Hollywood Highlights: Part 2
I hope you all enjoyed the first portion of my take on the best sports movies ever made. I know many of you have told me that I missed certain movies or characters (including a lot of people who are big fans of the film, The Mighty Ducks) but I hope that I didn’t make any egregious selections this time around. As always feel free to comment, make suggestions, and let me know what you think.
Most Clutch Moment: The “Crane” Kick
Daniel LaRusso delivers this iconic kick in the final fight scene in The Karate Kid. It is perhaps the single greatest karate move ever performed. I dare say that the “crane” kick trumps the “roundhouse kick” that Chuck Norris made so famous. What makes this kick ever more impressive is that LaRusso was forced to attempt this move because he was viciously hit in the leg in a prior fight. Let’s get this straight, LaRusso is the underdog, he’s injured by a dirty play, he can barely stand and is fighting his nemesis and the biggest antagonist of 1980’s films, Billy Zabka, who plays Johnny Lawrence. The two are also fighting over the same girl. Think about what is at stake here! LaRusso assumes the position needed to deliver the blow and the tension could have been cut with a (dull, plastic) knife. The intensity level of the room in which you watch the film will be at an all-time high. Lawrence moves in to deliver a blow and LaRusso drops the hammer! Let’s just modestly say that this is one of the most awesome movies moments in the history of American film. Runners-up: Jimmy Chitwood’s Final Shot (Hoosiers), Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy’s Hole-Out on 18 (Tin Cup)
Best Pregame Speech: Tony D’Amato Just watch.
Most Hated Player: Ivan Drago Ivan Drago is the hulking, Russian boxer who takes on Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. Drago is pumped full of steroids and is basically a fighting machine. He is a towering being (6’5 ft. 261 lbs.) that demolishes his competition and comes to the U.S. to fight and demonstrate his manager’s idea of “Soviet superiority.” He fights Apollo Creed and kills him. Yes, that’s correct, he kills him by using boxing gloves and hitting him. Drago shows no remorse after the match saying “if he dies, he dies.” It’s his callous nature that draws Rocky to fight him in Russia. Runners-Up: David Simms (Tin Cup), Johnny Lawrence (The Karate Kid)
Most Hated Coach: John Kreese
John Kreese, the sensei of Cobra Kai, is a ruthless man. He encourages his fighters to fight in an unethical and brutal way. These are teenagers that he is training to deliver maximum pain to other high school kids. The worst moment for Kreese comes when he instructs one of his fighters to “sweep the leg,” of Daniel LaRusso. The move is illegal and the fighter is disqualified for doing so. He instructed his own fighter to severely and intentionally harm another fighter so that Cobra Kai could win a tournament full of high school fighters that are a part of local dojos. Wow. Runners-Up: Red Beaulieu (The Water Boy), Adolph Rupp (Glory Road)
Most Hated Team: Dallas Carter This seems a little unfair. Yes, they run up the score on their opponents and only go for two after touchdowns; but they are still a high school team. I considered finding a team that was more of an antagonist but I felt like this is the one team that everyone was pulling against in Friday Night Lights. Plus, they kick Mike Winchell’s helmet in his face at the end of the 1st half. That is probably what puts them over the top. Ultimately, Permian loses to Dallas Carter so the team that we didn’t want to win ends up winning the state championship. It was one of the more deflating moments in sports movie history.
Actor Who Defines the Genre: Kevin Costner Kevin Costner is the king of sports movies. Costner has starred in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, For the Love of the Game, and Draft Day. The guy has been making sports movies for years and is showing not signs of slowing down. Costner will likely transition himself from an actor who plays athletes and into playing the role of coach in the near future. It is not that Costner has been in the most sports movies (that distinction belongs to Dennis Quaid) but it’s that he has the most notoriety in the genre. Runners-Up: Jamie Foxx, Dennis Quaid, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro
Best Training Montage: Rocky III & IV
Only watching them will do justice.
You have to love “Hearts on Fire” by Passenger. Also, Drago uses PEDs, didn’t see that coming did you?