BY KENDALL ERICKSON
It’s America’s national pastime, and Hollywood loves portraying it on the big screen just as much as they love watching it in the stadiums. There’s something about watching a character achieve the impossible, or be reminded of the important things in life. Family, friends, a lot of heart. These are some of the things that baseball movies bring to the table, that and they remind us why we loved the game in the first place.
With the release of Brian Helgeland’s critically acclaimed Jackie Robinson biopic 42, we take a look back at some other memorable baseball movies.
5) Angels in the Outfield
This 1994 Walt Disney film is definitely “fluffy” movie, but one I have a soft spot for. This was the movie that my Grandpa would actually sit down and watch with me from start to finish when I was a little kid. It tells the story of a little boy who wants nothing more than a family. One night he prays for one on the condition that the California Angels win the pennant, and his wish soon becomes reality when he learns that angels have been assigned to the team to make his dream possible. This is one of those movies that is not particularly great, nor particularly bad, but it is definitely a feel good film, and one that you can watch with your family. Plus, it has some big names in it such as Christopher Lloyd, Danny Glover, and Tony Danza.
4) The Benchwarmers
While this movie won’t go down in history as being one of the greats, it is stupidly funny. Starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder, it tells the story of three friends who decide to form a three person baseball team to make up for what they feel were missed opportunities in childhood. The guys end up taking part in a tournament against all of the other “bully” baseball teams in the city in the hopes of teaching the mean kids a lesson. It’s not cinematic gold, but it will make you laugh. (The scene in the car when they drive by mailboxes and whack them with a baseball bat comes to mind as one that will have you in stitches.)
3) The Rookie
Sadly, I think the thing that most people think about when they hear about this movie now is: “Oh yeah, that kid from Two and a Half Men is in it.” Either way, it’s not a bad one to check out. It tells the true story of a high school teacher/baseball coach (Dennis Quaid) who makes a bet that he will try out for the major leagues if the high school team he coaches makes it to the playoffs. When the high school team starts to win, he finds himself on the journey to becoming the oldest baseball player in the major leagues.
2) A League of Their Own
Girl power! This movie, starring the incomparable Tom Hanks, tells the story of the Rockford Peaches, an all-female baseball team. The movie focuses on Dottie and Kit Keller, two sisters who have a poor relationship except when it comes to baseball. When the two sisters both became members of the Rockford Peaches, it doesn’t take long for Kit to feel like she is once again living in her sisters’ shadow. When Kit is transferred to a different team, the sisters soon begin to stop focussing on winning, but rather on the fun they used to have together while playing baseball together.
1) Field of Dreams
This one is truly a classic, nominated for three Oscars, including the 1989 Academy Award for Best Picture. The film stars Kevin Costner, who plays a farmer from Iowa name Ray Kinsella. Ray starts hearing voices telling him: “If you build it, he will come.” He takes it as a sign to turn his cornfield into a baseball diamond. When he does this, the ghosts of the seven Chicago White Sox players who were banned from the game in 1919 for blowing the World Series appear. As the film’s tagline says: “All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him.”