Because you got to get your fix one way or another.
We’ve all seen the news. Sports are indefinitely suspended until further notice. But where does that leave fans? If you feel compelled to scratch that itch for hard-hitting sports—and pack in the laughs, because no one needs to watch Million Dollar Baby right now—here’s a list of 10 of our favorite sports films that follow through with the funnies. [Photo Credit: IMDb]
1. The Big Lebowski
“I had a rough night and I hate The Eagles, man.”
A psychedelic, pseudo-philosophical arthouse comedy about a couple of out-of-their-element bowlers directed by the Coen Brothers? No other sports comedy stands a chance. This film has risen to cult-classic status and has become a stand-out feature in American cinema.
The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, is an out-of-work stoner who lives a simple life bowling and drinking White Russians. Everything is turned upside down when a case of mistaken identity wraps him in a kidnapping plot involving a German nihilists, porn directors, and an artist that wants his baby.
Its the only sports comedy to break the top 500 films of all time and is hailed by many, including yours truly, as a comic masterpiece. But hey, “you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
“So I got that going for me, which is nice.”
Caddyshack is campy 80s comedy gold. The Harold Ramis-directed films star Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield. Chase plays Ty Webb, a smooth golfer, whose help is enlisted after Al Czervik (Dangerfield), a loudmouth wise-cracker, wrecks the yacht of the stuck-up country club owner. They agree to settle the state of Czervik’s membership, as well as a $40,000 wager, on a golf match. Meanwhile, a screw-loose groundskeeper (Murray), goes to war with a trespassing gopher. As it was pitched to the studio, Caddyshack is Animal House on a golf course.
3. Slap Shot
“I’m listening to the f***ing song!”
Screenwriter Nancy Down got the idea to write this 1977 slapstick comedy when her brother was cut from his minor league ice hockey team. When writing, she based many of the characters and scenes on real-life people and events. As such, this gives the movie an extra feeling of grit and authenticity, capturing the exorbitant violence in the old-school hockey days.
The Chiefs are a failing ice hockey team whose manager has forced them into gimmicky PR tactics in order to preserve their club. Things start to change when a trio of goons show up and introduce a new level of violent theatricality. As the curtain begins to close on the club, captain Reggie Dunlap benches star goal-scorer, Ned Braden for refusing to fight.
While some of the jokes might not stand up so strong in today’s cultural landscape, the Slap Shot was ahead of its time with its commentary on the dichotomy of masculinity and sexuality in male sports. And its in the ending where the final, spectacular, conclusion is reached.
4. Shaolin Soccer
When it comes to cinema, comedy is one genre that’s difficult to cross borders. Humor relies heavily on language and cultural context. That be as it may, the humor from Shaolin Soccer fully translates. The film follows Sing — played by director Stephen Chow — a former monk on a mission to spread the teachings of his superhuman martial arts. After a disgraced former soccer star who offers to teach him soccer as a means of promoting his kung fu. Eventually they form a team and go on to compete with great success; that is, until they meet their nemesis: Team Evil. Shaolin Soccer embodies a sort of comic book style, with hilarious characters and Dragon Ball-Z special effects that make this sports movie a comedy goldmine.
5. Happy Gilmore
“Is that good?”
Does this film really need an introduction? This is Adam Sandler in his prime. A hothead wanna-be hockey player who discovers that his drive packs more heat than his slap shot. Featuring a legendary performance from Christopher McDonald aka Shooter McGavin and Carl Weathers as Chubbs, the movie is a hole-in-one comedy that is endlessly quotable.
Also, if you’re in quarantine but not happy about it, Happy has a message for you:
6. A League Of Their Own
“There’s no crying in baseball!”
In addition to picking up for the men away at war, in factories and warehouses, women also took over the field, or more specifically, the diamond. A League of Their Own captures this transitional phase in history with its moving yet funny script that includes major league performances by Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Tom Hanks.
7. White Men Can’t Jump
“You can put a cat in the oven, but that don’t make it a biscuit.”
When Billy Hoyle, (Woody Harrelson), a goofy-looking white man, shows up on the asphalt basketball courts of Los Angeles, the black players don’t take him seriously. And that’s all a part of Billy’s plan. He’s in the business of hustling basketball games. After a run-in with local Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes), the two team up to con ballers around the city.
One thing that makes this film great is the rib-cutting dialogue and innovative, largely improvised taunting that takes place on the court. Some one-liners and insults that will have you laughing out loud while simultaneously experiencing fremdschämen for the victims on screen.
8. Major League
“Juuuuust a bit outside.”
The R-rated comedy centers on a team of mishaps and misfit ball players curated by the owner for the sole purpose of losing the season. Out of spite, they decide to contend for victory. It’s the characters—including iconic names such as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn and Willie Mays Hays—that keep you on deck until the very end.
“Take the number 69 — it’s hilarious!”
In Goon, everything is over-the-top. The profanity, the violence, the action. It’s bad to watch with your parents, but f***ing great to watch with your friends.
Doug Glatt, played by Sean William Scott, is a bouncer who’s a little slow upstairs. When he goes to a local ice hockey game with foulmouth but loveable friend, Pat (played by Jay Baruchel), he ends up knocking out a savage player who charged the stands. Subsequently, Glatt is offered a position on the local team as an enforcer.
While the film features some of the most ridiculous dialogue you’ve ever heard, Goon also offers a sincere contemplation on the physical, emotional, and social consequences of playing the most notorious role in hockey.
10. Space Jam
“Don’t ever trust an earthling.”
Full disclosure: I watched this movie so many times as a child that I actually broke the VHS tape. And the VHS player.
But come on. You have the greatest NBA player of all-time coming out of retirement to play in an intergalactic game of basketball to defend the enslavement of an entire species of Looney Tunes.
You also got a soundtrack with features from Seal, Coolio, Method Man, B Real, and Quad City DJ’s—who created one of the most iconic jock jam bangers of all-time. PLUS, you have Bill Murray zipping through a wormhole to come save the day. Nostalgia I may be, but Space Jam is definitely up there with the top sports comedies.