Flashback Fridays: 1990s Sports Movies
I am a child of the '90s and anyone who tries to argue that the '90s wasn’t a golden age of sports movie is going to get a disappointed head shake from me. So, in honor of the Summer Reading theme of Get in the Game and Flashback Fridays, I will be nerding out about the sports movies from my childhood that made me the avid sports fan I am today.
The Mighty Ducks
Gordon Bombay gets in trouble with the law after a drunk driving incident and is forced to coach a, quite frankly, terrible peewee hockey team called District 5. Of course, they end up being all glorious in the end. If ever I had a comfort movie, it is The Mighty Ducks. It made me the hockey fan I am today. I don’t think I would have half as much fun in the winter if I wasn’t agonizing over the Devils.
A League of Their Own
Ah the origin of “There’s no crying in baseball.” A League of Their Own tells the story of a wartime women’s baseball team called the Rockford Peaches who were charged with entertaining the country during World War II. And, yes, Tom Hanks played their coach and, yes, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell were amazing in the film. This is definitely one of those girl power movies and I love it.
Rudy has made many a person cry. I will not admit to being one of them. Rudy tells the story of Rudy Ruettiger who overcame great obstacles to achieve his dream of attending and playing football at Notre Dame. The film is truly inspiring, as all good sports movies should be. I am not the biggest football fan on the planet but I love this movie.
Remember the Titans
This is a bit of a cheat since Remember the Titans came out in 2000 but I couldn’t not include it. Remember the Titans tells the true story of a recently desegregated high school football team, the T.C. Williams Titans. It’s an amazing film with some of the best football scenes I have ever scene in a movie. The soundtrack is also amazing.
What combines the mid-'90s amazingness of Michael Jordan and Looney Tunes? The answer is Space Jam. The movie made little to no sense but it combined everything that I loved as a '90s kid. I loved how a sports hero I loved was immersed into the Looney Tunes universe and, even today, I am impressed by how well it worked.
I don’t think I have ever met a '90s kid who did not love The Sandlot. The Sandlot tells the story of Scotty Smalls who moves to a new neighborhood and attempts to join the local sandlot baseball team. The film is a wonderful mix of comedy and sports film with engaging characters and humor that passes the test of time.
I was just starting high school when Varsity Blues came out and oh boy did I love it. I have never been a big fan of football but I love a good football movie. This is James van der Beek at his best. Forget Dawson Leery. I would rather watch Mox Moxson try to overcome the heavy expectations of his football-obsessed father and his overbearing coach than watch Dawson Leery wax philosophical and moon over Joey... or Jenn…
The Cutting Edge
The story begins when two Olympians, one a promising hockey player and the other a spoiled figure skater, collide... literally... right before a game. The collision forces Doug to retire from a promising NHL career and Kate fires her partner halfway through their Olympic program. Of course, the only logical conclusion is that Doug become Kate’s partner for the Nationals and Olympics. There is much conflict, bickering and, of course, romance. This movie was one of my favorites as a child. It combined my love of hockey and figure skating. And it is the reason I walked around yelling “Toe pick” at everyone when I was a child.
I saved the best for last. Miracle tells the story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey team. It captures the time period perfectly as well as the rapture of the victory. It’s the ultimate underdog story and if you don’t like hockey before you watch this film, you will love it after. The hockey scenes were also extremely well done—this is coming from a very picky hockey fan. I will admit to shedding a couple of tears while watching this movie.