Some people might argue that February is the worst month to be a sports fan, but the middle of July is at least as uneventful. With little else happening, it’s a good time to pop in a movie. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: We are square in the middle of the dog days of summer. The Cubs and White Sox are not going to snap me out of this mid-July malaise. It’s time to line up some sports movies for the next few days.
Styf: I hear “Turbo” is coming out soon. I won’t be watching. But if you have Netflix on your live stream, make sure you watch “Undefeated,” a cool documentary on a Memphis high school football team without many resources. Or “Boys of Summer,” on the Curacao Little League team. This happens later, but did you know they had Jurickson Profar, Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons? Three top young shortstops on one team, ridiculous. You’ll see why if you watch.
Musick: You’re speaking my language, even though the Curacao film title sounds kind of blah. They should have called it “Charlie and the Shortstop Factory.” If we’re talking fictional baseball clubs, it’s always worth 90-ish minutes to hang out with Benny the Jet, Squints, Yeah-Yeah and everybody else who makes “The Sandlot” so great. That might be on my agenda for tonight.
Styf: I was trying to avoid the obvious and give people some real recommendations. You like “Field of Dreams” and “Bull Durham,” too, I guess? “Major League?” You like the 30 for 30 documentaries too? Come on, Tom. Our readers have seen those. But have they seen “Summer Catch” (an embarrassing one I like you probably can’t find starring Freddie Prinze Jr.)? How about a gritty one like “Basketball Diaries,” back before Leonardo DiCaprio was Leo. “Trouble with the Curve” isn’t bad. Again, on Netflix live stream (I don’t have cable), I’d recommend the documentary “Knuckleball.” Maybe “Happy Gilmore” is more your speed.
Musick: Why don’t you just go HOME? That’s your HOME! Are you too good for your HOME? Sorry, I got a little carried away thinking about “Happy Gilmore,” which is another 1990s gem. Anyway, I didn’t realize I was talking to such a film hipster. Let’s see if I can come up with something semi-obscure. How about “The Power of One”? It’s kind of about boxing, but it’s really about race and apartheid. It’s kind of heavy for the summertime, so make sure you’re in the right mood to watch it.
Styf: I just don’t want to waste our readers’ time, like you like to. I care about them, deeply. Like Charles Comiskey cared about his players in “Eight Men Out.” Wait, maybe that came off wrong. I can tell you it’s a good idea to watch “Head Games” if you care about football. Or “Unguarded” or “Into the Wind” or “The Marinovich Project” (I’m sure you already saw “Benji”), three ESPN films, if you haven’t. The best random part of “Benji” is that you find out Common was his neighbor and R. Kelly was his high school teammate at Simeon while Juwan Howard and so many others grew up looking up to Ben Wilson. No R. Kelly jokes, Tom. Don’t even go there.
Musick: OK, fine, I have trapped all of my R. Kelly jokes in the closet. You are right about “Benji.” And for anyone who never saw “Hoop Dreams,” add that to your queue. I think my buddy Siskel over here would agree that it’s a must-see.
Styf: I avoided it for the same reason I didn’t mention “Hoosiers,” “Miracle,” “Moneyball,” the “Rocky” movies and “Cinderella Man.” I’d rather recommend something they probably haven’t seen. Go find “Murderball” or, if you’re feeling sappy, “For Love of the Game” and call me in the morning.