It’s Friday night and somewhere in London Olympic athletes are playing poker with Olympic Medals (it’s true, I seen it [I didn’t really seen it]). Micheal Phelps is lounging on a water bed thinking about swimming and Subway sandwiches, while Gabby “the flying squirrel” Douglas does somersaults around the room because she’s so excited her parents aren’t there to send her to bed. Silver Medalists are crying and Bronze Medalists are peeing themselves with excitement because they’re just happy to have placed. Meanwhile, here, sitting at my computer desk with a Diet Dr. Pepper and a keyboard I’m going to try and write a piece about Olympic-esque movies. Records are being broken on the other side of the earth, and people are accomplishing some of the most amazing feats possible all in one place, and I’m going to try and capture a list of the eightest and greatest sports movies that embody that spirit.
8. The Cutting Edge- I loved this movie when I was a kid. I know that makes me less of a man, and I can’t really say it was because I had a crush on D.B. Sweeney or Moira Kelley. I just really liked it. It’s about a Winter sport and we’re in the Summer games, but the atmosphere is fun and it has that triumphant return that you need to make this list.
7. The Karate Kid- OK, I’m cheating a tiny bit here (A whole lot YOU CHEATING ****** ******!!!!). This movie doesn’t even have anyone aspiring to go to the Olympics, nor is it about a sport that’s even featured in the Olympics. But it’s a great movie, and the only movies I know about Judo or Taekwondo are… there are none!
6. The Mighty Ducks- Another Winter sport, but this Disney classic is so fun you’ll have to bury it twice. They don’t go to the Olympics they go to the Goodwill Games in part 2, but it’s very Olympic-esque. Having the Team USA vs Iceland tension, and the spirit in this movie was so awesome it inspired a professional team to adopt their name.
5. Ladybugs- Thinking about it, though there are movies a plenty about the Olympics or sporting events and trials leading up to the Olympics, but all the best geeky movies about sports seem to be missing some element of it. Like Ladybugs. Brilliantly hilarious movie (I may be telling too much about my taste with these picks). It also has the late Jonathan Brandis and Jacke’e. No Olympic contention though. However it is about that great underdog spirit that we love in sports. And they’re playing soccer in London!
4. Munich- Okay, the list has taken on a mind of its’ own. Munich is about Israeli retaliation for the events that happened during the 1972 Olympic games. The Israeli government decides to seek revenge for the murders that happened during the games and goes on a wicked killing spree. They have shooting in the Olypics (I’m stretching, this is getting ridiculous).
3. Miracle- We’re back on track. This movie is about an American underdog team going to the Olympics. True story. The 1980 American Hockey team (spoiler alert!) wins the gold at the Winter Olympics, despite low expectations and having Kurt Russell as a coach. It has one of the most inspiring speeches as team USA is down and out and about to give up hope. I never thought Captain Ron could make me cry, but something about that haircut makes me wanna believe in him.
2. Across The Tracks- The dream team of Ricky Schroeder and Brad Pitt pair up in this youthful tale of brothers who grow up apart, and are reunited through track and field. The competition drives these brothers both closer together and may be the wedge that keeps them apart. It’s really a pretty good movie, despite its 80’s look, feel, and taste. They don’t make it to the Olympics, but I like to dream they did later (maybe in the sequel).
1. Cool Runnings- “You know some people they say they can’t believe… Jamaica we’ve got a bobled team…” This was destined for the one spot. It’s got everything. And it makes me cry every time when they carry their sled across the finish line. Or that scene where the guy with the small head won’t go home with his father and he says, “I’m an Olympian…”. It made me realize that, that’s exactly what those athletes are. Olympians. And Olympian means that you are among the best to have ever existed. Disney may have made every one of these movies (except Munich).
Well, that’s it. I know it got away from me a bit, but it’s still a list. Right? What am I doing? These are good movies though, and I was trying to really capture that spirit. That hope and triumph and that amazing feeling of being part of a team and over coming adversity and all the other things that are on those inspirational posters. This is the list of loosely Olympic sport related movies that captures all of that. It may have been odd and dysfunctional and confusing as to how it actually accomplished anything, but I’m sure when you think about it you’ll find that part inside yourself that gets it. Then you too will want to go out and capture that spirit. Until you do though, you can catch up on Olympic coverage on NBC.
Feel free to disagree with me below or @werewolforigin on twitter.