Best Sports Movie Bracket – Rd. 1 – #2 vs #7

With the world going through a COVID-19 related sports withdrawal, it’s time to escape to the world of film to get our fix in! And since there aren’t any sports to compete in, it’s time to find out what the best sports movie of all time is! We’ve broken all movies into 4 different themed divisions of 8 teams each: Hockey, Baseball, Football and Fighting and The Rest. For the 1st Round, we’ll be looking at specific seeds each day. Today: The 2 seed vs the 7 seed.

Check out the other round 1 matchups here:

Best Sports Movie Bracket – Rd. 1 – #4 vs #5

Hockey: #2 Slap Shot vs #7 D2: The Mighty Ducks

By German Villegas

Hockey fans, I’m here to tell you that if you look at these two movies objectively, by taking off your nostalgia glasses, one is better than the other. And it’s not the one you expect.

Slapshot, a movie about a working-class team wanting to survive and using violence to do so, is a nod to the 70’s style of hockey. But looking back at the movie, it does not hold up. Sure there’s some funny jokes and gags, but the all-out brawls, and the whole lot of homophobic jokes, wears thin pretty quickly, especially to what the game looks like today. Slapshot is iconic because we hadn’t seen a good “hockey movie” before it, but looking back I think we’re safe to admit that it’s kind of messed up.

D2, on the other hand, the sequel to The Mighty Ducks is still very fun. It’s the Rocky IV of hockey movies. Sure it has its own version of violence, but it’s more comical than brutal. D2 has one of the funnest championship games, cool hockey moments (knucklepuck time!) and great villains (The Iceland team, the Ivan Drago of hockey teams).

Actual hockey gets played. It also has a nod to what hockey is now, like creeping commercialization, speed and deftness winning the game, and player diversity. It also has real world NHL implications, it introduced the classic Anaheim Ducks logo design that Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne would wear proudly.

Winner – Slapshot is a classic, but it’s also a relic to the 70’s. Hockey is not like that anymore or should be. Therefore, D2 to me is the clear (albeit controversial) winner.

Baseball: #2 Moneyball vs #7 Major League

By Ed Palumbo

In this matchup, we have two different genres, but two similar storylines. While one film brings the laughs, the other tells a heartfelt, feel-good (and true) story.

Major League, led by iconic characters Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), Willie Mays Hays (Wesley Snipes) and Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), the group of rejects and has-beens made up the fictional 1989 “Cleveland Indians,” who would (spoiler alert) find more success in this movie than any real Indians team in the entirety of the 80’s decade.

They were Cleveland’s heroes — pre-LeBron.

While the acting, dialogue, and awkwardly forced love story aren’t a home run, the main storyline is not only memorable, but even relatable to those fanbases who don’t always agree with their team’s ownership decisions.

In Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s Oscar-winning role as the real-life general manager, Billy Beane, and Jonah Hill’s Oscar-nominated role as the fictional representation of all of Beane’s assistants, meshed together to form a fantastic re-telling of the Oakland Athletics’ 2002 season. Like Major League, Moneyball focuses on an underdog story where the makeup of the team roster is questioned constantly, and nobody gives the protagonists a fighting chance. This one, however, was based on a true story.

The film follows Beane, as the GM deals with wide criticism of his roster decisions, lineup disagreements with the team manager (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman), and the constant testing of his belief in the numbers behind the game of baseball.

Winner – Moneyball. Let’s face it, Moneyball is the better film in most ways, even if Major League’s nostalgia will always have its place in sports movie history. Trapped on an island with one movie to choose, Major League would help pass the time, but Moneyball would motivate the viewer to build a boat.

Football and Fighting: #2 Remember the Titans vs #7 Rocky

By Scotty Hicks

While both of these movies have fairytale endings, one of them will not make it out of the first round of voting. 

Rocky, the beloved underdog has been a favorite of mine for inspirational phrases, soundtrack moments and of course, the most epic training montage. If you have never worked out and pretended to be Rocky, have you really tried your best? I reckon you have not. 

Remember the Titans is “bigger picture” than Rocky, which really sets it apart.  Remember the Titans takes on race, and for a PG Disney film, I think it does a considerable job of telling a historical tale of desegregation in the American South as well as the struggles of integration into everyday life through the lense of football.

A truly beautiful story with too many great characters to mention. Even though the Rocky soundtrack has some highpoints, the Remember the Titans soundtrack nears complete sing-along status for the duration of the film. Bonus feels. 

Side Note: Not to be a downer, but 100s of concussions were probably doled out in these films, both to fictitious characters and most likely in real-life to the actors/stunt workers. This had no impact on my choice, but is worth noting. 

WinnerRemember the Titans

The Rest: #2 Rush vs #7 Dodgeball

By German Villegas

‘Rush’ and ‘Dodgeball’ are two very different movies. While one is funny, the other is a classic.

‘Dodgeball,’ is kind of a spiritual successor to ‘Happy Gilmore’ (Ben Stiller does the same type of character in both movies), a movie about a ragtag team of dodgeball players looking to save their gym. It’s a movie that knows exactly what it’s supposed to be: wacky. And it takes full advantage of that wackiness, with Vince Vaungh, Ben Stiller, and a host of actors (Jason Bateman, Rip Torn, Alan Tudyk, Hank Azaria) hamming it up. It’s a good funny movie, but it’s just that, good.

‘Rush,’ on the other hand, in my honest opinion is one of the best sports movies ever. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as the F1 racers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda, the movie is a dramatization of the memorable 1976 F1 season when they were fierce rivals.

‘Rush’ is exhilarating, the racing scenes are amazing, and Hemsworth and Bruhl really embody those two characters so much that it’s impossible to pick your favorite. Daniel Bruhl specifically puts in a lauded performance. Sure, ‘Dodgeball’ is more quoteable, and it’s scenes are meme-able. But ‘Rush’ deserves to be given it’s full attention, it’s that good. It’s like comparing ‘All The President’s Men’ and ‘Anchorman.’ You’ll laugh out loud in one, but you’ll know which one is the better movie.
Winner – ‘Rush’ to me is the clear winner.

We’ve had our say, now it’s your turn! Vote in the Twitter polls and decide who moves onto the next round. See you next time, when we have the 1 and 8 seeds matching up.

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