petty – "Free Fallin'"

Neil Young – "World on a String"

Bob Dylan – "Shelter from the Storm"

Bruce Springsteen – "Secret Garden"

The Rolling Stones - "b****"

Aimee Mann – "Wise Up"

a clip of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus performing (Mingus' piece is "Haitian Fight Song")

 

"Secret Garden", originally a Springsteen track from 1995, was re-released in 1997 after its exposure in the film and on the soundtrack, and peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 

The film was scored by director Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson, who was a member of the rock band Heart.

 

DVD Releases

 

Jerry Maguire (1997), Jerry Maguire (1997) Deluxe Widescreen Presentation, Jerry Maguire (2002) Special Edition, Jerry Maguire (2008) (+ BD Live [blu-ray}

 

Based on

 

Sports agent Leigh Steinberg was the inspiration for the movie.

 

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29. The Blind Side

 

Blind_side_poster.jpg

 

(3 of 15 lists - 45 points - highest ranked #11 knightni)

 

he Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical drama film. It is written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The storyline features Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who plays for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. The film follows Oher from his impoverished upbringing, through his years at Wingate Christian School (a fictional representation of Briarcrest Christian School in the suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee), his adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, and on to his position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football. For her performance, Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The film itself also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

 

Besides Bullock, the film stars Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy, and Kathy Bates as Miss Sue. The movie also features appearances by several current and former NCAA coaches, including SEC coaches Houston Nutt and Ed Orgeron (Oher's coaches in college, though Nutt represented Arkansas at the time and therefore does so in the film) and Nick Saban (who was at LSU at the time and represents it in the film), former coaches Lou Holtz, Tommy Tuberville, Phillip Fulmer, as well as recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.

 

Plot

 

For most of his childhood, 17-year-old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) has been in foster care with different families throughout Memphis, Tennessee. Every time he is placed in a new home, he runs away. His friend's father, whose couch Mike had been sleeping on, asks Burt Cotton (Ray McKinnon), the coach of Wingate Christian school, to help enroll his son and Mike. Impressed by Mike's size and athleticism, Cotton gets him admitted despite his abysmal academic record.

 

At his new school, Michael is befriended by a boy named Sean Jr. "SJ" (Jae Head). SJ's mother Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) is a strong-minded interior designer and the wife of wealthy businessman Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw). Leigh Anne notices Michael walking on the road, shivering in the cold; when she learns he intends to spend the night huddled outside the school gym, she offers him a place to sleep at her house. The next morning, when she sees Michael leaving, she asks him to spend the holiday with her family. Slowly, Michael becomes a member of the Tuohy family, even as Leigh Anne's rich friends wonder what she is doing. One even suggests that her teenage daughter Collins (Lily Collins) is not safe around him, much to Leigh Anne's disgust.

 

When Leigh Anne seeks to become Michael's legal guardian, she learns he was separated from his drug-addict mother when he was seven and that no one knows her whereabouts. She is also told that even though he scored low in almost every category in a career aptitude test, he is in the 98th percentile in "protective instincts".

 

After his grades improve, Michael is allowed to join the school football team. He has a shaky start due to his polite and gentle nature, yet after some encouragement by Leigh Anne to tap into his "protective instincts" and regard his teammates as he would members of his family, Michael dominates on the field. SJ sends out videos of the games to college coaches around the country. Leigh Anne discovers that to get a NCAA Division I scholarship, Michael needs a 2.5 GPA, so they hire a tutor, Miss Sue (Kathy Bates). Some of the teachers help out as well, and Michael ends up with a GPA of 2.52.

 

When coaches come to recruit Michael, Leigh Anne makes it clear that she prefers the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) as both she and her husband are alumni. Miss Sue, another Ole Miss alumna, tells Michael (who dislikes horror films) that the FBI buries body parts under the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium for research; Leigh Anne particularly loathes that school. Michael commits to Ole Miss.

 

Subsequently, Michael and the Tuohys become the subject of an NCAA investigation. The investigator tells Michael that the Tuohys and Miss Sue are fervent Mississippi boosters, who are subject to special restrictions, and his high school coach got a job at Ole Miss after Michael chose the school. Michael confronts Leigh Anne, asking her if she only took him in so he would play football for her alma mater. Michael then goes to his birth mother's apartment in the projects. His old friends welcome him, but their leader makes crude remarks about Leigh Anne and Collins. In the ensuing fight, Michael dispatches three thugs and then flees the scene.

 

Leigh Anne searches for Michael. He finally calls her, and they meet. Leigh Anne tells him she will support any decision he makes. Michael satisfies the investigator by explaining that he chose Ole Miss because his whole family has gone there.

 

Later, Leigh Anne and her family take Michael to the Ole Miss campus to begin college. The film ends with an emotional goodbye between Leigh Anne and Michael. The closing credits show the 2009 NFL Draft with the real Michael Oher being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round. Photographs of Oher and the real Tuohys follow, with Oher's success in the NFL detailed. The credits include a dedication to director John Lee Hancock's father, a football player and coach who died in 2009.

 

Cast

 

Quinton Aaron as Michael "Big Mike" Oher

Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy

Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy

Kathy Bates as Miss Sue

Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy

Jae Head as Sean "S.J." Tuohy, Jr.

Ray McKinnon as Coach Cotton

Kim Dickens as Mrs. Boswell

Adriane Lenox as Denise Oher

 

Coaches playing themselves

 

Tommy Tuberville, then coach of Auburn

Nick Saban, then coach of LSU

Lou Holtz, then coach of South Carolina

Philip Fulmer, then coach of Tennessee

Houston Nutt, then coach of Arkansas

Ed Orgeron, then coach of Ole Miss

 

Production

 

The Blind Side was produced by Alcon Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. According to Reuters, the film's production budget was $29 million. Filming for the school scenes took place at Atlanta International School and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, and it features many of their students. The film premiered on November 17 in New York City and New Orleans and opened in theaters on November 20 in the rest of the United States and in Canada.

 

Academy Award-winner Julia Roberts was originally offered Bullock's role, but Roberts turned it down. Bullock, who had initially turned down the starring role three times due to discomfort with portraying a devout Christian, or one whose life didn't represent their beliefs. This comes, in part, from Bullock's own experiences in the Deep South with individuals who "wore the Christian banner" but that was about it. But after a visit with the real Leigh Anne Tuohy, Bullock was not only won over, but also took a pay cut and agreed to receive a percentage of the profits.

 

Reception

 

Accolades

 

The Blind Side has earned numerous awards and nominations for the lead performance of the film's star, Sandra Bullock.

 

Awards and Nominations

 

Award Category Nominee Result

Academy Award Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock Won

Best Picture Film Nominated

Critics’ Choice Award Best Actress Sandra Bullock Won (tied with Meryl Streep)

ESPY Awards Best Sports Movie Film Won

Golden Globe Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Sandra Bullock Won

Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Sandra Bullock Won

People's Choice Award Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock Won

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Sandra Bullock Nominated

Teen Choice Awards 2010 Favorite Drama Movie Film Won

Movie Actress – Drama Sandra Bullock Won

Breakout Male Actor Quinton Aaron Nominated

 

Critical reception

 

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with Sandra Bullock's acting being critically acclaimed. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that, as of 8 October 2011, 66% of 188 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.1 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "It might strike some viewers as a little too pat, but The Blind Side has the benefit of strong source material and a strong performance from Sandra Bullock."

 

Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 53 based on 28 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

 

Box office

 

The Blind Side opened in 3,110 theaters on its opening weekend, the weekend of November 20, 2009. It grossed a strong $34,510,000 in its opening weekend, the second highest gross of that weekend, behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon. It was the highest-grossing opening weekend of Sandra Bullock's career. The per-theater average for The Blind Side's opening weekend was $11,096. In its opening weekend, the movie already proved to be a financial success, having a budget of just $29,000,000. It proved to have remarkable staying power, taking in an additional $9.5 million, bringing its gross to $60,125,000 by the weekend of November 27, 2009. The movie enjoyed a very rare greater success for the second weekend than it did in its opening weekend, taking in an estimated $40 million, an increase of 18 percent, from November 27 to November 29, 2009, coming in second to New Moon once again, bringing its gross to $100,250,000. In its third weekend, the movie continued its trend of rare feats by moving up to the number one position with $20.4 million in sales after spending the previous two weekends in second place for a total gross of $128.8 million, due to strong word-of-mouth. In its fourth weekend, it moved down to second place, dropping a slim 23% with an estimated $15.5 million for a total of $150.2 million in the United States and Canada as of December 13, 2009. The film hit $200 million domestically on January 1, 2010, marking the first time a movie marketed with a sole actress' name above the title (Bullock's) has crossed the $200 million mark. The Blind Side has also become the highest grossing football movie and sports drama of all time domestically unadjusted for ticket inflation. The Blind Side ended its domestic theatrical run on June 4, 2010 (nearly 7 months after it opened), earning a total of $255,959,475. In the UK, The Blind Side was released on March 26, 2010. It was the third biggest release of that weekend behind Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

 

Soundtrack

 

A soundtrack consisting of the songs played in this movie was not released, however the score soundtrack by Carter Burwell was. The movie consisted of 23 songs with artists including Young MC, Lucy Woodward, The Books, Canned Heat, Five for Fighting.

 

Home media

 

The Blind Side was released on DVD and Blu-ray March 23, 2010. The Blind Side was available exclusively for rental from Blockbuster for 28 days.

 

Redbox and Netflix customers had to wait 28 days before they were able to rent the movie. This stems from the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Redbox against Warner Home Video, who, in an attempt to boost DVD sales, refused to sell wholesale titles to Redbox. On August 19, 2009 Redbox sued Warner Home Video to continue purchasing DVD titles at wholesale prices. On February 16, 2010, Redbox settled the lawsuit and agreed to a 28-day window past the street date.

 

As of 30 October 2010, units sold for the DVD stand at more than 5.5 million copies and has grossed a further $88,532,725 adding to its total gross.

 

http://youtu.be/D0esUnRkz10

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28. 61*

 

61_poster.JPG

 

(3 of 15 lists - 46 points - highest ranked #2 Milkman delivers)

 

61* is a 2001 American sports drama film directed by Billy Crystal. It stars Barry Pepper as Roger Maris and Thomas Jane as Mickey Mantle on their quest to break Babe Ruth's 1927 single-season home run record of 60 during the 1961 season of the New York Yankees. The film first aired on HBO on April 28, 2001.

 

Plot

 

In 1998, the family of the late Roger Maris are preparing to go to Busch Stadium to watch Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals break their father's record with 62 home runs. Before the game, Maris' widow, Pat, is hospitalized due to complications from arrhythmia and watches the game on television from a hospital bed.

 

Decades earlier in 1961, Maris is presented with the Most Valuable Player award for the 1960 baseball season. Mantle is the team's superstar. As the season begins, Mantle starts off hot, Maris not. Roger thinks he might be traded, but new manager Ralph Houk decides to have Mantle and Maris switch places in the Yankees batting order to see if it helps. It does and Maris begins to hit home runs at a record pace. Mickey keeps pace and it becomes clear that both "M & M Boys" are going to make a run at the Babe's record.

 

Mickey's life off the field is taking a toll on his playing. He drinks, enjoys the Manhattan nightlife and goes to the ballpark hung over. More than once, pitcher Whitey Ford has to bail him out or sober him up. Maris and teammate/roommate Bob Cerv invite Mantle to move in with them in a modest apartment in Queens to stay out of trouble, with one condition: no women.

 

New York's fans and media are pulling for the popular and personable Mickey, a long-time Yankee. The quieter Roger is viewed as an outsider, aloof and unworthy. As they get closer to the record, MLB Commissioner Ford Frick, who also happened to be Babe Ruth's admirer and ghostwriter, makes a decision. Unless the record is broken in 154 games (the same number Ruth played in 1927), the new record would be listed separately with Ruth's record, because MLB's season is now 162 games long. Contrary to popular belief (and the movie's title) there was never any "asterisk" involved or mentioned in real life.

 

It appears Mantle is not going to make it. His health deteriorates and he plays in pain. The relationship is taking a toll on Maris, too. Pressure is mounting and Maris feels antagonism from all sides. Roger is not accustomed to the kind of attention that Mickey gets every day. Mickey is more easy-going and knows how to handle the press. The fans heckle Maris, even throw objects at him on the field. The press dissect or distort everything he does and says. Maris is getting hate mail and even death threats. His wife lives far from New York, usually available only by phone. The stress is so great that Roger's hair begins to fall out in clumps. The Yankees owner also tries to favor Mantle by asking Houk to switch Mantle and Maris in the batting order. Houk refuses, saying the lineup he has is winning for him, even remarking sharply, "The right guy is going to break that stupid record!"

 

Chronic injury and alcohol abuse catch up with Mickey and an ill-advised shot by a doctor infects his hip and lands him in a hospital bed. Now the record is all Roger's to get. He comes up just shy in the 154th game of the season, but he does finally hit the record-breaking 61st home run on the last day of the season.

 

According to a voiceover (by long-time Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard), during the end credits, no asterisk was ever officially placed next to Roger's feat, due to separate records being created for the 154 and 162 game seasons. It is revealed that in 1991, six years after Roger's death, baseball's then-Commissioner Fay Vincent decided that a season is a season and separate records would no longer be kept, making Maris the only record holder.

 

Cast

 

Barry Pepper as Roger Maris

Thomas Jane as Mickey Mantle

Anthony Michael Hall as Whitey Ford

Richard Masur as Milt Kahn

Bruce McGill as Ralph Houk

Chris Bauer as Bob Cerv

Jennifer Crystal Foley as Pat Maris (1961)

Patricia Crowley as Pat Maris (1998)

Christopher McDonald as Mel Allen

Bob Gunton as Dan Topping

Donald Moffat as Ford Frick

Joe Grifasi as Phil Rizzuto

Peter Jacobson as Artie Green

Seymour Cassel as Sam Simon

Robert Joy as Bob Fishel

Michael Nouri as Joe DiMaggio

Tom Candiotti as Hoyt Wilhelm

E.E. Bell as Fan impersonating Babe Ruth

 

Filming locations

 

Most of the baseball action scenes, including those set at Yankee Stadium, were actually filmed at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. A combination of strategic photographing and post-production effects were used to enhance the illusion of the "classic" layout of Yankee Stadium. Tiger Stadium was credited as "playing" Yankee Stadium in the closing credits. The shots depicting Fenway Park and Baltimore's Memorial Stadium were shot at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

 

Errors

 

In the beginning of the movie, Bob Cerv was seen with the Yankees on Opening Day. In reality, Bob Cerv was a member of the Los Angeles Angels until May and then was traded to the Yankees.

 

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27. The Wrestler

 

The_Wrestler_poster.jpg

 

(2 of 15 lists - 47 points - highest ranked #1 Buehrle>Wood)

 

The Wrestler is a 2008 drama directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in January 2008 and Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired rights to distribute the film in the U.S.; it was released in a limited capacity on December 17, 2008 and was released nationwide on January 23, 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on April 21, 2009 in the United States. It was released in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2009. Aronofsky considers The Wrestler to be a companion piece to his 2010 film, Black Swan, as both films feature a character with a demanding art.

 

Rourke plays an aging professional wrestler who continues to wrestle matches in an attempt to cling on to his 1980s heyday despite his failing health, while also trying to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter and find romance with a stripper.

 

The film received universal critical acclaim and won the Golden Lion Award in the 2008 Venice Film Festival in August, where it premiered. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote it as one of the year's best films, while Rotten Tomatoes reported that 98% of critics gave the film positive reviews. For his role, Mickey Rourke went on to receive a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Tomei also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

 

Plot

 

Robin Ramzinski (Mickey Rourke), better known by his ring name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, is a professional wrestler who became a celebrity in the 1980s. Twenty years later, he is now past his prime. Randy wrestles on weekends for independent promotions in New Jersey. A regular at a strip club, he befriends a stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). Though she is very beautiful, she is getting too old for her job, much like Randy. After winning a local match, Randy agrees to a proposed 20th anniversary rematch against his most notable opponent, "The Ayatollah" (Ernest Miller). Randy intensifies his training, which includes steroid injections.

 

At his next show, he wrestles in a hardcore match. After the match, Randy suffers a heart attack backstage. After he receives coronary artery bypass surgery, his doctor tells him that his heart can no longer handle the stress of wrestling. He retires and begins working a 9–5 shift behind the deli counter at the supermarket with a demeaning manager, Wayne (Todd Barry), who mocks Randy's wrestling background.

 

At Cassidy's suggestion, Randy visits his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), whom he abandoned when she was a child. Now an adult, she rebuffs him. While helping Randy buy a gift for Stephanie, Cassidy reveals that she has a son. Randy makes romantic advances on her, which she rejects on the grounds of her job. Randy gives the gifts to his daughter and apologizes. The two bond over a visit to a beachfront boardwalk and they agree to meet for dinner on the coming Saturday.

 

Randy goes to Cassidy's strip club to thank her, but she once more rejects him, resulting in an angry exchange. Upset, Randy goes to see a wrestling match and finds solace in his wrestling friends. When he goes to a bar with them, he gets drunk, snorts cocaine and has sex with a woman in the bar's bathroom. He sleeps the entire next day and misses his dinner with Stephanie. He goes to her house to apologize, but she angrily cries and says that she never wants to see him again.

 

At the deli counter, a patron recognizes him as "The Ram", though Randy denies being the wrestler. Agitated, Randy cuts his thumb on the deli slicer machine and goes on a rampage in the store, before quitting. With nothing else left, he decides to return to wrestling. He reschedules the 20th anniversary rematch with The Ayatollah and turns down Cassidy's attempts at reconciliation, who warns him of his heart condition. He explains to her that he belongs in the ring with the fans who truly love him, unlike the rest of the world.

 

As he wrestles, Randy begins to feel chest pain and becomes unsteady. The Ayatollah notes this and urges him to initiate the pin. However, Randy begins his signature finishing move, a diving head butt called the "Ram Jam". He climbs the top rope and stands up. In tears, he salutes the crowd and leaps.

 

Cast

Rourke's performance in the film gave renewed interest to his career.

 

Mickey Rourke as Robin Ramzinski / Randy "The Ram" Robinson

Marisa Tomei as Pam / Cassidy

Evan Rachel Wood as Stephanie

Mark Margolis as Lenny

Todd Barry as Wayne

Judah Friedlander as Scott

Ernest Miller as Bob / "The Ayatollah"

Ajay Naidu as Medic

Wass Stevens as Nick

John D'Leo as Adam

Gregg Bello as Larry

 

Professional wrestlers who appeared in the film include: Rob Eckos, Ron "The Truth" Killings, Necro Butcher, Nick Berk, The Blue Meanie, Sabian, Nate Hatred, L.A. Smooth, Jay Lethal, Jim Powers, Claudio Castagnoli, Larry Sweeney, Romeo Roselli, John Zandig, Chuck Taylor and Nigel McGuinness.

 

Production

 

The Wrestler was written by Robert D. Siegel, a former writer for The Onion and entered development at director Darren Aronofsky's Protozoa Pictures. Actor Nicolas Cage entered negotiations in October 2007 to star as Randy. The following month Cage left the project, and Mickey Rourke replaced him in the lead role. According to Aronofsky, Cage pulled out of the movie because Aronofsky wanted Rourke as the lead character. Aronofsky stated that Cage was "a complete gentleman, and he understood that my heart was with Mickey and he stepped aside. I have so much respect for Nic Cage as an actor and I think it really could have worked with Nic but, you know, Nic was incredibly supportive of Mickey and he is old friends with Mickey and really wanted to help with this opportunity, so he pulled himself out of the race."

 

The roughly 40-day shoot began in January 2008, with filming taking place throughout New Jersey in Elizabeth, Hasbrouck Heights, Garfield, Asbury Park, Linden, Rahway, Roselle Park, Dover, a supermarket in Bayonne where Rourke served and improvised with real customers, and in New York. Scenes were also shot at The Arena in Philadelphia.

 

Afa Anoa'i, a former professional wrestler, was hired to train Rourke for his role. Anoa'i brought his two main trainers, Jon Trosky and Tom Farra, to work with Rourke for eight weeks. Both trainers also have parts in the movie.

 

One scene features a fictional Nintendo Entertainment System video game called Wrestle Jam '88. It starred the characters of Robinson and The Ayatollah. Aronofsky requested a fully functioning game for the actors to play with, with programmer Randall Furino and the film's title designer Kristyn Hume creating a playable demo with a working interface and AI routines that also featured 1980s era-appropriate graphics and music.

 

To add more realism, the locker room scenes were improvised for Rourke and others to look as if they were actually socializing. Some of the deli scenes were improvised because Aronofsky was actually filming Rourke working there.

 

Music

 

Unlike Aronofsky's previous films—which featured original scores by Clint Mansell—The Wrestler has a soundtrack of pre-recorded pop music, most of it hair metal acts such as Ratt.

 

Clint Mansell, the composer for Aronofsky's previous films, π, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain, reprised his role as composer for The Wrestler. Slash played the guitars on the score. A new Bruce Springsteen song, also titled "The Wrestler", plays over the film's closing credits. Springsteen wrote the song while on tour in Europe after receiving a letter and a copy of the script from Rourke.

 

The Guns N' Roses song "Sweet Child o' Mine" is played during Randy's ring entrance at the end of the film. In his Golden Globe acceptance speech, Rourke mentioned that Axl Rose donated the song for free due to the budget, and the film's closing credits thank Rose for this. Rourke had used the same song as his intro music during his stint as a boxer in the mid-90s. Randy even mocks one of Axl Rose's biggest rivals in the popular music scene of the early 1990s: Kurt Cobain.

 

Also featured in the film are two Ratt songs ("Round and Round" and "I'm Insane"), the Quiet Riot song "Metal Health" (which is Randy's entrance song except for the last match), the FireHouse song "Don't Walk Away", the Slaughter song "Dangerous", the Scorpions song "Animal Magnetism", "Balls to the Wall" by Accept, "Soundtrack to a War" by Rhino Bucket and the Cinderella song "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)." The two Ratt tunes are actually recordings by Rat Attack, a project featuring Ratt lead singer Stephen Pearcy and guitarists George Lynch (Dokken) and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns). The Madonna song "Jump" is played in the bar scene. The Birdman and Lil Wayne song "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" can be heard in the strip club. Also in the movie is a song called "Let Your Freak Out" by independent Toronto singer/songwriter Deesha which can be heard during the strip club scene where Marisa Tomei's character is having an emotional conversation with Mickey Rourke's character.

 

In the Toronto International Film Festival interview conducted by James Rocchi, Aronofsky credited the 1957 Charles Mingus song "The Clown," an instrumental piece with a poem read over the music about a clown who accidentally discovers the bloodlust of the crowds and eventually kills himself in performance, as a major source of inspiration for the movie. Aronofsky also said the brief reprise of Senator and Presidential-candidate John McCain's "Bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of The Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" in the movie evolved as improvisation on the set. The Ayatollah wrestling character's persona had developed more than 20 years before but, in part through this musical moment and its connection with the character, came to still feel appropriate to Aronofsky in 2008.

Mickey Rourke appeared at WrestleMania XXV to promote The Wrestler.

 

Promotion

 

Though initially critical of the film, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) helped promote it through an on-screen angle (a fictional storyline used in wrestling). This involved the heel Chris Jericho criticizing legendary retired wrestlers such as Ric Flair, whom he felt were embarrassing themselves, as well as Mickey Rourke for his portrayal in The Wrestler. At the 15th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Rourke announced he would be competing at WrestleMania XXV, specifically targeting Jericho. The announcement led to a confrontation between the two on Larry King Live, which showed signs of second thoughts from Rourke. On January 28, it was announced through Rourke's spokesperson that the actor would not compete at the event, and he was soon after announced instead as a guest.

 

Rourke was also invited to the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony the night before WrestleMania. The angle culminated the following night where Jericho faced Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy Snuka in a handicap match. After his victory, Jericho dismantled Flair and challenged Rourke, who finally entered the ring and punched him out. Flair then congratulated Rourke.

 

Reception

 

The Wrestler has received universal critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 98% of critics gave the film positive write-ups based upon a sample of 211, and gave it a golden tomato for best drama of 2008. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 81, based on 36 reviews, signifying "universal acclaim". Alonso Duralde, of MSNBC, said, "Rourke's work transcends mere stunt-casting; his performance is a howl of pain that seems to come from a very real place."

 

Todd McCarthy, of Variety, said, "Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances." Ben Mankiewicz, from At the Movies, said, "To put it simply, this is the best film I've seen this year." Le Monde praised the film for melding European film style with an American plot, and stated that “Mickey Rourke’s performance in ‘The Wrestler’ is a continuous celebration of the burdens and splendors of the profession of performance.” (one other French movie critic, Philippe Azoury, praised its portrayal of "the American heartland" as what he viewed as a bleak wasteland).) Although The Wrestler was not technically in Roger Ebert's "Best Films" list, he includes a note at the bottom of his review: "'The Wrestler' is one of the year's best films. It wasn't on my 'best films' list for complicated and boring reasons."

Roddy Piper was one of several professional wrestlers to voice his approval for the film and was later featured on a DVD extra commenting on its authenticity.

 

Professional wrestling industry reception

 

Prominent wrestling figures have commented on the movie. Aronofsky remarked during an NPR interview on WWE chairman Vince McMahon's feelings on The Wrestler:

“ Vince McMahon saw the film and he called both me and Mickey (Rourke) and he was really, really touched by it. It happened a week ago. We were very nervous wondering what he would think, but he really, really felt the film was special. Having his support meant a lot to us, especially Mickey. ”

 

WWE Hall of Famer Bret "The Hitman" Hart, who was a multi-time world champion in both WWE and WCW, enjoyed The Wrestler and applauded Rourke's "clairvoyant" performance, but called the film a "dark misinterpretation" of the business. He asserted: "Randy “The Ram” Robinson was a main-eventer who sold out Madison Square Garden. So was I... Although the film speaks superbly to the speed bumps all pro wrestlers navigate, I’m happy to report most of us don’t swerve off the road quite so severely." WWE play-by-play commentator Jim Ross called it a "really strong, dramatic film that depicts how people who are obsessed with their own lives and their careers can self-destruct".

 

Former WWE and TNA world heavyweight champion Mick Foley enjoyed the film, saying: "Within five [minutes], I had completely forgotten I was looking at Mickey Rourke. That guy on the screen simply was Randy 'the Ram' Robinson." WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was said to have been highly emotional after watching a screening of the movie. Aronofsky said of Piper: "He loved it. He broke down and cried in Mickey's arms, so he was psyched that this story was finally told." Insights on the film from Roddy Piper and other former pro wrestlers can be seen in Fox Searchlight Pictures's "Wrestler Round Table", which was included in the Blu-ray version of the film.

 

Top ten lists

 

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.

 

1st – Matt Cale, Ruthless Reviews

1st – Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies

1st – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

1st – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

2nd – Marc Doyle, Metacritic

2nd – Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

3rd – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

3rd – Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

3rd – Peter Vonder Haar, Film Threat

4th – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

4th – Ben Lyons, At the Movies

4th – David Denby, The New Yorker

5th – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

 

 

 

5th – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

6th – Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

7th – David Ansen, Newsweek

7th – Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter

7th – V.A. Musetto, New York Post

8th – Premiere

8th – Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club

9th – Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

9th – Josh Rosenblatt, The Austin Chronicle

10th – Dana Stevens, Slate

10th – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

10th – Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

 

The Ayatollah is a "bad guy" character who bears no real similarity to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The film's release came at a time of hostility in Iran – United States relations and a matter of months after a similar controversy over the film 300.

 

Controversy

 

The Wrestler has been condemned as an "anti-Iranian" film in many Iran newspapers and websites, in response to a scene in which Mickey Rourke violently breaks a pole bearing an Iranian flag in half across his knee. Borna News, a state-run Iranian newspaper, also criticized the heel (bad-guy) wrestler character "The Ayatollah", who is portrayed as a villain wearing Arabic clothings Keffiyeh and Bisht creating a deliberate amalgam of Iranians and Arabs among the audience. On the wrestling ring he wears a skimpy leotard in the pattern of an Iranian flag with the alef character, representing the first letter of the word Ayatollah.

 

Some Iranian newspapers avoided mentioning the character, presumably to avoid offending Iran's clerical rulers. In March 2009, Javad Shamaqdari, cultural adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, demanded an apology from a delegation of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences actors and producers visiting Iran for what he characterized as negative and unfair portrayals of the Islamic republic in The Wrestler and other Hollywood films. The Iranian gimmick is a reference to the now legendary rivalry between Hulk Hogan and The Iron Sheik during the mid-1980s.

 

Accolades

 

Award Category Winner/Nominee Won

Academy Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Mickey Rourke No

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Marisa Tomei

BAFTA Film Awards Best Leading Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei No

Boston Society of Film Critics Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Song Bruce Springsteen Yes

Best Picture No

Best Actor Mickey Rourke

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Central Ohio Film Critics Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Chlotrudis Awards Best Actor Mickey Rourke No

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Actor Mickey Rourke 2nd

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei 3rd

David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Film Darren Aronofsky No

Detroit Film Critics Society Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Best Film No

Best Director Darren Aronofsky

ESPY Awards Best Sports Movie Darren Aronofsky No

Florida Film Critics Circle Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Golden Globes Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Original Song - Motion Picture Bruce Springsteen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Marisa Tomei No

Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature Darren Aronofsky

Scott Franklin Yes

Best Male Lead Mickey Rourke

Best Cinematography Maryse Alberti

International Cinephile Society Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei No

Iowa Film Critics Awards Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Best Director Darren Aronofsky Yes

Best Actor Mickey Rourke

Best Original Screenplay Robert D. Siegel

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei No

London Film Critics Circle Film of the Year Yes

Actor of the Year Mickey Rourke

Director of the Year Darren Aronofsky No

MTV Movie Awards Best Song from a Movie Bruce Springsteen No

National Society of Film Critics Best Actor Mickey Rourke 2nd

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Best Original Screenplay Robert D. Siegel

Online Film Critics Society Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Best Picture No

Best Director Darren Aronofsky

Best Original Screenplay Robert D. Siegel

Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Marisa Tomei Yes

Best Original Song Bruce Springsteen

San Diego Film Critics Society Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

San Francisco Film Critics Society Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei

Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama Mickey Rourke No

Best Original Song Bruce Springsteen

Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Mickey Rourke No

Toronto Film Critics Association Best Performance, Male Mickey Rourke Yes

Utah Film Critics Association Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Best Supporting Actress Evan Rachel Wood 2nd

Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Darren Aronofsky Yes

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Actor Mickey Rourke Yes

Writers Guild of America Best Original Screenplay Robert D. Siegel No

 

See also

 

Terry Funk, professional wrestler whose real life shares major traits with the character of "Randy Robinson"

Beyond the Mat, a 1999 documentary featuring Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake Roberts. They deal with and talk about experience with drug addiction, marital infidelity, estranged children, skid-row hardcore matches, blading, "career-ending" injuries, several retirement bouts, etc.

 

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26. The Longest Yard (1974)

 

Longest_yard_1974.jpg

 

(3 of 15 lists - 52 points - highest ranking #6 ZoomSlowik)

 

The Longest Yard is a 1974 American comedy sports-drama film about inmates at a prison who play American football against their guards. Burt Reynolds portrayed Paul "Wrecking" Crewe in the original, and the coach Nate Scarborough in the 2005 remake. The 1974 original was also the basis for the 2001 movie Mean Machine (a shortened version of the title used for the original's UK release), starring Vinnie Jones as Danny Meehan, based on the character of Paul Crewe, and featuring association football instead of American football. Green Bay Packers legend Ray Nitschke appeared in the 1974 version as did the country legend George Jones.

 

The protagonist is Paul "Wrecking" Crewe (Burt Reynolds), former star pro football quarterback living with his wealthy girlfriend (Anitra Ford) in Palm Beach, Florida. After a fight with her, he gets drunk and "steals" her expensive Citroën SM automobile. He is surprised when a fleet of police cars follow him. Briefly evading them, he exits the vehicle and sends it off a dock into the bay. He is caught and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

 

Crewe has difficulty getting along with the guards as well as with his fellow inmates. The convicts despise him because he was dismissed from the National Football League for point shaving. The sadistic, power-hungry warden Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert), a football fanatic who manages a semi-pro team made up of the prison's guards (most of whom are big and fast enough to play professionally), wants Crewe to help coach the team. Responding to pressure from the guards' leader and coach, Captain Wilhelm Knauer (Ed Lauter), Crewe refuses. He is harassed by the guards and given backbreaking work as punishment. Crewe relents and agrees to form a prisoner team to play the guards' team in an exhibition "tune-up" game. Crewe finds that most of the inmates have no football experience, and it seems extremely doubtful that they could seriously take on the guards. Adding to Crewe's problems, the black inmates refuse to play.

 

Crewe eventually builds trust amongst key members of the prison community. Promising them that they can inflict excessive injuries on their opponents, he manages to form a team capable of playing the guards. The team includes the most dangerous and violent prisoners. Among the most impressive are Samson (Richard Kiel), a 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) former professional weightlifter, and Connie Shokner (Robert Tessier), a fearsome serial killer and martial arts expert. With the help of the clever Caretaker (James Hampton), veteran former professional player Nate Scarborough (Michael Conrad), "Granny" Granville (Harry Caesar), long-term prisoner Pop (John Steadman) — who remains in prison far past his original sentence for having struck Warden Hazen when the warden was just a rookie guard — and the warden's amorous secretary (Bernadette Peters), Crewe molds the prisoners into a smoothly working football team named the "Mean Machine".

 

Before the game, an arsonist named Unger (Charles Tyner) schemes to kill Crewe by setting off an incendiary device in his cell. Caretaker is killed in the blaze in Crewe's cell after he goes there to retrieve X-rays for Crewe, who is sitting in Caretaker's cell with Nate.

 

As the game starts, the "Mean Machine" does well, and at halftime the game is close, with the guards leading, 15-13. Cornering Crewe in the locker room, Hazen berates him for trying to win the game and tells Crewe that he has Unger in custody and that he is willing to testify that Crewe was an accessory to Caretaker's murder unless Crewe loses the game to the guards by at least 21 points. Crewe reluctantly and angrily agrees, but obtains a promise from Hazen that if he cooperates, the other prisoners will not be harmed. However, Hazen tells Captain Knauer to order his players to "inflict as much physical punishment on the prisoners as humanly possible" as soon as they are ahead by 21 points. Crewe quickly makes several deliberate mistakes putting the "Mean Machine" down by more than three touchdowns, 35-13, then takes himself out of the game. With the prisoners demoralized, the guards then take out their anger on the prisoners, causing several injuries.

 

At this point, a depressed Crewe asks Pop if it had been worth it — trading the opportunity to punch the warden in exchange for a life sentence he didn't deserve. Pop states that, for himself at least, it was, and Crewe goes back into the game with a renewed sense of purpose. At first, the prisoners are angry with Crewe and provide him with no protection or co-operation, but he convinces them of his change of mind, and with the help of two quick touchdowns followed by a drop kick field goal, gets the "Mean Machine" back into the game, trailing by only five points, 35-30. Nate, despite his bad knee, goes into the game to score one of the touchdowns, and, after doing so, is immediately cut down at the knees by guard Bogdanski (Ray Nitschke), crippling him. However, by this time the prisoners have rallied and their spirit cannot be broken as they have turned the tables on the guards in terms of the violence, including a clothesline from Samson that apparently breaks a guard's neck, while Crewe deliberately and repeatedly throws the ball as hard as possible at Bogdanski's genitals.

 

Driving downfield for the game-winning score, a running play up the middle is stuffed and Crewe calls the team's final timeout with seven seconds remaining in the game and the prisoners with the ball on the guards' one-yard line - the "longest yard" of the title. Crewe walks off the field to the sideline and his teammates begin to follow. Crewe gathers them together for a last moment of reflection and steeling of their resolve. In a long slow-motion sequence, Crewe takes the final snap, dodges several defenders in the backfield and hurdles yet others into the end zone. Scoring the winning touchdown with no time left, the "Mean Machine" wins, 36-35.

 

As the prisoners and the crowd celebrate, Warden Hazen is furious. Crewe walks across the field in what appears to be an attempt to mingle with the crowd and escape. Hazen sees this and orders Knauer to shoot Crewe by yelling "Shoot him! Kill him!". A very tense few moments ensue as Knauer trains his rifle on Crewe and repeately yells, "Crewe! Crewe!" as Crewe continues to walk away. A moment before possibly being shot, Crewe bends over and picks up the game ball and begins to walk back towards Hazen. Realizing that he was ordered to shoot a man who was simply retrieving a ball, Knauer disgustedly looks at the warden and says, "Game ball". Crewe then arrives back to Hazen, hands him the game ball and tells him to "Stick this in your trophy case."

 

Background

 

A number of the actors had previously played professional football. Mike Henry (Rasmussen) played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams. Joe Kapp (Walking Boss) played quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Ray Nitschke (Bogdanski) was a middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, four years after the movie was released, and Pervis Atkins (Mawabe) played for the Los Angeles Rams, the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders. Also appearing as prisoners is Ernie Wheelwright, who played with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, and Ray Ogden, who played with the St. Louis Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. Sonny Sixkiller (who played Indian) was a collegiate star as a quarterback for the University of Washington Huskies from 1970-1972. Burt Reynolds himself had played college football for Florida State University.

 

Awards

 

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) in 1975.

 

Popular culture

 

There is a restaurant and bar in the City of Toronto that is named after the film.

 

In the Adult Swim program Sealab 2021, the new captain Tornado Shanks schedules a football game between Sealab and the prison guards of the Marianas Trench Maximum Security Prison for Criminally Insane Robots; the warden of the prison and coach of the guards is Warden Hazen, a nod to the film.

 

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25. The Mighty Ducks

 

Mightyducksposter.jpg

 

(4 of 15 lists - 52 points - highest ranking #6 farmteam)

 

The Mighty Ducks is the first film in The Mighty Ducks trilogy, produced by Avnet–Kerner Productions and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and originally released on October 2, 1992. In the UK and Australia, the film was titled Champions. UK video/DVD releases are now titled The Mighty Ducks Are the Champions, reflecting both titles.

 

Plot

 

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is a successful Minneapolis defense attorney, whose truculent courtroom antics have earned him no respect among his peers. After being arrested for drunken driving, Bombay is sentenced to community service by coaching the local "District 5" PeeWee hockey team. Bombay has a history with the sport, although his memories are far from pleasant: he blew a penalty shot, costing his team the title and disappointing his hyper-competitive coach, Jack Reilly (Lane Smith). In fact, the movie later shows Reilly with Bombay looking at his string of championship banners and disgustingly saying that the runner-up banner should be taken down.

 

When Bombay meets the team, he realizes the kids have no practice facility, equipment or ability to go with it. The team's first game with Bombay at the helm is against Bombay's old team: the Hawks, the team from the snooty suburb of Edina. Reilly is still head coach and remains bitter about Gordon's shortcoming in that fateful game. District 5 gets pummeled and after Bombay berates the team for not listening to him the players challenge his authority. Meanwhile, Bombay discovers his old mentor and family friend Hans (Joss Ackland) who owns a nearby sporting goods store was in attendance. While visiting him, Bombay recalls that he quit playing hockey after losing his father four months before the championship game. Hans encourages him to rekindle his childhood passion.

 

Bombay approaches his boss, Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer) to sponsor the team, which Ducksworth reluctantly agrees. The result is a complete makeover for the team, both in look (as they can now buy professional equipment) and in skill (as Bombay has more time to teach the kids hockey fundamentals). Now playing as the "Ducks", they fight to a tie in the next game and recruit three new players: figure-skating siblings Tommy (Danny Tamberelli) and Tammy Duncan (Jane Plank) and slap shot specialist and enforcer Fulton Reed (Elden Henson). The potential of Ducks player Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson) catches Bombay's eye and he takes him under his wing.

 

Bombay learns that star player for the Hawks, Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso), actually resides in the Ducks' district boundaries and threatens Reilly into transferring Banks to the Ducks. After hearing an out of context quote about them, the Ducks players lose faith in Bombay and revert to their old habits.

 

Ducksworth makes a deal with Reilly about the Hawks keeping Banks, however Bombay refuses since it would be against fair-play, which Ducksworth berated him about when he started his community service. Left with either the choice of letting his team down or get fired from his job, Bombay takes the latter.

 

Bombay manages to win back the Ducks' trust and Adam Banks proves to be a valuable asset. The Ducks manage to make it to the championship against the Hawks. Despite the Hawks' heavy attacks taking Banks out of the game, the Ducks manage to score a tie and earn a penalty shot in the final seconds of the game. Bombay encourages Charlie to take the shot, reassuring him that even if he fails it will be allright. Charlie manages to score a goal using a technique Gordon taught him.

 

The movie ends with Bombay boarding a bus headed to a minor-league tryout. Although he seems daunted at the prospect of going up against younger players, he receives the same words of encouragement and advice from the Ducks he had given them, promising he will return next season to defend their title.

 

Cast

 

Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay

Joss Ackland as Hans

Lane Smith as Coach Jack Reilly

Heidi Kling as Casey Conway

Josef Sommer as Mr. Gerald Ducksworth

Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway

Elden Henson as Fulton Reed

Shaun Weiss as Greg Goldberg

M.C. Gainey as Lewis

Matt Doherty as Les Averman

Brandon Adams as Jesse Hall

J.D. Daniels as Peter Mark

Aaron Schwartz as Dave Karp

Garette Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine

Marguerite Moreau as Connie Moreau

Danny Tamberelli as Tommy Duncan

Jane Plank as Tammy Duncan

Jussie Smollett as Terry Hall

Vincent A. Larusso as Adam Banks

Michael Ooms as McGill

Casey Garven as Larson

Hal Fort Atkinson III as Phillip Banks

Basil McRae as Himself

Mike Modano as Himself

John Beasley as Mr. Hall

Brock Pierce as Gordon Bombay - 10 years old

Robert Pall as Gordon's Father

John Paul Gamoke as Mr. Tolbert

Steven Brill as Frank Huddy

 

Reception

 

While reviews from critics were very mixed, the film became a surprising success.

 

It grossed $50,752,337 in the U.S. alone (not counting inflation). The film's success inspired two sequels, an animated TV series, and an NHL team was named after the first film. While both sequels box-office totals didn't match the first movie, they were still financially successful.

 

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24. Little Giants

 

Little Giants

 

 

(4 of 15 lists - 54 points - highest ranking #8 dasox24)

 

Little Giants is a 1994 family comedy film, starring Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill as brothers in a small Ohio town, coaching rival Pee-Wee Football teams.

 

Danny O'Shea (Rick Moranis) has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Kevin (Ed O'Neill), an Irish American Heisman Trophy winner and a local football hero. The brothers live in their hometown of Urbania, Ohio and Kevin coaches the local "Pee-Wee Cowboys" football team. Despite being the best player, Danny's tomboy daughter Becky (Shawna Waldron), nicknamed Icebox, is cut during try outs because she is a girl. After being ridiculed by the other players who made the team, she convinces her dad to coach a new pee-wee team named "The Little Giants".

 

At first Danny is reluctant to do so, but later accepts in an attempt to show Urbania that Kevin is not invincible, and that there is another O'Shea in town capable of winning. Kevin mockingly reminds him of the "one town, one team" rule and with the help of the locals, they decide to have a playoff game to determine the lone team that will represent Urbania. Among Becky and the other children that did not make Kevin's team, Danny also gathers other children that have never been given a chance. One such player is Junior Floyd (Devon Sawa), a strong armed quarterback and son to Danny's childhood sweetheart, Patty Floyd (Susanna Thompson). Becky slowly develops a crush on him and struggles with her new found feelings as a girl.

 

Local townsfolk fan the flames of the rivalry between the brothers by reporting to both Danny and Kevin that a new star player, Spike Hammersmith (Sam Horrigan), has just moved to Urbania. Danny succeeds at recruiting him by tricking his overzealous father, Mike (Brian Haley), that he is the famous "Coach O'Shea", but this is a problem as Spike proves to be rude, arrogant, and refuses to play on a team with a girl. The deception is later discovered and he switches over to Kevin's more well-structured Cowboys. Kevin also encourages his own daughter, Debbie (Courtney Peldon), to be a cheerleader and later convinces Becky that a quarterback will want to date a girl, not a teammate. Realizing it is her best chance to win over Junior, she decides to quit the team and pursue cheerleading.

 

Just as Danny's "Little Giants" start to lose hope, a bus arrives carrying John Madden, Emmitt Smith, Bruce Smith, Tim Brown, and Steve Emtman. The NFL stars teach and inspire the young players into believing they can win.

 

On the day of the game, Kevin chastises Danny into making an impulsive bet. If Danny wins, he gets Kevin's Chevrolet dealership; if Kevin wins, he gets Danny's gas station. Facing a 21-point halftime deficit, the Giants are lifted when Danny asks them to individually recall a time when they had a proud accomplishment and reassures them that all it takes is "one time" to beat the Cowboys. With this, the Giants begin to make a big comeback with a series of outstanding and unexpected plays. Realizing that Junior is the main threat to them, Spike, under orders from Mike, injures him by spearing him with his helmet after the whistle, which even Kevin considers disgraceful, unsportsmanlike conduct. Witnessing from the sidelines, an enraged Becky does the right thing, drops her pompoms and suits up for the game. She immediately makes an impact when she forces a fumble after a jarring hit on Spike. Other Giants make touchdowns in tandem with overcoming personal problems, such as one player overcoming his fear of dropping passes and making a completion, or another one running towards the goal line when his little-seen dad has come to watch him play. In the game's closing seconds with the score tied at 21 all, the Giants make a goal line stand on 4th down and stop Spike. With time remaining for one final play, their offense step back onto the field and use a trick play Nubie calls "The Annexation of Puerto Rico". Kevin shouts out the actual name of the play as it occurs, shouting "Fumblerooski, Fumblerooski!" The play takes up all 99 yards using three different ball carriers towards a Giants touchdown.

 

Afterwards, Danny says that rather than have the Giants solely represent Urbania, he will merge the Cowboys into them and that both he and Kevin can coach the team. He and Patty rekindle their childhood romance and he agrees not to hold Kevin to the pre-game bet on the condition that the Urbania water tower be changed from "Home of Kevin O'Shea" to "Home of The O'Shea Brothers", reflecting a much earlier promise of Kevin to Danny from their childhood that one day both their names would be on it.

 

Cast

 

Rick Moranis as Danny O'Shea

Ed O'Neill as Kevin O'Shea

Shawna Waldron as Becky "Icebox" O'Shea

Susanna Thompson as Patty Floyd

Devon Sawa as Junior Floyd

Brian Haley as Mike Hammersmith

Sam Horrigan as Spike Hammersmith

Frank Carl Fisher Jr. as Patterson

Mary Ellen Trainor as Karen O'Shea

Courtney Peldon as Debbie O'Shea

Alexa Vega as Priscilla O'Shea

Todd Bosley as Jake Berman

Matthew McCurley as Nubie

Joey Simmirin as Sean Murphy

Jon Paul Steuer as Johnny Vennaro

Troy Simmons as Hanon

Marcus Toji as Marcus

 

Cameos

 

John Madden: Former NFL Coach for the Oakland Raiders and former commentator for NBC Sunday Night Football. Madden is also well known for his popular football video game franchise entitled John Madden Football. A Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Emmitt Smith: Former NFL running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. The all time leading rusher in NFL history, and also scored over 100 touchdowns. A Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Bruce Smith: Former NFL defensive end for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. The all-time leading sacker with 200 quarterback sacks. A Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Tim Brown: Former NFL wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steve Emtman: Former NFL defensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins.

 

Box office

 

The film had a low budget, and was able to recoup with $20 million earned in box office sales.

 

Real life inspiration

 

On September 18, 2010, in an overtime victory, the Michigan State University Spartans defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in football 34-31 by using a trick play that was inspired by the movie Little Giants. Instead of attempting a 46-yard field goal to send the game into a second overtime, Michigan State scored a touchdown on a fake field goal pass from holder Aaron Bates to tight end Charlie Gantt, and the Spartans stunned Notre Dame before a sellout crowd of 78,411 fans at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.

 

During the on the field post game interview on national television with the ABC/ESPN network, Michigan State Coach, Mark Dantonio said “By the way, that play is called ‘Little Giants’.” Aaron Bates who threw the winning pass said, "We knew Notre Dame wasn’t expecting it. That was the last thing anyone was expecting. Coach D likes 'Little Giants.' I think that’s the only movie he has ever watched."

 

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23. Friday Night Lights

 

Friday_night_lights_ver2.jpg

 

(3 of 15 lists - 64 points - highest ranking #1 BigSqwert)

 

Friday Night Lights is a 2004 drama film which documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is obsessed with them. The book on which it was based, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, was authored by H. G. Bissinger and follows the story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they made a run towards the state championship. A television series of the same name premiered on October 3, 2006 on NBC. This movie ranked number 37 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the Best High School Movies.

 

Plot

 

Bissinger followed the team for the entire 1988 season, which culminated in a loss in the State finals against Carter High School from Dallas, who eventually went on to win the championship game but would have their title stripped for playing an ineligible player. However, the book also deals with — or alludes to — a number of secondary political and social issues existing in Odessa, all of which share ties to the Permian Panthers football team. These include socioeconomic disparity; racism; segregation (and desegregation); and poverty.

 

The coach, Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), is constantly in the hot seat. Tied to the successes and failure of the coach and the team in general are the conflicts the players struggle with on and off the gridiron. The coach overuses his star player and running back James "Boobie" Miles (Derek Luke) who gets seriously injured (Miles tore his ACL, missed the playoffs, and had a limp for the rest of his life). When this happens, sports radios are flooded with calls for his resignation. Miles' once-arrogant attitude vanishes as he sees his once promising chance of playing big-time college football disappear and starts to question his future after he notices his not-so promising academic standing. Quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black) struggles with being able to play consistently. Fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) has a rocky relationship with his father (Tim McGraw), who won a state championship at Permian and carries on a feud with his son for not performing on the level he'd like to see, despite the fact that Don doesn't do anything to light his father's temper. Third-string running back Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young), who takes the spot of Miles after his injury, attempts to get rid of his fear of being hit and getting injured, especially when the player who last occupied his spot suffered a season ending injury. His obsession with fame and recognition also comes at a high price that he is at first not ready to play. Safety Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) is easily the smartest player on the team, and the most confident in his future after high school football. One of the themes of the movie depicts the coach as a father-type figure for the players.

 

Coach Gaines triumphs and struggles with winning football games and connecting with his players a number of times during their tremulous season. His job depends on the Panthers making the playoffs, and his team is in a three-way tie with two other teams at the end of the regular season. Under Texas rules for ties, the tiebreaker is a coin-toss. Permian gets a spot. They make it to the finals, where they narrowly lose against a powerhouse Dallas high school team. The movie ends with the coach removing the departing seniors from the depth chart on his wall. Notably, the depth chart has "Case" at quarterback. This refers to Permian's real-life backup quarterback in 1988, Stoney Case, who would go on to lead Permian, along with Chris Comer, to the 5A state title the following year, and still later made it to the NFL. The final scene consists of Winchell throwing a football to a bunch of pee-wees playing pick-up football before leaving with Billingsley and Chavez.

 

Cast

 

Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gary Gaines

Lucas Black as Mike Winchell

Garrett Hedlund as Don Billingsley

Derek Luke as James "Boobie" Miles

Jay Hernandez as Brian Chavez

Lee Jackson III as Ivory Christian

Lee Thompson Young as Chris Comer

Tim McGraw as Charles Billingsley

Connie Britton as Sharon Gaines

Amber Heard as Maria

Julius Tennon as Coach Freddie James

 

Differences between the movie and actual events

 

Regular season

 

The film shows Boobie Miles injuring his knee against the Marshall Bulldogs in the first game of the regular season. However, his knee was injured in a pre-season scrimmage against the Palo Duro Dons in Amarillo.

In the movie, the top-ranked Permian Panthers defeated the hapless Marshall Bulldogs in a non-district game, the game is the season opener, and played on a Friday night in Odessa. In real life, the third-ranked Marshall Mavericks (whose colors are red and white, not purple and gold) defeated fourth-ranked Permian 13–12, and was Permian's second game of the season, and played at Maverick Stadium in Marshall on a Saturday afternoon..

 

The playoffs

 

In the movie, the three-way tie for the district lead was between Permian, Midland Lee, and Abilene Cooper. In reality, however, Midland High was in Cooper's position but did not make the playoffs just like Cooper.

Permian's first opponent in the playoffs was Amarillo Tascosa (31–7) and not Dallas Jesuit as in the movie. In fact, in 1988 Texas public schools (such as Permian, Carter, and Amarillo High) and private schools (such as Jesuit) competed in separate leagues with separate playoffs. Jesuit was not allowed to join the previously all-public school University Interscholastic League until 2003, starting football competition in 2004. Permian did play Dallas Jesuit in Odessa during the regular season in 1988, winning 48–2. Following the postseason victory over Tascosa, Permian defeated El Paso Andress 41-13, Irving Nimitz 48-7 and Arlington Lamar 21-7 before losing 14-9 to Dallas Carter in the semifinals at University of Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. Converse Judson High School was the team that played Dallas Carter in 1988 for the 5A state championship, Judson lost to Carter but was later awarded the state title due to Carter having ineligible players.

 

Cameo roles

 

Chicago Bears wide receiver Roy Williams (a Permian alumnus) has a cameo in the movie, ironically, as an assistant coach for Midland Lee (Permian's arch-rival).

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Ty Law plays a wide receiver for Dallas Carter, the team Permian plays in the movie's state championship game (as noted earlier, the real Permian-Carter game was a semifinal). He wears jersey #2, his last name is Graf, and he eventually catches a one-handed touchdown pass.

The real James "Boobie" Miles plays a Permian assistant coach in the film. Although he has no lines, he is seen several times. In the locker room scene at halftime of the state championship game, he is seen standing next to the fictional "Boobie" Miles as Coach Gaines gives his speech.

 

Soundtrack

 

Main article: Friday Night Lights (soundtrack)

 

The soundtrack for the film predominantly features post-rock band Explosions in the Sky. Music by Daniel Lanois and rock band Bad Company are also included. Other songs in the film are "Just Got Paid" by ZZ Top, during the montage of the Panthers' road to the finals; the pump up song that is featured as the team runs through the tunnel in the game against Dallas Carter is "New Noise" by the seminal Swedish punk band Refused. Also, during the start of the third quarter during the Championship game, the song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by The Stooges is used.

 

Critical reception

 

Reviews of the film were highly positive. The film received an 82% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 164 reviews, and a score of 70/100 on Metacritic, based on 35 reviews.

 

While the residents of Odessa held a negative reception of the book, the residents anticipated the release of the film.

 

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22. Kingpin

 

Kingpinposter.jpg

 

(5 of 15 lists - 70 points - highest ranking #5 pittshoganerkoff)

 

Kingpin is a 1996 slapstick comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers and starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, and Bill Murray. It was filmed in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a stand-in for Scranton, Amish country and even Reno, Nevada.

 

Plot

 

Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) is a bowling prodigy who wins the 1979 Iowa state amateur championship and plans to leave his tiny (fictional) hometown of Ocelot, Iowa to go on the Professional Bowlers Tour. He wins his first tournament, defeating an established pro named Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray). Soon after, McCracken convinces Munson to help him con some bowlers. The con goes badly, and the bowlers they swindle cut off Munson's hand in revenge.

 

In present day, a down-and-out Munson sports a prosthetic hook covered with a fake rubber hand and sells bowling alley supplies for a living, with little success. Roy resides in a seedy apartment building in Scranton, Pennsylvania where an unpleasant landlady (Lin Shaye) is constantly after him to pay overdue rent. On a sales call, Munson catches sight of an Amish man, Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid), rolling a respectable game. Munson tries to convince Ishmael to turn pro, with him acting as manager. Ishmael declines the offer as he has little interest in worldly affairs – bowling is his only vice. After having unwanted sex with his repulsive landlady in lieu of rent, Roy sees a headline on a bowling magazine advertising a $1,000,000 winner-take-all tournament in Reno, Nevada. Posing as an Amish man, Roy visits the Boorg family home to try and convince Ishmael to enter the tournament. Ishmael reluctantly agrees when he receives news that the Amish community will lose their land unless a $500,000 payment can be raised. Roy discovers that Ishmael isn't as skilled as he first thought, as Ishmael's self-proclaimed 270 average is based on a 15-frame game, instead of the standard 10 frames – based on the notion that the Amish are obligated by tradition to do everything "half-again" as much as everyone else. A disgruntled Roy decides to take Ishmael home, but Ishmael convinces Roy to give him another chance and take him to Reno. Roy reluctantly agrees and after some coaching along the way Ishmael's game steadily improves.

 

During the road trip, Roy introduces Ishmael to worldly vices. The pair wind up at a mansion owned by a hoodlum named Stanley whom they plan to hustle. When Stanley discovers their ploy, he threatens them with violence, but his girlfriend Claudia (Vanessa Angel), tired of Stanley's abuse, helps the pair escape and they all continue on the road to Reno. When Claudia disapproves of Roy's exploitation of Ishmael, Roy tries to abandon her but she thwarts his plan and they begin to fight, at which point Ishmael abandons them both. As they search for him, they make a stop in Ocelot, and Claudia's attitude towards Roy softens when she learns that he was too ashamed of his failure to return home even for his father's funeral. They finally reunite with Ishmael and make their way to Reno. At a Reno hotel, Roy runs into McCracken, who is now a bowling celebrity entered in the $1,000,000 tournament. McCracken insults Roy, and infuriates Ishmael to the point where he takes a swing at him. McCracken ducks and Ishmael hits a wall and breaks his hand, leaving him unable to bowl. To make matters worse, Stanley tracks Claudia to Reno, steals the trio's bankroll and forces Claudia to leave with him. Hurt and confused by Claudia's apparent abandonment, Ishmael tries to convince Roy that they still have a chance to win the $1,000,000 – if Roy will bowl. Roy finally agrees and enters the tournament, rolling the ball with his prosthetic rubber hand. Despite all odds, Roy has a Cinderella run through the tournament, defeating both pro bowlers Mark Roth and Randy Pedersen on his way to face McCracken in the final. The two competitors are evenly matched heading into the final frame, until Ishmael's brother arrives and orders Ishmael to return home with him immediately. Distracted by his friend's sudden absence, Roy rolls the most difficult of splits (7-10 split) but is miraculously able to convert it, thereby forcing McCracken to roll three strikes to beat him. McCracken ultimately does so, and wins the tournament.

 

Roy returns to his seedy apartment where he is surprised by an unexpected visitor at his door. Claudia has returned with the bankroll she had taken from Stanley, now doubled since Stanley bet against Roy in the final. She proposes the cash be split three-ways between Roy, Ishmael and herself, but instead Roy produces a $500,000 check he has received from Trojan condoms for an endorsement deal – thanks to his fake hand which earned him the nickname "Rubber Man" during the ESPN-televised tournament. Roy pointedly states that the money is going to be split "one-way". The story ends with Roy sitting together with Claudia in the Boorg household after giving the $500,000 to the Amish so their community can be saved. Roy has also covered for Ishmael's indiscretions on the road and portrays him as a hero to his family. As the credits roll, Roy and Claudia happily drive away together.

 

Cast

 

Woody Harrelson (Will Rothhaar, young) as Roy Munson

Randy Quaid as Ishmael

Vanessa Angel as Claudia

Bill Murray as Ernie McCracken

Chris Elliott as The Gambler

William Jordan as Mr. Boorg

Richard Tyson as Stiffy's owner

Lin Shaye as Landlady

Zen Gesner as Thomas

Prudence Wright Holmes as Mrs. Boorg

Steve Tyler as Gas Station Attendant

Rob Moran as Stanley Osmanski

Danny Greene as Calvert Munson

Willie Garson as Purse snatcher

 

Reception

 

The film received mixed to moderately positive reviews from critics; Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 51% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8 out of 10.

 

Roger Ebert had one of the more noteworthy positive reviews, giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars. Gene Siskel enthusiastically endorsed the film, putting it on his list of the ten best films of the year.

 

The film is ranked #67 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".

 

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21. The Hustler

 

Original_movie_poster_for_the_film_The_H

 

(5 of 15 lists - 86 points - highest ranking #4 ZoomSlowik)

 

The Hustler is a 1961 American drama film directed by Robert Rossen from the 1959 novel of the same name he and Sidney Carroll adapted for the screen. It tells the story of small-time pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson and his desire to prove himself the best player in the country by beating legendary pool player "Minnesota Fats." After initially losing to Fats and getting involved with unscrupulous manager Bert Gordon, Eddie returns to beat Fats, but only after paying a terrible personal price.

 

The film was shot on location in New York City. It stars Paul Newman as Eddie Felson, Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, Piper Laurie as Sarah, and George C. Scott as Bert.

 

The Hustler was a major critical and popular success, gaining a reputation as a modern classic. Its exploration of winning, losing, and character garnered a number of major awards; it is also credited with helping to spark a resurgence in the popularity of pool. A real pool hustler was inspired to adopt the name of Gleason's character, Minnesota Fats, and to use the association with the film in his search for celebrity.

 

Plot

 

Small-time pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson travels cross-country with his partner Charlie to challenge the legendary player "Minnesota Fats". Arriving at Ames, Fats's home pool hall, Eddie declares he will win $10,000 that night. Fats arrives and he and Eddie agree to play for $200 a game. After initially falling behind, Eddie surges back to being $1,000 ahead and suggests raising the bet to $1,000 a game; Fats agrees. He sends out a runner, Preacher, to Johnny's Bar, ostensibly for a bottle of whiskey, but really to get professional gambler Bert Gordon to the hall. Eddie gets ahead $11,000 and Charlie tries to convince him to quit, but Eddie insists the game will end only when Fats says it is over. Fats agrees to continue after Bert labels Eddie a "loser." After 25 hours and an entire bottle of bourbon, Eddie is ahead over $18,000, but loses it all along with all but $200 of his original stake. At their hotel later, Eddie leaves half of the remaining stake with a sleeping Charlie and leaves.

 

Eddie stashes his belongings at the local bus terminal, where he meets Sarah Packard, an alcoholic "college girl" who walks with a limp. He meets her again at a bar. They go back to her place but she refuses to let him in, saying he is "too hungry." Eddie moves into a rooming house and starts hustling for small stakes. He finds Sarah again and this time she takes him in, but with reservations. Charlie finds Eddie at Sarah's and tries to persuade him to go back out on the road. Eddie refuses and Charlie figures out he plans to challenge Fats again. Eddie realizes that Charlie held out his percentage and becomes enraged, believing that with that money he could have rebounded to beat Fats. Eddie dismisses Charlie as a scared old man and tells him to "go lie down and die" by himself.

 

At Johnny's Bar, Eddie finds a poker game where Bert is sitting and Eddie loses $20. After the game, Bert tells Eddie that he has talent as a pool player but no character. He figures that Eddie will need at least $3,000 to challenge Fats again. Bert calls him a "born loser" but nevertheless offers to stake him in return for 75% of his winnings but Eddie refuses.

 

Eddie hustles a local pool shark, who breaks Eddie's thumbs. Sarah cares for him and tells him she loves him, but he cannot say the words in return. When his thumbs heal, Eddie agrees to Bert's terms, deciding that a "twenty-five percent slice of something big is better than a hundred percent slice of nothing."

 

Bert, Eddie and Sarah travel to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, where Bert arranges a match for Eddie against a wealthy local socialite named Findley. The game turns out to be billiards, not pool. Eddie loses badly and Bert refuses to keep staking him. Sarah pleads with Eddie to leave with her, saying that the world he is living in and its inhabitants are "perverted, twisted and crippled"; he refuses. Seeing Eddie's anger, Bert agrees to let the match continue at $1,000 a game. Eddie comes back to win $12,000. He collects his $3,000 share and decides to walk back to the hotel. Bert arrives first and subjects Sarah to a humiliating sexual encounter. After, she scrawls "PERVERTED", "TWISTED", and "CRIPPLED" in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. Eddie arrives back at the hotel to learn that she has killed herself.

 

Eddie returns to challenge Fats again, putting up his entire $3,000 stake on a single game. After declaring he now has character, Eddie wins game after game, beating Fats so badly that Fats is forced to quit. Bert demands a share of Eddie's winnings and threatens Eddie over the issue, but Eddie, invoking the memory of Sarah, shames Bert into giving up his claim. Eddie asserts Bert is ultimately the loser for having no love other than money. Bert warns Eddie never to walk into a big-time pool hall again.

 

Cast

 

Paul Newman as Eddie Felson

Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats

Piper Laurie as Sarah Packard

George C. Scott as Bert Gordon

Myron McCormick as Charlie

Murray Hamilton as Findley

Stefan Gierasch as Preacher

 

Pool champion Willie Mosconi has a cameo appearance as Willie, who holds the stakes for Eddie and Fats's games. Boxing champion Jake LaMotta also has a cameo as a bartender.

 

Production

 

The Tevis novel had been optioned several times, including by Frank Sinatra, but attempts to adapt it for the screen were unsuccessful. Director Rossen's daughter Carol Rossen speculates that previous adaptations focused too much on the pool aspects of the story and not enough on the human interaction. Rossen, who had hustled pool himself as a youth and who had made an abortive attempt to write a pool-themed play called Corner Pocket, optioned the book and teamed with Sidney Carroll to produce the script.

 

According to Bobby Darin's agent, Martin Baum, Paul Newman's agent turned down the part of Fast Eddie. Newman was originally unavailable to play Fast Eddie regardless, being committed to star opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film Two for the Seesaw. Rossen offered Darin the part after seeing him on The Mike Wallace Interview. When Taylor was forced to drop out of Seesaw because of shooting overruns on Cleopatra, Newman was freed up to take the role, which he accepted after reading just half of the script. No one associated with the production officially notified Darin or his representatives that he had been replaced; they found out from a member of the public at a charity horse race.

 

Rossen filmed The Hustler over six weeks, entirely in New York City. Much of the action was filmed at two now-defunct pool halls, McGirr's and Ames Billiard Academy. Other shooting locations included a townhouse on East 82nd Street, which served as the Louisville home of Murray Hamilton's character Findley, and the Manhattan Greyhound bus terminal. The film crew built a dining area that was so realistic that confused passengers sat there and waited to place their orders. Willie Mosconi served as technical advisor on the film and shot a number of the trick shots in place of the actors (except for Gleason whose shots were his own and filmed in wide-angle to show the actor and the shot in the same frames). Rossen, in pursuit of the style he termed "neo-neo-realistic", hired actual street thugs, enrolled them in the Screen Actors Guild and used them as extras. Scenes that were included in the shooting script but did not make it into the final film include a scene at Ames pool hall establishing that Eddie is on his way to town (originally slated to be the first scene of the film) and a longer scene of Preacher talking to Bert at Johnny's Bar which establishes Preacher is a junkie.

 

Early shooting put more focus on the pool playing, but during filming Rossen made the decision to place more emphasis on the love story between Newman and Laurie's characters. Despite the change in emphasis, Rossen still used the various pool games to show the strengthening of Eddie's character and the evolution of his relationship to Bert and Sarah, through the positioning of the characters in the frame. For example, when Eddie is playing Findley, Eddie is positioned below Bert in a two shot but above Findley while still below Bert in a three shot. When Sarah enters the room, she is below Eddie in two shot while in a three shot Eddie is still below Bert. When Eddie is kneeling over Sarah's body, Bert again appears above him but Eddie attacks Bert, ending up on top of him. Eddie finally appears above Bert in two shot when Eddie returns to beat Fats.

 

Themes

 

The Hustler is fundamentally a story of what it means to be a human being, couched within the context of winning and losing. Describing the film, Robert Rossen said: "My protagonist, Fast Eddie, wants to become a great pool player, but the film is really about the obstacles he encounters in attempting to fulfill himself as a human being. He attains self-awareness only after a terrible personal tragedy which he has caused — and then he wins his pool game." Roger Ebert concurs with this assessment, citing The Hustler as "one of the few American movies in which the hero wins by surrendering, by accepting reality instead of his dreams."

 

Film and theatre historian Ethan Mordden has identified The Hustler as one of a handful of films from the early 1960s that re-defined the relationship of films to their audiences. This new relationship, he writes, is "one of challenge rather than flattery, of doubt rather than certainty." No film of the 1950s, Mordden asserts, "took such a brutal, clear look at the ego-affirmation of the one-on-one contest, at the inhumanity of the winner or the castrated vulnerability of the loser." Although some have suggested the resemblance of this film to classic film noir, Mordden rejects the comparison based on Rossen's ultra-realistic style, also noting that the film lacks noir's "Treacherous Woman or its relish in discovering crime among the bourgeoisie, hungry bank clerks and lusty wives." Mordden does note that while Fast Eddie "has a slight fifties ring", the character "makes a decisive break with the extraordinarily feeling tough guys of the 'rebel' era ... ut he does end up seeking out his emotions" and telling Bert that he is a loser because he's dead inside.

 

Reception

 

Critical

 

The Hustler had its world premiere in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 1961. Prior to the premiere, Richard Burton hosted a midnight screening of the film for the casts of the season's Broadway shows, which generated a great deal of positive word of mouth. Initially reluctant to publicize the film, 20th Century Fox responded by stepping up its promotional activities.

 

The film was well-received by critics, although with the occasional caveat. Variety praised the performances of the entire main cast but felt that the "sordid aspects" of the story prevented the film from achieving the "goal of being pure entertainment." Variety also felt the film was far too long. Stanley Kauffmann, writing for The New Republic, concurred in part with this assessment. Kauffmann strongly praised the principal cast, calling Newman "first-rate" and writing that Scott's was "his most credible performance to date." Laurie, he writes, gives her part "movingly anguished touches" (although he also mildly criticizes her for over-reliance on Method acting). While he found that the script "strains hard to give an air of menace and criminality to the pool hall" and also declares it "full of pseudo-meaning", Kauffmann lauds Rossen's "sure, economical" direction, especially in regard to Gleason who, he says, does not so much act as "[pose] for a number of pictures which are well arranged by Rossen. It is the best use of a manikin by a director since Kazan photographed Burl Ives as Big Daddy." The New York Times, despite finding that the film "strays a bit" and that the romance between Newman and Laurie's characters "seems a mite far-fetched", nonetheless found that The Hustler "speaks powerfully in a universal language that spellbinds and reveals bitter truths."

 

Awards

 

The Hustler received nine Academy Award nominations. The film won two, for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Harry Horner and Gene Callahan) and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Eugen Schüfftan). The film was also nominated for Best Picture and Newman was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Gleason and Scott were both nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role; Scott refused the nomination. Laurie was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Rossen received nominations for Best Director and, with Carroll, for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

 

Newman was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Gleason and Scott were each nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Scott was also nominated as Best New Star of the Year. At the 1962 BAFTA Awards, The Hustler tied with the Soviet film Ballad of a Soldier for Best Film from Any Source. Newman won for Best Foreign Actor and Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Foreign Actress. Gleason was honored as Best Supporting Actor by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the film was named among the Board's ten best films of 1961. Rossen was named Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and Rossen and Carroll shared the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Drama.

 

Legacy

 

In the decades since its release, The Hustler has cemented its reputation as a classic. Roger Ebert, echoing earlier praise for the performances, direction, and cinematography and adding laurels for editor Dede Allen, cites the film as "one of those films where scenes have such psychic weight that they grow in our memories." He further cites Fast Eddie Felson as one of "only a handful of movie characters so real that the audience refers to them as touchstones." TV Guide calls the film a "dark stunner" offering "a grim world whose only bright spot is the top of the pool table, yet [with] characters [who] maintain a shabby nobility and grace." The four leads are again lavishly praised for their performances and the film is summed up as "not to be missed."

 

Paul Newman reprised his role as Fast Eddie Felson in the 1986 film The Color of Money, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. A number of observers and critics have suggested that this Oscar was in belated recognition for his performance in The Hustler. In 1997, the Library of Congress selected The Hustler for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Carroll and Rossen's screenplay was selected by the Writers Guild of America in 2006 as the 96th best motion picture screenplay of all time. In June 2008, AFI released its "Ten top Ten"the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genresafter polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Hustler was acknowledged as the sixth best film in the sports genre.

 

The Hustler is credited with sparking a resurgence in the popularity of pool in the United States, which had been on the decline for decades. The film also brought recognition to Willie Mosconi, who, despite having won multiple world championships, was virtually unknown to the general public. Perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the film's popularity was a real-life pool hustler named Rudolf Wanderone. Mosconi claimed in an interview at the time of the film's release that the character of Minnesota Fats was based on Wanderone, who at the time was known as "New York Fatty". Wanderone immediately adopted the Minnesota Fats nickname and parlayed his association with the film into book and television deals and other ventures. Author Walter Tevis denied for the rest of his life that Wanderone had played any role in the creation of the character. Other players would claim, with greater or lesser degrees of credibility, to have served as models for Fast Eddie, including Ronnie Allen, Ed Taylor, Ed Parker, and Eddie Pelkey.

 

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20. Miracle

 

Miracle_film.jpg

 

(7 of 15 lists - 86 points - highest ranking #6 dasox24)

 

Miracle is a 2004 American biographical sports film about the United States men's hockey team, led by head coach Herb Brooks, that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The USA team's victory over the heavily favored Soviet team in the medal round was dubbed the Miracle on Ice. Miracle was directed by Gavin O'Connor and written by Eric Guggenheim.

 

Plot summary

 

The movie chronicles the journey of the 1980 US Olympic Mens ice hockey team. Then University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) interviews with the United States Olympic Committee, discussing his philosophy on how to beat the Soviet team, calling for changes to the practice schedule and strategy. Brooks meets his assistant coach Craig Patrick at the tryouts in Colorado Springs. However, Brooks selects a preliminary roster of 26—later to be cut to a final roster of 20—indifferent of the tryouts and the preferences of senior USOC hockey officials. He convinces Walter Bush (Sean McCann), the executive director of the committee, that he has their best interests at heart. Bush agrees to take the heat from the committee, saying, "I'll back you up on this one."

 

During the initial practice, tempers flare as forward Rob McClanahan and defenseman Jack O'Callahan get into a fight based on an old college rivalry. Brooks bluntly tells the players that they are to let go of old rivalries and start becoming a team. He then calls for introductions, in which each player states his name, his hometown, and for whom he plays.

 

The coach starts the team on an exhausting conditioning drill (which became known as "Herbies"), in which the team sprints together back and forth across the ice, over and over.

 

During an exhibition game against the Norwegian National Team in Oslo that ends in a 3–3 tie, Brooks notices the players are distracted by pretty girls in the stands and not playing up to their potential. After the game, in a wrenching scene, he makes them run "Herbies" far into the night, asking the team who it was that they played for. Finally exhausted, forward Mike Eruzione responds with the answer that Herb had wanted all along, "I play for the United States of America!" and the drill is over.

 

The team plays the Soviets in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The Russians manhandle the young American team, winning by a score of 10-3. During the game, O'Callahan receives an injury that could keep him out of the entire Olympics, and starting goaltender Jim Craig is told he may be benched in favor of back-up goalie Steve Janaszak. Craig ends up retaining his starting job when the coach brings him to realize that he hasn't been giving his very best.

 

As the Olympic tournament begins, the Americans trail Sweden 2-1 in the first game. Brooks fires up the team during the break by slamming a table out of his way and accusing injured McClanahan of quitting (Doc had said his injury wouldn't get worse if he played on it.) McClanahan ends up playing despite his pain, and the inspired American team came through as Bill Baker scores a goal in the final minute for a dramatic 2-2 tie. They follow that up with a 7-3 win over heavily favored Czechoslovakia, then victories over Norway, Romania and West Germany to earn a spot in the medal round.

 

The Americans are considered overwhelming underdogs to the Soviets in the first medal round game. The game begins and following a slash which doesn't get called a penalty, the Russians score the first goal. Then O'Callahan, having healed enough from his injury, enters the game for the first time. He makes an immediate impact by knocking down Vladimir Krutov on a play that leads to a goal by Buzz Schneider. Following another Soviet goal the first period winds down. In the final seconds the Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak stops a long shot by Dave Christian, but Mark Johnson gets the rebound and scores with less than one second left in the period - the clock shows 00:00.

 

During the first intermission the Soviet coach replaces Tretiak with backup Vladimir Myshkin. In the second period the Soviets score a goal to go up 3–2. Early in the final period the Soviet team is called for a penalty, giving the Americans a man advantage. Johnson scores his second goal of the game just as the penalty is about to expire. Later Eruzione enters the game and scores to give the US a 4-3 lead. The entire team skates onto the ice as the crowd celebrates.

 

Now, however, the US team goes into a defensive mode, as the Soviet team becomes increasingly aggressive to score in the final ten minutes. After a long, intense and suspenseful 10 minutes, the clock ticked down the final few seconds, in which commentator Al Michaels said his now famous words, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" The Americans held off the Soviets, and completed one of the biggest upsets in sports history. As the team proudly celebrates on the ice with the roaring crowd, an obviously emotional, shaken and proud Herb leaves the rink to a small, quiet room to have a few seconds of quiet with himself, to take in what he and the team had just accomplished.

 

Two days later, the team would then go on to defeat Finland to win the gold medal. The movie ends with Brooks staring out over his team with pride as the entire team crowds together on the gold medal platform.

 

Cast

 

Actor Role

Kurt Russell Herb Brooks

Patricia Clarkson Patti Brooks

Noah Emmerich Craig Patrick

Sean McCann Walter Bush

Kenneth Welsh Doc Nagobads

Eddie Cahill Jim Craig

Patrick O'Brien Demsey Mike Eruzione

Michael Mantenuto Jack O'Callahan

Nathan West Rob McClanahan

Kenneth Mitchell Ralph Cox

Eric Peter-Kaiser Mark Johnson

Bobby Hanson Dave Silk

Joseph Cure Mike Ramsey

Billy Schneider Buzz Schneider

Nate Miller John Harrington

Chris Koch Mark Pavelich

Kris Wilson Phil Verchota

Stephen Kovalcik Dave Christian

Sam Skoryna Steve Janaszak

Pete Duffy Bob Suter

Nick Postle Bill Baker

Casey Burnette Ken Morrow

Scott Johnson Steve Christoff

Trevor Alto Neal Broten

Joe Hemsworth Mark Wells

Robbie MacGregor Eric Strobel

 

Awards

 

Best Sports Movie, ESPY Award (2004)

 

Release

 

The movie grossed $19,377,577 on its opening weekend, February 8, on 2,605 screens. It subsequently closed with a worldwide gross of $64,445,708.

 

Reception

 

The movie received a 68 on Metacritic showing "generally favorable reviews" and an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite a lower rating by critics, the average user score on Metacritic is 8.4 signifying "universal acclaim". Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times stated that the movie "does a yeoman's job of recycling the day-old dough that passes for its story." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times referred to the movie as "a classically well-made studio entertainment that, like The Rookie of a few years back, has the knack of being moving without shamelessly overdoing a sure thing."

 

Miracle is currently standing as the best sports movie of all time in the ongoing poll at Sports In Movies.

 

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19. Raging Bull

 

Raging_Bull_poster.jpg

 

(5 of 15 lists - 90 points - highest ranking #2 PlaySumFnJurny)

 

Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from the Jake La Motta memoir Raging Bull: My Story. It stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite exceeded the boundaries of the prizefight ring, and destroyed his relationship with his wife and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta's well-intentioned brother and manager who tries to help Jake battle his inner demons; and Cathy Moriarty as his abused wife. The film features supporting roles from Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, and Frank Vincent.

 

Scorsese was partially convinced by De Niro to develop the project, though he eventually came to relate to La Motta's story. Schrader re-wrote Martin's first screenplay, and Scorsese and De Niro together made uncredited contributions thereafter. Pesci was an unknown actor prior to the film, as was Moriarty, who was suggested for her role by Pesci. During principal photography, each of the boxing scenes was choreographed for a specific visual style and De Niro gained approximately 60 pounds (27 kg) to portray La Motta in his early post-boxing years. Scorsese was exacting in the process of editing and mixing the film, expecting it to be his last major feature.

 

After receiving mixed initial reviews (and criticism due to its violent content), it went on to garner a high critical reputation and is now widely regarded among the greatest films ever made, including by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, renowned British motion picture historian Leslie Halliwell, the American Film Institute, Time magazine, The New York Times, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Empire magazine, Total Film, Film 4, BFI's Sight and Sound and AMC's FilmSite. It was listed in the National Film Registry in 1990, its first year of eligibility.

 

Plot

 

In 1964, an aging, overweight Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) practices a comedy routine. A flashback to 1941 shows his first loss in a major boxing match, against Jimmy Reeves. Jake's brother Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) later discusses a potential shot for the middleweight title with one of his Mafia connections, Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent). Some time thereafter, Jake spots a 15-year-old girl named Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) at an open-air swimming pool in his Bronx neighborhood. He eventually pursues a relationship with her, even though he is already married. Jake defeats Sugar Ray Robinson once in 1943 and has another win three weeks later. Despite the fact that Jake dominated Robinson during the bout, the judges surprisingly rule in favor of Robinson and Joey feels he won only because he was enlisting into the US Army the following week. Jake is married to Vickie by 1947.

 

As Jake's fears grow about Vickie having feelings for other men, particularly Tony Janiro, the opponent for his forthcoming fight, he shows off his sexual jealousy when he defeats Janiro in front of the local Mob boss, Tommy Como (Nicholas Colasanto) and Vickie. As Joey discusses the victory with journalists at the Copacabana, he is distracted by seeing Vickie approach a table with Salvy and his crew. Joey speaks with Vickie, who says she is giving up on his brother. Blaming Salvy, Joey viciously attacks him in a fight that spills outside of the club. Como later orders them to apologize, and has Joey tell Jake that if he wants a chance at the championship title, which he has control over, he will have to take a dive first. In a match against Billy Fox, Jake does not even bother to put up a fight. He is suspended shortly thereafter from the board on suspicion of throwing the fight, though he realizes the error of his judgment when it is too late. Despite the suspension, he eventually wins the middleweight championship title against Marcel Cerdan in 1949.

 

A year later, Jake asks Joey if he fought with Salvy at the Copacabana because of Vickie. Jake then asks if Joey had an affair with her; Joey refuses to answer, insults Jake, and decides to leave. Jake directly asks Vickie about the affair and she sarcastically states that she had sex with the entire neighborhood (including his brother, Salvy, and Tommy Como) after he breaks down the bathroom door where she briefly hides from him. Jake angrily walks to Joey's house and brutally beats him up in front of Vickie and Joey's wife and children. After defending his championship belt in a brutal fifteen round bout against Laurent Dauthuille in 1950, he makes a call to his brother after the fight, but when Joey assumes Salvy is on the other end and starts insulting and cursing at him, Jake says nothing and hangs up. Estranged from Joey, Jake's career begins to decline slowly and he eventually loses his title to Sugar Ray Robinson in their final encounter in 1951.

 

By 1956, Jake and his family have moved to Miami. After staying out all night at his new nightclub there, Vickie tells him she wants a divorce (which she has been planning since his retirement). He is later arrested for introducing under-age girls (posing as 21-year-olds) to men and serves a jail sentence in 1957 after failing to raise enough bribe money by taking the jewels out of his championship belt instead of selling the belt itself. In his jail cell, Jake pounds the walls, sorrowfully questioning his misfortune and crying in despair. Upon returning to New York City in 1958, he happens upon his estranged brother Joey, who forgives him but is elusive. Going back to the beginning sequence, Jake refers to the "I coulda' have been a contender" scene from the 1954 movie On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando complaining that his brother should have been there for him but is also keen enough to give himself some slack. After a stage hand informs him that the auditorium where he is about to perform is crowded, Jake starts to chant "I'm the boss" while shadowboxing.

 

The film ends with a Biblical quote. This quote was a reference to Martin Scorsese's film professor, Haig Manoogian, to whom the film was dedicated. The man died just before the film was released. Scorsese credits Manoogian with helping him "to see",

 

"So, for the second time, [the Pharisees]

summoned the man who had been blind and said:

 

'Speak the truth before God.

We know this fellow is a sinner.'

 

'Whether or not he is a sinner, I do not know.'

the man replied.

 

'All I know is this:

once I was blind and now I can see.'

 

John IX. 24-26

the New English Bible"

 

Cast

 

Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta

Cathy Moriarty as Vickie Thailer LaMotta

Joe Pesci as Joey LaMotta

Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como

Theresa Saldana as Lenora LaMotta (Joey's wife)

Frank Vincent as Salvy "Batts"

Mario Gallo as Mario

Frank Adonis as Patsy

 

Production

 

Development

 

Raging Bull came about when De Niro read the autobiography upon which the film is based on the set of The Godfather Part II. Although disappointed by the book's writing style, he became fascinated by the character of Jake LaMotta when he showed the book to Martin Scorsese on the set of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore as a means hopefully to consider the project. Scorsese repeatedly turned down his offers by resisting the director's chair, claiming he had no idea what Raging Bull was about, even though he did read some chapters of the text. The book was then passed onto Mardick Martin, the film's eventual co-screenwriter, who said "the trouble is the damn thing has been done a hundred times before — a fighter who has trouble with his brother and his wife and the mob is after him". The book was even shown to producer Irwin Winkler by De Niro, who was willing to assist only if Scorsese agreed. After nearly dying from a drug overdose, Scorsese agreed to make the film for De Niro's sake, not only to save his own life but also to save what remained of his career. Scorsese knew that he could relate to the story of Jake LaMotta as a way to redeem himself; he saw the role being portrayed as an everyman for whom "the ring becomes an allegory of life," making the project a very personal one for him.

 

Preparation for the film began with Scorsese shooting some 8mm color footage featuring De Niro boxing in a ring. One night when the footage was being shown to De Niro, Michael Chapman, and his friend and mentor, the English director Michael Powell, Powell pointed out that color of the gloves at the time would have only been maroon, oxblood, or even black. Scorsese decided to use this as one of the reasons to film Raging Bull in black and white. Other reasons would be to distinguish the film from other color films around the time and to acknowledge the problem of fading color film stock - an issue Scorsese recognized. Scorsese even went to two matches at the Madison Square Garden to aid his research, picking up on minor but essential details such as the blood sponge and latterly, the blood on the ropes (which would later be used in the film).

 

Screenplay

 

Under the guidance of Winkler, Mardik Martin was asked to start writing the screenplay. According to De Niro, under no circumstances would United Artists accept Mardik Martin's script. The story was based on the vision of journalist Peter Hamill of a 1930s and 1940s style, when boxing was known as "the great dark prince of sports". De Niro was unimpressed when he finished reading the first draft, however. Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader was swiftly brought in to re-write the script around August 1978. Some of the changes that Schrader made to the script saw a re-write of the scene with the uncooked steak and inclusion of LaMotta seen masturbating in a Florida cell. The character of LaMotta's brother, Joey, was finally added, previously absent from Martin's script. United Artists saw a massive improvement on the quality of the script. However, its chief executives, Steven Bach and David Field, met up with Scorsese, De Niro, and producer Irwin Winkler in November 1978 to say they were worried that the content would be X-rated material and have no chance of finding an audience.

 

According to Scorsese, the script was left to him and De Niro, and they spent two and a half weeks on the island of Saint Martin, extensively re-building the content of the film. The most significant change would be the entire scene when LaMotta fixes his television and then accuses his wife of having an affair. Other changes included the removal of Jake and Joey's father; the reduction of organized crime's role in the story and a major re-write of LaMotta's fight with Tony Janiro. They were even responsible for the end sequence where LaMotta is all alone in his dressing room quoting the "I could have been a contender" scene from On the Waterfront. An extract of Richard III had been pondered but Michael Powell thought it would be a bad decision within the context of a film that was American. According to Steven Bach, the first two screenwriters (Mardick Martin and Paul Schrader) would receive credit but since there was no payment to the writer's guild on the script, De Niro and Scorsese's work would remain uncredited.

 

Casting

 

One of Scorsese's trademarks was casting many actors and actresses new to the profession, which on this occasion there would be no exception. De Niro, who was already committed to play Jake LaMotta, began to help Scorsese track down unfamiliar names to play his on-screen brother, Joey, and wife, Vickie. The role of Joey LaMotta was the first to be cast. De Niro was watching a low budget television film called The Death Collector when he saw the part of a young career criminal played by Joe Pesci (then an unknown and struggling actor) as an ideal candidate. Prior to receiving a call from De Niro and Scorsese for the proposal to star in the film, Pesci had not worked in film for four years and was running an Italian restaurant in New Jersey. Pesci initially claimed that it would have to be a good role for him to consider it, and he later accepted the part.

 

The role of Vickie LaMotta, Jake's second wife, would have interest across the board, but Pesci who suggested the actress, Cathy Moriarty, from a picture he once saw at a New Jersey disco. Both De Niro and Scorsese believed that Moriarty could portray the role after meeting with her on several occasions and noticing her husky voice and physical maturity. The duo had to prove to the Screen Actors Guild that she was right for the role when Cis Corman showed 10 comparing pictures of both Moriarty and the real Vickie LaMotta for proof she had a resemblance. Moriarty was then asked to take a screen test which she managed—partly aided with some improvised lines from De Niro — after some confusion wondering why the crew were filming her take. Joe Pesci also persuaded his former show-biz pal and co-star in The Death Collector, Frank Vincent to try for the role of Salvy Batts. Following a successful audition and screen test, Vincent received the call to say he had received the part. Charles Scorsese, the director's father, made his film debut as Tommy Como's cousin, Charlie.

 

While in the midst of practicing a Bronx accent and preparing for his role, De Niro met both LaMotta and his ex-wife, Vikki on separate occasions. Vikki, who lived in Florida, would tell stories about her life with her former husband and also show old home movies (that would later inspire a similar sequence to be done for the film). Jake LaMotta, on the other hand, would serve as his trainer accompanied by Al Silvani as coach at the Gramercy club in New York getting him into shape. The actor found that boxing came naturally to him; he entered as a middleweight boxer, winning two of his three fights in a Brooklyn ring dubbed "young LaMotta" by the commentator. According to Jake LaMotta, he felt that De Niro was one of his top 20 best middleweight boxers of all time.

 

Principal photography

 

According to production mixer, Michael Evje, the film began shooting at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium on April 16, 1979. Grips hung huge curtains of black duvetyne on all four sides of the ring area to contain the artificial smoke used extensively for visual effect. On May 7, the production moved to the Culver City Studio, Stage 3, and filmed there until the middle of June. Scorsese made it clear during filming that he did not appreciate the traditional way in films to show fights from the spectators' view. He insisted that one camera operated by the Director of Photography, Michael Chapman would be placed inside the ring as he would play the role of an opponent keeping out of the way of other fighters so that we could see the emotions of the fighters, including those of Jake. The precise moves of the boxers would be done as dance routines from the information of a book about dance instructors in the mode of Arthur Murray. A punching bag which sat in the middle of the ring was used by De Niro between takes before aggressively coming straight on to do the next scene. The initial five-week schedule for the shooting of the boxing scenes took longer than expected, putting Scorsese under pressure.

 

According to Scorsese, production of the film was then closed down for around four months with the entire crew being paid, so De Niro could go on a binge eating trip around Northern Italy and France. When he did come back to the United States, his weight increased from 145 to 215 pounds (66 to 97 kg). The scenes with the heftier Jake LaMotta — which include announcing his retirement from boxing and LaMotta ending up in a Florida cell — were completed while approaching Christmas 1979 within seven to eight weeks so as not to aggravate the health issues which were already affecting De Niro's posture, breathing, and talking.

 

According to production sound mixer, Michael Evje, Jake's nightclub sequence was filmed in a closed-down San Pedro club on December 3. The jail cell head-banging scene was shot on a constructed set with De Niro asking for minimal crew to be present - there wasn't even a boom operator.

 

The final sequence where Jake LaMotta is sitting in front of his mirror was filmed on the last day of shooting taking 19 takes, with only the thirteenth one being used for the film. Scorsese wanted to have an atmosphere that would be so cold that the words would have an impact as he tries to come to terms with his relationship with his brother.

 

Post-production

 

The editing of Raging Bull began when production was temporarily put on hold and was completed in 1980. Scorsese worked with the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, to achieve a final cut of the film. Their main decision was to ditch Schrader's idea of LaMotta's nightclub act intervening with the flashback of his youth and instead just follow along the lines of a single flashback where only scenes of LaMotta practicing his stand-up would be left "bookending" the film. A sound mix arranged by Frank Warner was a delicate process taking six months. According to Scorsese, the sound on Raging Bull was difficult because each punch, camera shot, and flash bulb would be different. Also, there was the issue of trying to balance the quality between scenes featuring dialogue and those involving boxing (which were done in Dolby). Raging Bull went through a test screening in front of a small audience including the chief executives of United Artists, Steven Bach and Andy Albeck. The screening was shown at the MGM screening room in New York around July 1980. Later, Albeck praised Scorsese by calling him a "true artist". According to the producer, Irwin Winkler, matters were made worse when United Artists decided not to distribute the film but no other studios were interested when they attempted to sell the rights. Scorsese made no secret that Raging Bull would be his "Hollywood swan song" and he took unusual care of its rights during post-production. This caused some friction with Irwin Winkler, who accused Scorsese of doing the editing process "inch by inch". Scorsese threatened to remove his credit from the film if he was not allowed to sort a reel which obscured the name of a whisky brand known as "Cutty Sark" which was heard in a scene. The work was completed only four days shy of the premiere.

 

Reception

 

Box office

 

The brew of violence and anger, combined with the lack of a proper advertising campaign, led to the film having a modest box office intake of $23 million. Scorsese became concerned for his future career and worried that producers and studios might refuse to finance his films. According to Box Office Mojo, the film grossed $23,383,987 in domestic theaters.

 

Critical reception

 

Raging Bull first premiered in New York on December 19, 1980 to mixed reviews. Jack Kroll of Newsweek called Raging Bull "the best movie of the year" Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that Scorsese "has made his most ambitious film as well as his finest" and went on to praise Moriarty's debut performance as "either she is one of the film finds of the decade or Mr. Scorsese is Svengali. Perhaps both." Time praised De Niro's performance since "much of Raging Bull exists because of the possibilities it offers De Niro to display his own explosive art". Steven Jenkins from the British Film Institute's (BFI) magazine, Monthly Film Journal said "Raging Bull may prove to be Scorsese's finest achievement to date". Many critics however were repelled by the film's violence and its unsympathetic central character. For example, Kathleen Carroll from The New York Daily News criticized the character of Jake LaMotta as "one of the most repugnant characters in the history of the movies"; she also faulted Scorsese because the movie "totally ignores [LaMotta's] reform school background, offering no explanation to his anti-social behavior".

 

Top ten lists

 

1st - Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

2nd - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

1st - Films101.com: Sticking to the Best Movies

8th - Cahiers du Cinema

Greatest Films of 1980 - American Movie Classics

 

Awards

 

Raging Bull was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Sound (Donald O. Mitchell, Bill Nicholson, David J. Kimball and Les Lazarowitz), and Editing) at the 1980 Academy Awards. The Oscars were held the day after President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr., who did it as an attempt to impress Jodie Foster, who played a child prostitute in another of Scorsese's famous films, Taxi Driver. Out of fear of being attacked, Scorsese went to the ceremony with FBI bodyguards disguised as guests who escorted him out before the announcement of the Academy Award for Best Picture was made - the winner being Ordinary People. Nevertheless, the film managed to pick up two awards for Best Actor (De Niro) and Best Editing (Schoonmaker).

 

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted Raging Bull the best film of 1980 and best actor for De Niro. The National Board of Review also voted best actor for De Niro and best supporting actor to Pesci. The Golden Globes awarded another best actor award for De Niro and National Society of Film Critics gave best cinematography to Chapman. The Berlin Film Festival chose Raging Bull to open the festival in 1981.

 

Legacy

 

By the end of the 1980s, Raging Bull had cemented its reputation as a modern classic. It was voted the best film of the 1980s in numerous critics' polls and is regularly pointed to as both Scorsese's best film and one of the finest American movies ever made. Several prominent critics, among them Roger Ebert, declared the film to be an instant classic and the consummation of Scorsese's earlier promise. Ebert proclaimed it the best film of the 1980s, and one of the ten greatest films of all time. The film has been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1990. The film currently holds a 98% "Certified Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website with an average rating of 9.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes. The similarly themed Metacritic rates the movie 92/100 ("universal acclaim").

 

Raging Bull was listed by Time magazine as one of the All-TIME 100 Movies. Variety magazine ranked the film number 39 on their list of the 50 greatest movies. Raging Bull was fifth on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. The film tied with The Bicycle Thief and Vertigo at number 6 on Sight and Sound's 2002 poll of the greatest movies ever. When Sight & Sound's directors' and critics' lists are combined, Raging Bull gets most points of all movies that has been produced since 1974. In 2002, Film 4 held a poll of the 100 Greatest Movies, on which Raging Bull was voted in at number 20. Halliwell's Film Guide, a British film guide, placed Raging Bull seventh in a poll naming their selection for the "Top 1,000 Movies". In 2008, Empire magazine held a poll of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, taking votes from 10,000 readers, 150 film makers and 50 film critics: Raging Bull was placed at number 11. It was also placed on a similar list of 1000 movies by The New York Times. In 2010, Total Film selected the film as one of The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. FilmSite.org, a subsidiary of American Movie Classics, placed Raging Bull on their list of the 100 greatest movies. Additionally, Films101.com ranked the film as the 16th best movie of all time (a list of the 9,335 most notable).

 

American Film Institute recognition

 

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - #24

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills - #51

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - #4

AFI's 10 Top 10 - #1 Sports

 

Soundtrack

 

Martin Scorsese decided to assemble a soundtrack made of music that was popular at the time using his personal collection of 78s. With the help of Robbie Robertson the songs were carefully chosen so they would be the ones that one would hear on the radio, at the pool or in bars and clubs reflecting the mood of that particular era. Some lyrics from songs would be slipped into some dialogue. The Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana by Italian composer Pietro Mascagni would serve as the main theme to Raging Bull after a successful try-out by Scorsese and the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker over the film's opening titles. Two other Mascagni pieces were used in the film: the Barcarolle from Silvano, and the Intermezzo from Guglielmo Ratcliff. A two-CD soundtrack was released in 2005, long after the film was released, because of earlier difficulties receiving permissions for many of the songs, which Scorsese selected from his childhood memories growing up in New York.

 

Sequel

 

In 2006, Variety reported that Sunset Pictures was developing a sequel entitled Raging Bull II: Continuing the Story of Jake LaMotta. It is still in the early stages of production and chronicles Jake's early life, as told in the sequel novel of the same name. According to the Internet Movie Database, the film is to be directed by Martin Guigui and is rumored to star William Forsythe as Jake LaMotta.

 

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18. Happy Gilmore

 

Happygilmoreposter.jpg

 

(5 of 15 lists - 92 points - highest ranking #6 knightni)

 

Happy Gilmore is a 1996 sports comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Robert Simonds for Universal Studios. It stars Adam Sandler as the title character, an unsuccessful ice hockey player who discovers a talent for golf. The screenplay was written by Sandler and Tim Herlihy. This film was the first of several collaborations between Sandler and Dugan.

 

Plot

 

Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) is an aspiring ice hockey player who possesses a powerful and dangerous slapshot that his late father taught him as a child. However, Happy also possesses an overaggressive streak and lack of skating ability that preclude him from joining every team he tries out for. His grandmother (Frances Bay), who raised him after his father died, has not paid her taxes for many years. As such, she owes $270,000 to the IRS, and the house that Happy's grandfather "built with his bare hands" is about to be seized. Gilmore has only 3 months to come up with the money or else the house would be sold. Grandma Gilmore is forced to temporarily move into a retirement home run by the retirement home's unpleasant and cruel manager, Hal (Ben Stiller in an uncredited role). While repossessing Grandma's furniture, a pair of movers challenge Happy to hit golf balls, and his unorthodox hockey slapshot hits 400 yards three times, winning $40 as a result. This gives Happy the idea to go to the driving range to hustle golfers with his swing. When former golf star and current club pro Chubbs Peterson (Carl Weathers), whose pro golf career ended when his hand was bitten off by an alligator, sees Happy's shot, he convinces Happy to enter a local tournament by telling him he can make the money to buy back his grandmother's house. Happy wins the tournament and earns a spot on the Pro Golf Tour (fictionalized golf tour based on the PGA Tour). Chubbs advises Happy to hold off on joining the tour, so that Chubbs can make him a better all-around golfer and it will take Happy six months for the training. Against Chubbs' advice, Happy joins the tour immediately after learning he can make enough money to buy back Grandma's house. Chubbs was not aware that Happy enter the tour to get enough money to get his Grandma's house back and Happy had 3 months to come up with the money.

 

On the tour, Happy makes an instant enemy of pretentious and arrogant star pro Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), who sees Happy as a detriment to golf and tries to thwart any attempt to steal his thunder. In addition, Happy discovers that although he has a powerful drive, his putting is terrible, and his violent outbursts and lack of golf etiquette cause him problems, which gives Shooter an opening to ask Doug Thompson (Dugan), the commissioner of the tour, to expel Happy. Happy's antics are garnering the tour's highest television ratings, youthful sponsors and bringing more fans into tournaments, and Shooter's request is denied. To help Happy cool down and start acting more professionally, tour PR head Virginia Venit (Julie Bowen) is assigned to him by the tour. In addition to a relationship forming between the two and Happy tells Virginia the truth why he enter the tour in the first place and he asked her not to tell anyone about it which she agrees. Happy begins to develop a cooler head while continuing to improve in tournaments much to the chagrin of Shooter, who decides to take matters into his own hands and hire Donald, a mentally unbalanced fan of Shooter's (Joe Flaherty) to heckle Happy at the next tournament, the Pepsi Pro-Am, a tournament where tour pros team up with celebrities.

 

At the tournament, where Happy is paired with Bob Barker, then host/executive producer of the long-running CBS Daytime game show, The Price Is Right, Donald starts distracting and intimidating him by shouting out, "Jackass!", when he's taking his swing. He takes Happy's focus off his game so much that he plays terribly. Exasperated at Happy's poor performance, Barker even begins heckling him before they break into a full-scale brawl, which Barker wins and is also enough to have Happy suspended from the tour and fined $25,000. All is not lost as Happy secures an endorsement deal with Subway, which gives him enough money to buy back Grandma's house and pay the fine.

 

However, Happy discovers that the house is to be sold at an auction – something he did not know before. As a result, Happy is unable to make a high enough bid to win the auction. Happy then becomes infuriated as he sees that Shooter is now the owner of Grandma's house. Despite their rivalry, Shooter is willing to let Happy have the house back, but on one condition – that he quit the pro tour. Happy immediately agrees to quit but is talked out of it by Virginia, who tells him Grandma would rather see him succeed at life than have the house. Happy then decides to make a bet with his rival based on the upcoming Tour Championship – if Happy places higher than Shooter, he gets the house back, but if Happy finishes behind Shooter he'll leave the tour; Shooter agrees. Although Virginia is confident Happy will win, Happy isn't as sure and seeks the help of Chubbs. Happy finally admits his own mistakes and agrees to finally work with Chubbs. Together they head to a miniature golf course so Happy can improve his putting, which he does. For Happy's improved success, Chubbs gives Happy his slightly modified putter as a present to use for the tournament. As a token of his gratitude, Happy returns the favor to Chubbs: the head of the alligator that took his hand (which Happy had killed in an earlier tournament while retrieving his ball). The gift does not have the intent Happy planned on, as Chubbs is startled by it and stumbles back, causing him to fall out an open window to his death.

 

Determined to win the tournament for Chubbs, Happy goes head-to-head with Shooter. Shooter is stunned that Happy has been keeping up with him, and by the end of the third day of the tournament, Happy is leading Shooter. Determined to win the tournament, which he has never done, Shooter once again calls on Donald. The next day Shooter's plan comes into action, as Donald hits Happy with a Volkswagen Beetle, which he proceeds to ram into a television tower at the 18th hole. Happy is moderately injured and has lost the ability to hit the long drive and as such drops from the lead and trails Shooter by several shots heading into the final holes. However, after applying a lesson from Chubbs, and receiving an important morale boost from Grandma, who had come to watch the tournament, he is able to refocus and ties for the lead going to the 18th hole. After Shooter makes his shot for par, the TV tower collapses and blocks Happy's putt for birdie. Happy is forced to take his shot with the tower in the way, and once again uses what Chubbs taught him to make a trick shot to win The Tour Championship and the house.

 

Shooter is then beat up by Happy's old boss, Mr. Larson (Richard Kiel), and an angry mob of spectators, after he steals the gold jacket from Doug and Happy in a fit of hysteria following Happy's victory. The film closes with Happy being congratulated by the two-handed ghost of Chubbs, Abraham Lincoln, and the alligator.

 

Cast

 

Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore, a young man who lives life wanting to be a professional ice hockey player. Due to his grandmother not paying her taxes, her house becomes repossessed. Happy intends to get the house back and starts playing golf in order to do so. He is the main protagonist.

Christopher McDonald as Shooter McGavin, an arrogant, cocky golfer who is the best on the Pro Golf Tour (fictionalized golf tour based on the PGA Tour). After Happy joins, he becomes jealous of the attention Happy receives, and shows his dislike of Happy being on the tour. He is the main antagonist.

Julie Bowen as Virginia Venit, a Public Relations Director for the PGT. She eventually becomes Happy Gilmore's love interest.

Frances Bay as Grandma Gilmore; she took Happy Gilmore in as a child when his mother left him and his father died. She is adored by Happy, who would do anything to keep her happy.

Carl Weathers as Chubbs Peterson, a pro golfer who was forced to retire early when his hand was bitten off by an alligator. He encourages Happy to take up golf and coaches him.

Allen Covert as Otto, a hobo who becomes Happy's caddy.

Kevin Nealon as Gary Potter, the eccentric PGT pro Happy plays with in his first tournament. Happy eventually beats him up due to his "bad advice".

Richard Kiel as Mr. Larson, Happy's towering former boss, who was shot in the head with a nail gun by Happy and later became one of his former employee's biggest fans.

Dennis Dugan as Doug Thompson, the commissioner of the Pro Golf Tour. Dennis is also the director of this movie.

Joe Flaherty as Unruly Fan; known only as Donald, this fan of Shooter's is recruited by Shooter to heckle Happy at the Pro-AM, frequently calling him a jackass. He later hits Happy with his car at the Tour Championship.

Lee Trevino as Himself; appears in five scenes, usually to express disbelief at something that has happened. He only has one line in the whole film, letting Shooter know that Grizzly Adams had a beard.

Bob Barker as Himself, Happy's celebrity golf partner at the Pro-AM.

Verne Lundquist as Himself, the main announcer for all of the tournaments shown.

Mark Lye as Himself, appears as himself in one scene with Happy and Shooter.

Ben Stiller (uncredited) as Hal, the retirement home manager that Grandma Gilmore moves to, and uses the residents for slave labor.

 

Reception

 

Critical response

 

Happy Gilmore received mostly mixed reviews from critics. On the film ranking website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a score of 59% based on 51 reviews, as of 8 May 2011; the site's consensus states: "Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable."

 

Brian Lowry of Variety stated that "The general tone nevertheless makes it difficult to elevate the gags beyond an occasional chuckle". Lowry only noted a few scenes he found inspired, including the fight scene with Bob Barker and when Happy attempts to find his "Happy Place" which was described as "Felliniesque". Roger Ebert gave the film one and a half stars out of four, stating that Adam Sandler's character "doesn't have a pleasing personality: He seems angry even when he's not supposed to be, and his habit of pounding everyone he dislikes is tiring in a PG-13 movie". Ebert also noted the film's product placement stating that he "probably missed a few, but I counted Diet Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Subway sandwich shops, Budweiser (in bottles, cans, and Bud-dispensing helmets), Michelob, Visa cards, Bell Atlantic, AT&T, Sizzler, Wilson, Golf Digest, the ESPN sports network, and Top-Flite golf balls".

 

Box office

 

Happy Gilmore was a respectable box office hit, ranking #2 at the box office on its debut weekend with $8.5 million in revenue. In total, it made $41 million worldwide, with $38 million of that domestic.

 

Awards

 

Won MTV Movie Awards: Best Fight Adam Sandler vs. Bob Barker

 

http://youtu.be/TNzUDygsBE4

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17. The Rookie

 

Rookie02poster.jpg

 

(6 of 15 lists - 93 points - highest ranking #4 Iwritecode)

 

The Rookie is a 2002 drama sports film directed by John Lee Hancock. It is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who had a brief, but famous Major League Baseball career in 1999. The film stars Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, and Brian Cox.

 

Plot

 

Jim Morris is the son of a career Navy man, who moves the family to a small Texas town. The lack of a baseball league there for youngsters inhibits the young left-handed pitcher's progress and an injured shoulder ends any shot at a professional career.

 

Years later in 1999, Morris, married with three children, is a high school science teacher as well as head baseball coach. His team from Big Lake finds it impossible to hit his pitching when he throws batting practice. Hoping for some degree of mutual motivation, his struggling players offer him this agreement: if they win the district championship to reach the state playoffs, he must attend a tryout camp for Major League Baseball.

 

The team makes it, forcing Jimmy to keep his end of the bargain. When he does, the professional scouts discover his ability to repeatedly throw a baseball at 98 miles per hour, a feat that fewer than 10 professional baseball players at the time could accomplish.

 

Despite his advanced age (35), Morris is offered a chance to pitch with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He is reluctant to go, though, because of his responsibilities to his family. His father discourages Jimmy further, more or less telling him it is time to accept reality and put aside impossible dreams.

 

He is initially assigned to the minor league Class AA Orlando Rays (now the Montgomery Biscuits) but quickly moves up to the AAA Durham Bulls. Concerned for his family due to mounting bills (the pay in the minor leagues being low) and unhappy that some of the organization's younger prospects view him as a publicity stunt, Jimmy decides to give it up and come home. But his wife Lorri talks him out of it.

 

One day, during the September roster expansions, he is called up to the Major Leagues by the Devil Rays, thrilling his young son Hunter in particular. His proud family, including his father, and his high school players come to Arlington, Texas, to see his first game.

 

A brief epilogue explains that Jim Morris spent two seasons in the big leagues.

 

Cast

 

Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris

Rachel Griffiths as Lorri

Brian Cox as Jim Sr.

Angus T. Jones as Hunter

Angelo Spizzirri as Joel De La Garza (Owls catcher)

Jay Hernandez as Joaquin 'Wack' Campos

Rick Gonzalez as Rudy Bonilla (Owls pitcher)

 

Reception

 

The movie received generally favorable reviews with Metacritic giving it a 72 out of 100 based on 31 reviews.

 

Real life differences

 

The film has Morris making his debut against the Texas Rangers, striking out Royce Clayton on three pitches, with the last strike coming on a full swing. In reality, Morris struck out Clayton on four pitches. The third swing was a foul ball, but because the filmmakers were working on a very tight schedule--the scene was shot at the actual Ballpark at Arlington, following an actual game, with much of the crowd still in the stands--it was determined in advance that there wouldn't be time to institute the numerous safety precautions necessary to protect actors, crew, and equipment from a flying baseball. The initial plan was to replace the foul ball with a ball (a pitch outside the strike zone, at which the batter does not swing), but it was later decided that the scene played better with only three pitches.

The film portrays Morris as a resident of Big Lake, but he never actually lived in the town. During his time teaching at Reagan County High School, he lived in San Angelo and commuted to work daily.

The film shows Morris teaching chemistry, and a broadcaster calls him a chemistry teacher. In reality, he taught physical science.

The scene with the radar sign, which was copied by ESPN in a commercial with Bobby Valentine taking the part of Morris, never actually happened.

In the film, the school that Morris teaches at is named Big Lake High School; in real life, the school is in the town of Big Lake but its actual name is Reagan County High School.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Texas Rangers uniforms worn in the movie are incorrect for the era in which the film takes place. This was a deliberate choice by the filmmakers. By using the 2001 uniforms, rather than the period-accurate 1999 uniforms, the filmmakers were able to film second unit footage of an actual game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and intercut that footage with footage of the actors wearing the same uniforms.

The bullpen in which Jim warms up prior to his first major league appearance against the Texas Rangers is actually the Rangers' bullpen; the visitors' bullpen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is much less visible.

In the film, when Jim is called up to the majors, a teammate named Brooks is called up with him. In real life, Steve Cox was the player called up with Jim. Brooks was a fictional character created for the movie.

Alex Rodriguez appeared as a member of the Texas Rangers, but in 1999, he was really a member of the Seattle Mariners.

 

Filming locations

 

The Rookie was filmed almost entirely in North and Central Texas. Apart from scenes filmed at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, locations included the following:

 

The city of Thorndale, Texas, was used predominantly in the opening half of the film as the small town of Big Lake. Thorndale High School's interior, exterior parts of the building and baseball field were used for Big Lake High School's campus. Thorndale's Main Street and downtown area was also used extensively in the film.

 

Neighboring Thrall High School in Thrall, Texas, was dressed for several differing scenes, including scenes of several different "away" baseball games filmed on the school's field. Thrall's then-recently completed football stadium stood in as Big Lake's. Thrall's old football field, dressing rooms and recreation pavilion were dressed as an oil refinery's outlay in a deleted scene viewable on the DVD's special features.

 

A scene shot in front of a motel supposedly in Florida was actually filmed in front of what is now a Best Western in Taylor, Texas.

 

Most of the population portrayed in this movie of Big Lake, Texas were fictional. Only the baseball team and those directly connected were based on real people.

 

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