Sports Movie Madness – Elite 8

(C) Universal Studios Entertainment

(C) Universal Studios Entertainment

A few weeks ago we started our Movie Madness Bracket with a goal of finding the best sports movie ever. We’ve now arrived at the Elite 8!

The Comedy Region

Elite 8

#3 Happy Gilmore V.S. #5 BASEketball

I will stand by BASEketball until the day I die. Its parody of the sports world that even in 1998 before sports became even more about sponsorships and greedy owners this film was ahead of its time. Is is cooky? Yeah. Obnoxious? You betcha. But hilarious? Absolutely. It’s part South Park episode in its social commentary brilliance and part Airplane! in its delivery. On the other end you get an Adam Sandler classic in Happy Gilmore. Happy Gilmore wins the Movie You Will Always Stop On When Flipping Through The Channels At 4AM award every single year 15 years running. Not to mention Happy Gilmore had a tough road to the Elite 8 defeating Jerry Maguire, Talladega Nights, and The Longest Yard. But can it hold off BASEketball as that film had an equally-as-tough road here defeating Space Jam, Major League, and Rookie of the Year.

Sweet 16

#5 BASEketball def. #9 Space Jam

#3 Happy Gilmore def. #2 Jerry Maguire

Round of 32

#9 Space Jam UPSET!! #1 Caddyshack

#5 BASEketball def. #4 Major League

#3 Happy Gilmore def. #11 Talladega Nights

#2 Jerry Maguire def. #10 The Mighty Ducks

Round 1

Play-in: Little Giants def. Fever Pitch

#1 Caddyshack def. #16 Little Giants

#9 Space Jam def. #8 The Waterboy

#5 BASEketball def. #12 Rookie of the Year

#4 Major League def. #13 – Dodgeball

#11 Talladega Nights UPSET!! #6 White Men Can’t Jump

#3 Happy Gilmore def. #14 The Longest Yard

#10 The Mighty Ducks UPSET!! #7 Slap Shot

#2 Jerry Maguire def. #15 Goon


The At-Large Region

Elite 8

#2 Rocky V.S. #4 Miracle

We got the right match-up here. It’s downright un-American to dislike both of these films. Rocky the movie was an underdog itself – an unknown actor and writer Sylvester Stallone writes and plays the part beautifully of an underdog boxer “Rocky” and goes on to fight the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed. The film won best picture, by the way, at the 1977 Academy Awards. And then there’s Miracle – the story of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team that defeated the USSR in a game they should’ve lost 9-0. What’s so authentic about that film is rather than hiring 20 actors and teach them how to skate, the directors hired 20 hockey players and told them to act as if they were on the 1980 olympic team. The results were tremendous as we got one of the most inspiriational sports films of all time.

Sweet 16

#4 Miracle UPSET!!! #1 Hoosiers

#2 Rocky def. Raging Bull

Round of 32

#1 Hoosiers def. #8 The Wrestler

#4 Miracle def. #5 The Fighter

#3 Raging Bull def. #6 ALI

#2 Rocky def. #7 Warrior

Round 1

Play-In: Coach Carter def. Glory Road

#1 Hoosiers def. #16 Coach Carter

#8 The Wrestler def. #9 Cinderella Man

#5 The Fighter def. #12 Mystery, Alaska

#4 Miracle def. #13 Rush

#6 ALI def. #11 Chariots of Fire

#3 Raging Bull def. #14 Seabiscuit

#7 Warrior def. #10 Million Dollar Baby

Play-In: More Than A Game def. Hoop Dreams

#2 Rocky def. #16 More Than A Game


The Football Region

Elite 8

#2 Friday Night Lights V.S. #4 Any Given Sunday

So here’s the thing about Any Given Sunday – it’s sometimes overdramatized (the classical music score over relentless slow-motion shots), over-exaggerated (like the part when one of the linemen loses an eyeball), and over-stylized – but it’s raw, truthful, and gripping. Tell me you don’t get fired up every time you hear Al Pacino’s locker room speech!! WE FIGHT FOR THAT INCH!! WE CLAWWWWWWW FOR THAT INCH! Any Given Sunday tells the truth about pro football from a greedy running back begging for more carries to get his contract bonus, to a greedier owner who wants to re-locate the Miami Sharks in an obvious attempt to make her mark as she just acquired the team from her dead and beloved father, the coach with serious issues, the QB with an ego (Steamin’ Willie Beamen!!!) – this film has it ALL.

And then there’s Friday Night Lights. Equally as honest and gripping. Which of the following scenes teared you up more:

– When Tim McGraw … err … Charles Billingsly taped his son’s hands together, beat him in front of his girlfriend, beat him on the football field in front of the whole damn town only to embrace him lovingly in the end when he realized his son gave it his all.

– When the hot-shot running back Boobie Miles realizes just how much of an ass-hat he’s been and that his career might actually be over.

– When Billy Bob Thorton … err … I mean Coach Gaines had to sit through that awkward boosters meeting at his house and you had to keep reminding yourself he coaches 16 to 18-year-old boys and not professional players.

– Or my personal favorite – when it’s the final play of the State Championship Game and Mike Winchell says, “I-right, 34 switchblade. For the state championship. I love all y’all, baby. I love all y’all.” I’m literally wiping away tears as I write that.

Sweet 16

#4 Any Given Sunday UPSET!! #1 Remember The Titans

#2 Friday Night Lights def. #6 Rudy

Round of 32

#1 Remember The Titans def. #8 Invincible

#4 Any Given Sunday def. #12 Draft Day

#6 Rudy UPSET!! #3 We Are Marshall

#2 Friday Night Lights def. #10 The Program

Round 1

Play-In: Leatherheads def. Blue Chips

#1 Remember The Titans def. #16 Leatherheads

#8 Invincible def. #9 The Express

#12 Draft Day UPSET!! #5 The Blind Side

#4 Any Given Sunday def. #13 Gridiron Gang

#6 Rudy def. #11 North Dallas Forty

#3 We Are Marshall def. #14 Varsity Blues

#10 The Program UPSET!! #7 Brian’s Song

#2 Friday Night Lights def. #15 The Replacements


The Baseball Region

Elite 8

#2 61* V.S. #6 For Love Of The Game

Honestly? I know I’m going to get flack for advancing 61* past Moneyball. But let me ask you this question: have you seen 61*? It’s probably the most honest baseball movie I’ve ever seen. Roger Maris V.S. Mickey Mantle in the summer of 1961 chasing Babe Ruth’s 61 home run season is the backdrop of a story that’s really about dealing with the whole world wanting to keep you from something while your teammate is chasing the same goal and they’re boosting his ego. Except you’re the “good guy” with a wife and kids you adore (Maris) and he’s the borderline-alcoholic, womanizing, swashbuckling star (Mantle). For Love Of The Game is Kevin Costner’s 5,000,000th baseball film and 6,234,631st sports film. It’s a great film, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a love story wrapped in a baseball backdrop. I think 61* gets the nod here to go to the Final Four.

The Classics

Sweet 16

#6 For Love Of The Game UPSET!! #4 Eight Men Out

Round of 32

#4 Eight Men Out UPSET!! #1 Bull Durham

#6 For Love Of The Game UPSET!! #2 The Natural

Round 1

#1 Bull Durham def. #8 Bad News Bears

#4 Eight Men Out def. #5 Field of Dreams

#6 For Love Of The Game UPSET!! #3 A League Of Their Own

#2 The Natural def. #7 The Pride Of The Yankees


The New Classics

Sweet 16

#2 61* UPSET! #1 Moneyball

Round of 32

#1 Moneyball def. #4 The Sandlot

#2 61* def. #3 42

Round 1

#1 Moneyball def. #8 Mr. 3000

#4 The Sandlot def. #5 The Rookie

#3 42 def. #6 The Babe

#2 61* def. #7 Trouble With The Curve


Stay tuned as the NCAA tournament rolls on to see if your favorite movie advances! You can vote for your favorites on Twitter using #MSMMovies.

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