Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies

Sports mavens Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow have a new tome, The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies, which lives up to its immodest title. Opinionated, informative and fun, it's guaranteed to launch a million debates and twice as many movie memories in its ranking of the Top 100 sports flicks of all time. I won't tell you what their number one pick is, but it's a boxing film that is not Body and Soul (1947, pictured), the John Garfield-starring expose of corruption in the ring, which I would rank first and these sportsmen rank #18.

The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies

John Garfield (right) decks his opponent in "Body and Soul." More than 60 years after its 1947 release, it remains one of the most searing sports movies ever.
John Garfield (right) decks his opponent in "Body and Soul." More than 60 years after its 1947 release, it remains one of the most searing sports movies ever.

Sports mavens Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow have a  new tome, The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies, which lives up to its immodest title. Opinionated, informative and fun,  it's guaranteed to launch a million debates and twice as many movie memories in its ranking of the Top 100 sports flicks of all time. I won't tell you what their number one pick is, but it's a boxing film that is not Body and Soul (1947, pictured), the John Garfield-starring expose of corruption in the ring, which I would rank first and these sportsmen rank #18.

Among the book's many enjoyable huddles is their "All-Time Movie Football Team," which includes Burt Reynolds ( The Longest Yard )as quarterback, Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jerry Maguire) as wide receiver and LL Cool J  (Any Given Sunday )as running back. Their All-Movie-Star Baseball Team includes Kevin Costner (Bull Durham) as catcher, Michael Moriarty (Bang the Drum Slowly) as pitcher and Wesley Snipes (Major League) as outfielder.

Quibbles? Well, Geena Davis (A League of Their Own) is a pretty awesome catcher, but TOPOSM lists only four femme-centric titles  -- including League -- in its Top 100. Guys will be guys. Smartly,  they include documentaries like Hoop Dreams (#14)  and When We Were Kings (#21).  For me, the only glaring omission from their Top 100 is Personal Best.   But it's their list, and it's pretty damned good. What's on yours?

Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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