Sports fans are going stir crazy as the NBA, NHL, and MLS suspend play due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The NCAA canceled its Men’s & Women’s Tournaments. The XFL punted on its season while MLB ceased operations with the hope of starting its season in … who knows!
A real possibility exists that we will be unable to enjoy our favorite sport(s) for months. What is one to do with all of this idle time?
As a political junkie, I will continue to follow the Presidential Election. However, I’m not going to recommend that you do that. Unless you want to.
Spend more time with family members? Well, I’m a less-is-more type of person, so I’m not going to suggest that you do something I wouldn’t.
Watch Netflix? I’m sure you have already combed through its quality programming.
As a cinephile, I’m here to propose an eclectic list of Sports Movies to fill your idle time.
Let’s call it SAP’S QUARANTINE SPORTS FILM FESTIVAL:
The best Sports Movies center around boxing. You can create great character studies while building to a natural, dramatic crescendo.
RAGING BULL is one of my three favorite films, along with The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II. If my surname didn’t give away that I’m Italian-American, that previous sentence confirms it.
Robert De Niro, in an Academy Award-winning performance, gives the greatest male acting performance in film history. Filmed in black and white, it’s a no holds barred look at former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta.
I believe MILLION DOLLAR BABY is the best film of the 21st century. Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank, and Morgan Freeman all won Academy Awards. Eastwood for Directing. Swank as Best Actress and Freeman as Best Supporting Actor. The film is heartbreaking and a brilliant work of art by a master.
ROCKY came out in 1976 when the psyche of the country was damaged post-Vietnam and Watergate. It’s gritty and still holds up as a love story and an inspiration.
The best Basketball Movie is HOOSIERS, starring Gene Hackman. During these trying times, an uplifting film is exactly what the doctor ordered.
HOOP DREAMS is a sensational Sports Documentary. It follows the careers of two high school basketball stars in Chicago.
Football really doesn’t have a “great” film. It’s nearly impossible to recreate the complexities of the sport. Forced to pick one, my choice is the NFL Films/HBO Documentary – Lombardi. The footage and interviews are mesmerizing, contributing to a detailed picture about one of my idols, Vincent Thomas Lombardi.
Hockey has produced two completely different sub-genres. SLAP SHOT starring Paul Newman is a crude, rude comedy about minor league hockey.
If you are looking for a stirring drama, MIRACLE is a well-done re-creation of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games improbable Gold Medal run by the U.S.A.’s Men’s Hockey team.
Baseball has given us a wide array of films. My favorite is EIGHT MEN OUT. It’s a dark, moody depiction of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.
One of my favorite comedies is THE NAKED GUN, which is a spoof on the Los Angeles Police Department. The final twenty minutes takes place at a baseball game at Dodger Stadium. So for argument’s sake lets call it a baseball movie. Since we need all the laughs we can muster, see this rip roaring satire.
Finally, a Horse Racing Film fills out our wide-ranging list.
A little seen gem is THE KILLING. Made in 1956, this film noir delivers on tension and unpredictability. Plus, no film list can be complete without at least one masterpiece from incomparable director Stanley Kubrick.
Stay safe and enjoy the show.
John Sapochetti is co-host of the “Sap & Kat Show” heard on FullPressCoverage
Follow him on twitter @JohnSap25