Sports Illustrated has decided that Bull Durham is the greatest sports movie of all time. Of all time. Let me repeat that…of all time. What the flying monkey fuck are they thinking? It’s not even the best baseball move of all time. That title goes to The Natural. I’m not even sure if Bull Durham is better than Field of Dreams, either.
They rank Bull Durham as better than Rocky and Raging Bull, for Og’s sake. Are they kidding? Is this a joke? I haven’t been asleep for 8 months and it’s April 1st, is it?
Don’t get me wrong. Bull Durham is a great film, but to have it be the number one while The Natural or The Longest Yard don’t even crack the top ten is a crime against humanity.
Plus I think I can throw harder than Tim Robbins. Bah.
Sports Illustrated probably still believes that “Chariots of Fire” was a film about 1950’s hot rods with leaking fuel lines.
What can I say? Sports Illustrated has less than 2% market insertion in any other country outside of the United States. It exemplifies succinctly, more than any other medium or magazine or whatever, how astonishingly insular and conceited the American entertainment industry truly is.
There are so many incredible films about sport which have been made outside of the United States - the list is endless.
Don’t judge Rocky by the sequels… the original was a brilliant piece of film making. Yes, it seems to be old hat now, but when you watch it by itself, it really is a powerful and moving film. I’d put Rocky first on the list, Bull Durham is right up there, but isn’t nearly as strong a film emotionally. FoD is a very emotional film, the father son moment at the end, especially.
Well, duh. It’s an American sports magazine that caters to a mainly American audience. Why would they cover sports their main audience doesn’t care much about? That makes no sense. How much coverage does Inside Sport or Sport First give to MLB, the NFL or the NBA? Not much I’d imagine.
Undoubtedly. But the focus here is on the travesty of Bull Durham being #1, regardless of nationality.
**The Natural, Rocky, **and most recently Seabiscuit are the same type of films - namely, cornball ones. They’re all about the “Big, dramatic, moments” that the entire film builds up to. They slap you over the head with overblown dramatic scenes and lack any sort of subtlety.
That is not to say that they are bad films, hell, most Jimmy Stewart movies are cornball, too.
Bull Durham is funny, original, and bears some actual resemblance to what the action is really like in the sport.
The Longest Yard is to football what Slapshot is to hockey and Happy Gilmore is to golf.
Bull Durham wins because Americans who live and breathe sports but don’t want to look like slug-brained dolts will always over-intellectualize baseball, casting it as some kind of metaphor for the existential being of the inner self, or some crap like that (try reading some of George Will’s essays on the game - you just know he throws like a girl). The fact that Bull Durham had sex and humour in it gives it a slight edge over The Natural. Baseball isn’t really all that exciting a sport (pastime, whatever) and the fact that you don’t get all sweaty playing it seems only to increase its intellectual appeal, for some reason. The other three major sports played in the U.S. (football, basketball and hockey) demand a faster (though irregular) pace than baseball, and how baseball manages to hold onto its appeal remains a mystery to me, but if you want to be a sports fan and seem smart at the same time, you may as well glom onto baseball because the long pauses give you a chance to quote Whitman at length and try to sound intelligent.
Personally, my favourite sports movie is Rutger Hauer’s Blood of Heroes, which can be likened to The Bad News Bears meets Road Warrior.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Rocky, for the three of you out there that haven’t seen it yet.
I don’t see where you get that about Rocky at all. To me, the defining feature of that film is that you don’t get the overblown cornball scene you would expect of a film in the genre: Rocky loses the fight.
What he gains is a moral victory, a redemption of sorts: he’s not just a bum, a guy who lost to another local club fighter at the start of the film. He’s the guy who found it within himself to go the full fifteen with the champ.
As for the list: Hoosiers should be higher. Best basketball movie ever, and amazing because it’s a true story.
And if billiards is considered a sport, The Hustler should be way, way up there.
And where the hell is Caddyshack or Major League?
And Pride of the Yankees, Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, Field of Dreams and Eight Men Out were all better baseball movies than Bull Durham. Hell, Major League is a better baseball movie than Bull Durham. BD’s only redeeming feature is that conference on the mound where they talk about wedding gifts.
In fact, in perusing SI’s “Best Movies By Sport” list, I can pick out a baker’s dozen of entries that are better that Bull Durham, by a long shot.