THE Best Movies Growing UP
As a child, life was about sports and funny movies — and especially funny movies about sports.
This is a list of the Top 10 Sports Movies from our childhood. If reading this list doesn’t take you back to the glory days, or make you want to go out and buy all of them, (which I did as you can tell from the photo — and told the wife it was for “research”) then I don’t know what to tell you.
If you didn’t like these movies growing up….chances are we wouldn’t be friends.
So here is the list, and please feel free to add in your favorites or change up the order in the comments section below:
10. The Big Green
“We don’t play soccer….it’s for foreigners”
“I’m little, I’m low to the ground, I got power, I got moves! I’m your man”
If anyone can get you to want to play soccer, it is a hot foreign exchange teacher. With classic lines like the above referenced one “we don’t play soccer….it’s for foreigners” (which his hilarious to me), how can you go wrong.
This is another movie along the lines of The Little Giants where the team that has no business being put together in the first place, finds a way to come together to compete and take on the bad guys. This one’s stars everybody’s favorite fake professional wrestler — The Great Hambino — also known as Hamilton Porter from The Sandlot.
The Big Green isn’t as heralded as some of the movies on this list, but it it is still a very good sports comedy. It may not stand up to some of the heavyweights, but it still delivers. Oh…..and did I mention the hot foreign exchange teacher?
9. Angels In The Outfield
“You’ve never seen angels before, so why should you now….. Hey, it could happen.”
“He’s got nothing left… All he has to do is believe.”
The heartwarming tale of two foster kids with nothing to lose, who bring a little luck from up above to a hopeless baseball team, this movie ranks up there on the all-time tearjerker list with “All Dogs Go To Heaven” and “The 6th Man”. The story starts out as young Roger is hopelessly clinging to his loyalty of the Angels, and the idea that his father will come back for him and they can be a family. When his dad basically abandons him, coldly saying they can be a family when “the Angels win the pennant.”, Roger prays for God to make his dream come true.
What ensues is the most inspired stretch of baseball in over a century, as a hapless and talentless roster managed by mean spirited, kid hating Danny Glover, throws saber metrics out the window and starts winning games with the help of… you guessed it, Angels In The Outfield! The Angels finish the season on a historic streak, going 29 and -2 (that’s right, negative 2!) to setup a pennant winning series, but Roger’s father still decides to give him up and the Angels lose and Roger and J.P. find it hard to believe. When everything is at its bleakest and it looks hopeless again, the team stands up and finds something else to believe in… they believe in themselves.
In the end everything works out as the Angels win the pennant without the help of the real angels, and newly soft hearted Danny Glover adopts the boys so that everyone can live happily ever after. Except for Tony Danza. He dies because he smoked too much.
8. Cool Runnings
“Our Father, who art in Calgary, Bobsled be thy name. Thy kingdom come, gold medals won, on Earth as it is in Turn Seven. With Liberty and Justice for Jamaica and Haile Selassie. Amen. ”
“Sanka….you dead yet?……..Ya, mon”
“One Dream. Four Jamaicans. 20 Below Zero.” That tagline does a pretty good job of letting you know what you are getting into when starting this movie. John Candy’s character Irv Blitzer won an Olympic gold medal as a bobsledder, only to have it stripped away when they found he cheated by putting weights in the front of the sled. The disgraced Irv hides out in Jamaica — presumably slamming Red Stripes all day, amongst other things — to try and run from his embarrassment.
A local Jamaican runner fails to qualify for the Olympics, and decides to put together the 1st Jamaican Bobsled team and has to convince Irv to be their coach. Putting the team together and watching them first practice gives us some of the funniest moments in the movie. From Sanka kissing eggs, to repeatable quotes such as “Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time!”, this is a great movie for everyone. I am not sure about you, but I certainly wanted to go bobsledding after watching this one.
As a kid, most of us were probably not aware of the Slow Clap, or the fact that we all come with a natural instinct to just stand up and slowly start clapping during certain moments. The scene when the Jamaican team crashes, and then come together as a team and walk their bobsled to the finish line, is the first time I can remember standing up and starting to clap without knowing what I was doing.
7. Space Jam
“I tought I taw – I did! I did! I did tee Michael Jordan!”
“I’ve been MRI’d, EKG’d, X-Rayed, Laser beamed..”
“Larry’s not white. Larry’s clear.”
Re-watching this as an adult is a good idea, because some of the comedy is lost on youthful viewers. That being said, this was still one of my favorite movies growing up. Who didn’t love the Looney Tunes? Who didn’t love Michael Jordan? Put them together in a basketball competition and you have pure gold for kids who were sports fans.
The Looney Tunes gang are being forced to work at the theme park Moron Mountain and come up with a plan to play a basketball game for their freedom. The plan almost backfires, as the original team, The Nerdlucks, manage to steal the talent of some NBA players [Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Shawn Bradley] to form the super team of the Monstars. The only solution for Bugs Bunny, is to save baseball from Michael Jordan and bring him on board to take on the Monstars. With several cameos from Bill Murray to basketball players like Larry Bird, this movie is definitely one to re-watch now.
Cartoons + basketball + comedy = Lock
Side note: These were awesome
BONUS: The soundtrack from this movie is probably one of the best in the history of ever. Anytime I hear these songs, it takes me back to dominating middle school dances (….okay….honestly I just stood on the side with most other kids who were more interested in sports than dancing). I think the word for this soundtrack is timeless. R Kelly convinced me that I could fly….and I believed. With songs from R. Kelly, Seal, Jay-Z, Spin Doctors, Coolio, Quad City DJ’s (and many others), as well as a sweet combo of Barry White and Chris Rock, you couldn’t go wrong.
If you don’t believe me, google the soundtrack. I guarantee some of you are going to buy or download some of the songs.
6. Rookie Of The Year
“Funky buttlovin’…. Did he say, funky buttlovin’?”
“Give him the cheese. The hot, stinky cheddar!”
“Hi kid. How’d you like to play for the Chicago Cubs?….. Great! But I gotta ask my mom first.”
This movie could be considered the best kids movie of all time based purely off of dream potential. I mean, what kid doesn’t grow up dreaming that they could play in the big leagues, striking out the side or hitting home runs in Wrigley, Fenway or Camden Yards? Growing up on the fields of Long Park and spending most summers running around the neighborhood playing backyard baseball, life was about doing Home Run Derbys pretending to be Frank Thomas, Griffey or Barry Bonds and striking people out as Mike Mussina with a devastating “Saturday Slider”. This movie, no matter how ridiculous it seems, gave kids that awesome dream scenario that maybe I could break my arm, but I’ll come back throwing 100 mph.
Loaded with classic lines and featuring John Candy, Marv from Home Alone, Henry Rowengartner’s super nice, super hot mom and a not quite so crazy — but you still know he’s crazy — Gary Busse as Chet Steadman; Rookie of the Year was a perfect sports movie to grow up with. This movie got us to dream big and let’s us remember that there once was a time when Barry Bonds was actually a real person, not a chemically enhanced super robot with a size 13 ¾ hat.
5. The Karate Kid
“Wax on, wax off”
When Daniel met Mr. Miyagi he was just a skinny, innocent boy living in Reseda. Little did he know he would meet an old guy — the ultimate karate fighter of the universe — who would train him to be awesome karate kid. The Karate Kid has everything a movie should have: drama, action, suspense, and of course a little romance.
Some of the best scenes of this movie are Mr. Miyagi teaching Daniel how to balance while in a canoe and he falls off, Halloween night when the Cobra Kai guys chase Daniel around town and get into a huge fight on the beach (that was epic) and of course the final karate tournament.
Arguably the best karate fighting scene of all time is the end of Karate Kid. Daniel gets knocked out from a cheap/illegal hit to the hamstring. Of course Mr. Miyagi comes to the rescue with some voodoo magic and heals Daniel at least enough to where he can fight again. In the final showdown, just when everone thinks Daniel will lose to Cobra Kai, he brings out his secret move. Anyone who is a fan of Karate Kid knows what move this is- one leg up, both arms stretched above his head…with one swift kick Daniel knocks his opponent out and ends up the winner of the tournament. In the end, bonzais and house painting beats douche bag senseis.
4. Little Big League
“Told ya. Should have started Wedmen”
“Hey ‘Blackout,’ I didn’t get you for your curve ball. I don’t like your curve ball. As a matter of fact, I hate your curve. You know why? Because the damn thing don’t curve! ”
This may be the most far fetched movie on the list, but awesome none the less. What kid would not want to own/coach a professional team? Little big league is the soul reason I was so upset when Target Field opened in Minnesota and the Metrodome closed its doors to the Twins. This movie also brings back memories when you watch it as an adult because of all of the actual major league players that make cameos, Ken Griffey Jr being the best of them all when he hits what looks like a 900 foot home run in the movie’s final game. This movie is not as popular so to speak as some of the others on this list, but if you come across someone who can drop Little Big League quotes with you then you have made a friend for life.
3. Little Giants
“Ewww, that’s disgusting! It looks like they’re trying to swallow each others heads”
“Spike’s in hell. Spike’s in pee-wee HELL!”
“Don’t be talkin’ bout my momma!!”
This movie is the king of kid movie sports quotes. Everyone has been called “Hot Hands” Hanon at some point in their life for dropping a wide open pass. We all knew that one tom-boy who wanted to play with the boys. At first, we were a little freaked out by it, because odds are at that age, you didn’t know what type of equipment she was working with… but also you were probably freaked out she was going to be better than you (and probably was).
Everyone knew a Spike, and he was definitely never on any of your teams. He dominated every sport you played, but most importantly, was a dominating RB or LB in pee-wee. You still have bruises or scars from him when he trucked you at age 9. Jake Berman (the sick kid) was on every team as well. The overly protective mother, who wants his kid to try new things, but doesn’t want him to get dirty or hurt, and then the kid who has no right in being out on the field in the first place. He’ll do whatever he can to be sick or hurt, so he doesn’t have to play. He’ll have one moment that you still talk about to this day – an amazing play perhaps (“I’m going to score a touchdown!!”) (The Annexation of Puerto Rico) or an embarrassing moment (Getting his helmet ripped off). In the end, you feel for those kids. It’s possibly part of the reason why you hate the Cowboys….think about it.
2. The Mighty Ducks (saga)
“Two minutes… well worth it.”
“It’s knuckle puck time”
Being from the DMV, hockey wasn’t a primary sport we all played growing up, so from the start, this movie didn’t have much of a chance..but it is just too damn good to pass up. Who didn’t love Bombay and his mentor-ship with Charlie Conway? Once again, the bond that the team had with one another, even after facing all sorts of adversity, prevails as the theme. [RELATED: I put the Goose on Ice like Coach Bombay] Goldberg’s antics kept you laughing throughout the movie, and the rest of the team made you respect hockey. Without the Mighty Ducks.. I may not be a Capitals fan today. It is also the reason that I wish Iceland to do poorly in the Winter Olympics… but that is besides the point.This movie taught me most of what I know about hockey. The triple deke is the hardest move to stop in hockey, and the Flying V would work, but only when kids do it. Icing doesn’t exist. I’m kidding, but the point is, this movie did open up this sport to most of the country’s youth, and is a key reason for why we watch the NHL today.
Every single one of us either got a hockey puck or smashed a soda can down and attempted the knuckle puck at some point. It never worked, but you still believed it would work eventually. And that is why the flying V, and the Ducks fly together at number 2..
1. The Sandlot
“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong. “
“Some lady gave it to him. She even signed her name on it.Some lady named… Ruth. Baby Ruth.”
“You’re killin me Smalls”
“You play ball like a girl!!”
If you played baseball growing up, this movie just spoke to you in more ways than one. When you watch this movie, you quickly place yourself with one of the kids on the team. If you were the best ball player amongst your friends, you’d instantly be Rodriguez. If you were the runt of the group, or just happened to be the kid with glasses, you were Squintz, chubby, Porter and if you were just happy to be invited to hang around friends your age… you, sadly, were Smalls. Every kid had a group of friends, or an opposing team in little league that you hated and desperately wanted to beat. When the boys from the Sandlot challenge the Phillips and the Tigers, it takes you back to those times.
The battle with the Beast helps bring this to the top. The camaraderie that the boys gain in dealing with the beast make me appreciate my buds growing up. We may not have had a battle with a Beast, but we sure had our moments where we needed one another but enough of the sappiness… and for the real reason this movie is number one.
Who didn’t have a lifeguard they had a crush on growing up? We all had a Wendy Peffercorn… hell I still have a Wendy Peffercorn. We all watched this movie and instantly wanted to be able to do what Squintz did to Wendy Peffercorn. Once the pool opened up for the summer, you would head up to the pool, find that one lifeguard that you are going to stare at for the summer, and start planning how you’re going to drown in the pool. We’ve all done it. And that is why this movie is the top of our list.