Thursday, March 31, 2011

Auntie Wendy's Top 10 Baseball Movies

Lemon Drop:  Auntie Wendy, it's Opening Day for Major League Baseball, what are you doing at work?

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.

8. 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.

3. 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.

1. 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.....


Kati said...

It also has to be said that Dennis Quaid's abs, are a modern miracle. The man has got quite the bod.

I'm thinking in particular of The Big Easy. God Almighty he was sex on a stick in that movie.

Oh wait, we're talking about baseball.

Great list, Wendy! Happy Opening Day!

Phyl said...

I can't disagree with this too much, but Lemon Drop is right--where's The Natural? Yeah, Redford was way too old for the part, but the cinematography is so beautiful. Anyhow, a great way to celebrate the best day of the year. I'm going to ignore the fact that there's an inch of snow on the ground out there.

KL/LE said...

Bang the Drum Slowly?

Phyl said...

OMG, KL/LE, how could I have forgotten Bang the Drum Slowly? Awesome choice and a wonderful book, too.

KB/KT Grant said...

Hands down mine has to be The Natural with Robert Redford. I've seen that movie too many times to count and every time it comes on I have to watch all over again.

61 is an incredible baseball movie all about friendship. Love that one also.

BethP said...

"Bull Durham" is right up in my top 10 favorite movies, of all kind. (Not just baseball.) Some of the lines in the movie just kill me every time. "Uh, candlesticks are good..." "Yer a bunch of lollygaggers..."

Alie said...

Random, but I always thought Costner and Russo were great in Tin Cup. He should just stick to sports movies, you're right.

What, no Angels in the In/Outfield, Bad News Bears, Fever Pitch, For Love of the Game? :)

Tara Marie said...

Love the list--my list would include The Natural, Pride of the Yankee and Eight Men Out. And, I probably would include The Sandlot and The Bad News Bears--actually think the list needs to be 15.

Opening Day--Yankees and Tigers :)

Lusty Reader said...

yay, the most wonderful time of year!

and what, no Rookie Of The Year on this list? for shame! with lines like "funky buttloving" how could you not love it!? ;)

i suppose i am partial to it since i am a cubs fan (102 years and counting *sobs quietly*)

Larry Fisher: Hey, kid! How'd you like to play for the Chicago Cubs?

Henry Rowengartner: Great! But I gotta ask my mom first.

such a cute movie!

Wendy said...

Kati: Seriously, I heart Dennis Quaid. Whatever "it" is, he has it.

Phyl: I think that's the big bugaboo for me - Redford (as much as I like the guy) is just too "old" for that movie. Hence it made the long list, but not the short.

KL/LE: D'oh! Chalk it up to a brain fart on my part :)

KB: I really loved 61* - despite it being about those damn Yankees :)

Beth: "This son of a bitch is throwing a two-hit shutout. He's shaking me off. You believe that shit? Charlie, here comes the deuce. And when you speak of me, speak well."

Alie: Sports and cowboys. That's it for Costner. When he deviates from that we get movies like....The Postman and Waterworld ::shudder::

Tara: Damn Yankees. I DVR'ed the game, will probalby fast forward through it. And Eight Men Out made the long list.

Lusty: Yeah, well - my list is pretty "Tiger heavy." I know, the shock of it all :)

nath said...

LOL, is this going to be Lemon Drop first official baseball season?

Wow, I'm impressed at how many movies I've seen! I have to say, I've always liked A League of her Own.

Mayberry Mom said...

I heart Dennis Quade too. It's the mischievous little boy smile *swoon* I remember saying he was hot when watching a movie with my mom when I was in high school, she looked at me and said, "you do know he's only a few years younger than your dad and I?" That stopped me for a second, ewwwwww. But then I shrugged and said, "okay, he's a hot, older guy" LOL

Major League~I live near Milwaukee, where they filmed a good portion of the movie (in old County Stadium). I'm in the bleachers during the bunting scene. I don't show up in the movie, but man that was a fun night!!

Michelle Styles said...

It Happens Every Spring (1949) -- really good fun. Sort of Flubber before the Absent Minded Professor.

But I do agree about Bull Durham being great.

Gail Dayton said...

Oh geez, now you're not only adding to my GoodReads list, you're adding to my Netflix list. Ah well.

And I think I may be the only person on the planet who, instead of craving weird food during pregnancy, craved baseball. I would even sit on the porch and listen to baseball on the radio! Hm. No wonder that son is now in college to become a coach. (Football more than baseball, but still...)

Sarah said...

A League of Their Own! Love that movie so much. I've never seen Bull Durham but you've actually made me more interested in seeing it.

And Lemon Drop!

Hilcia said...

Baseball is back! Great opening day too.

I love your choices Wendy and would choose Bull Durham over The Natural any time.

But I guess one of my all time favorite baseball movies is an oldie: Pride of the Yankees, the Lou Gerigh story with Gary Cooper (1942). :D

shauna said...

Well since I'm from Cleveland I have to vote hands down for MAJOR LEAGUE, and the original Wild Thing Charlie Sheen is actually going to be here Tuesday for his "freaked out" tour and he wants to do another Major League movie. Go Charlie!!! LOL

Wendy said...

Nath: Her birthday was April 1 - so she was around for baseball last year too - but as an infant I don't think she cared all that much :)

Mayberry: That smile just kills me. It screams, "I want you along for the ride when I'm up to no good."

Michelle: I don't think I've ever seen that one, although reading the plot description sounds vaguely familiar. Wonder if I saw it as a kid? Hmmmmm.

Gail: LOL - that's so awesome! Gosh, I can't remember the last game I listened to on the radio. Probably back when I lived in Michigan and Ernie Harwell was still calling the games.....

Sarah: Lemon Drop turned 1 on Friday :) And I love Bull Durham. Fun movie.

Hilcia: Even though I've seen Lou Gehrig's farewell speech about 3478 times, I get choked up every. single. time. ::sniffle::

Shauna: I heart Bob Uecker so much in that movie. "Ball four...ball eight...and Vaughn has walked the bases loaded on 12 consecutive pitches. How can these guys lay off pitches that close?"

Leslie said...

I love opening day too because it means spring training is over and no more spring training traffic. :)

I like all of the ones you've listed. I'd also add Bad News Bears - loved that movie!

Odd how I'm not a baseball fan but enjoy baseball movies.

nath said...

Oh cool!! Times goes by so fast! She's one!! Did Lemon Drop get a b-day party? :P

Wendy said...

Leslie: Baseball movies usually mean ensemble casts. I tend to like movies with good, solid ensembles.

Nath: She got a trip to Disneyland, along with cake and presents :)

Mollie said...

Lemon Drop is right I'm very sad The Natural and Sandlot didn't make it. Those are two of my faves!And A League of Their Own my family quotes that one a lot. "There's no crying in baseball!!!!"