Thursday, March 31, 2011
Auntie Wendy's Top 10 Baseball Movies
Me: Well Lemon Drop, Opening Day is not an official national holiday (although it should be!), and I'm too much of a good little worker bee to slack off for the day. So yeah, at work.
Lemon Drop: Mommy tells me you usually wax poetic (with no aid of alcohol!) about baseball on this most joyous of days. So whatcha got for me? I'm young, I'm impressionable, I need to be educated.
Me: Sweetie, just for you, I'm going to lay out my Top 10 Favorite Baseball Movies. I had a hard time narrowing down this list, and putting them in order? Torture. But I did my best. When you get older tell Mommy that I said you could watch them. Here they are:
10. Mr. Baseball (1992) -Tom Selleck as washed-up major leaguer put out to pasture in Japan. Not sure this one "holds up" very well in terms of Japanese baseball, but a decent love story and Tom Selleck. With his mustache. Wearing a Tigers uniform at the end of the movie. Swoon.
9. For Love of the Game (1999) - Kevin Costner flashbackin' his relationship with Kelly Preston in the midst of throwing a perfect game against the Yankees. Not the best movie ever, but did I mention that Costner plays for the Tigers in this one? And he's throwing a perfect game against the Yankees? For that reason alone it makes the list.
The Rookie (2002) - Despite his tendency to make terrible movies, I heart Dennis Quaid. There's just something about that guy. Here he's a high school baseball coach who has discovered that his old fast ball is now a lot more "live." Loved the bits towards the end of the movie when he's traveling the minor league circuit as an "old man" who desperately misses his family. Oh, and it being based on a true story adds to the awesomeness.
7. A League Of Their Own (1992) - Crying?! There's no crying in baseball! The only decent movie Madonna ever made. Geena Davis before the plastic surgery got too scary. Oh, and Tom Hanks.
6. A City On Fire: The Story of the '68 Tigers (2002) - In 1968 cities all across the U.S. were rioting. Detroit was no exception. It was also the year that the Tigers won the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. This HBO documentary details their run. And note to HBO: could you please make this available on DVD? Seriously.
5. Field of Dreams (1989) - More Kevin Costner. Also a movie to watch if you want to see grown men cry. Great father-son stuff here, but I'll be honest, I watch this movie for James Earl Jones. And the bit where Amy Madigan takes on the school board. My wee lil' librarian heart goes squee!
4. 61* (2001) - Yes, about the Yankees. I'd feel dirty for recommending it if it weren't such a great movie. Detailing the race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (both Yankees) to break Babe Ruth's (THE Yankee) home run record. Mantle's less-than-admirable tendencies aren't sugar-coated, and I fell a bit in love with Roger Maris by the time it was all said and done.
The Life & Times of Hank Greenberg (1998) - Another great documentary. Ty Cobb was the greatest player to ever put on a Tiger uniform, but he was also a raging jackass. For that reason, I always say that Greenberg was my favorite Tiger of all time, regardless of the fact that his peak playing years occurred before your grandparents were born. People remember Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, and detail what he had to overcome. And rightly so! But the amount of shit Greenberg took for being Jewish? Not quite as well-known in non-baseball fandom circles. Plus, he was a damn good ballplayer. Before Maris and Mantle, he came the closest to breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, and he was an RBI machine. Not the greatest defensive player, but did I mention he was one tall, handsome, good looking son-of-a-gun? Swoon.
2. Major League (1989) - Everyone has at least one movie that they have to stop and watch when they stumble across it on cable. This one is mine. Bitchy new owner wants to move the hapless Cleveland Indians to Miami (pre-Marlins) and figures the league will OK it if attendance sucks enough. So she hires on a bunch of loser misfits, who naturally end up winning big. You know what I really love about this movie? Rene Russo plays a librarian and there's a throwaway piece of dialogue where her old boyfriend, Tom Berenger, talks about her getting her Master's degree! And if that weren't enough awesomeness? Two words: Bob Uecker. So awesome.
Bull Durham (1988) - The best baseball movie ever. Period. End of story. There should be a law that Kevin Costner is only allowed to play cowboys and baseball players. Then we could avoid a whole lot of unwatchable "stuff." Susan Sarandon is so sexy in this movie she could peel wallpaper just by walking in the room. Tim Robbins excels at playing an epically clueless pitcher with insane baseball promise, and Costner is the world-weary veteran minor leaguer circling their orbit. Oh, and that sex scene at the end? Let's just say I'm surprised it was Robbins and Sarandon that ended up a couple after filming wrapped.
Lemon Drop: Boy, you're going to catch flack for this list in the comments Auntie Wendy. No The Natural? No The Sandlot? No movies older than 1988?
Me: Yeah, well - I limited it to ten. I'm only human. Besides, that's what the comments are for on a blog post! I'm sure Bat Cave readers will have plenty of suggestions for you. Just so long as you grow up to be a Tigers fan. Why should your Papaw and your Auntie Wendy be the only members of this family to have a long streak of masochism?
Lemon Drop: Auntie Wendy, what's masochism?
Me: Uh....never mind. Forget I said that. Sigh, your Daddy is going to kill me.....