Since the brackets and seeds were announced on March 7, 2015, 48 films have been eliminated and we are now matching up great sports films against each other. As subjective as this process has been, there are only slight differences that will make one particular film victorious over another. The match-up summaries and results for the “Sweet 16” are as follows:
Raging Bull (#1)
Chariots of Fire (#5)
Just as in the sports world, there are some franchises that are just expected to win. Here, it cannot be ignored that “Raging Bull” is always mentioned as one of the top films of all time. I happen to believe in “Chariots of Fire” is a masterpiece but not enough to unseed one of the all-time greatest. The “Bull” rages on.
Both stories are about such extreme underdogs that no one would give them even a fighting chance. Even though Al Michaels asked us if we believe in miracles in reference to the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, there are miracles and there are impossibilities. Here, there is no way that a film like “Miracle” could last even a few rounds against “Rocky.”
Elite 8 East Match-Up: Raging Bull (#1) vs. Rocky (#2)
Remember The Titans (#1)
Cool Runnings (#12)
I just happened to be channel surfing the other day when I came across “Remember The Titans” on one of the cable stations. As is true for many of the films that remain in the field, this movie stands the test of time. If I had happened upon “Cool Runnings,” I would have been very entertained but it is no match to the “We are the Titans. The mighty, mighty, Titans.”
Bull Durham (#2)
Tin Cup (#3)
Kevin Costner against Kevin Costner. But which one will prevail? He has shown us that he has sufficient athleticism to look like a pro golfer and look like a baseball player more than once. On my scale, that is a must for a great sports film. So, which is the better film? I really enjoyed “Tin Cup” and it is hard to go against it but “Bull Durham” is iconic. No upset here, except for one of the Kevin Costners. “Bull Durham” knocks it out of the park.
Elite 8 South Match-Up: Remember The Titans (#1) vs. Bull Durham (#2)
Hoosiers (Basketball, 1986) # 1 Seed
Field of Dreams (Baseball, 1989) #4 Seed
It could be argued that “Field of Dreams” deserved a higher seed than #4 but there is not much argument that could be made against “Hoosiers” getting the top seed in this region. It had great acting, a great musical score and a “can’t-miss” story. “Field of Dreams” was a far riskier proposition because it required us to accept that a man who was hearing voices coming from a field of corn was anything other than delusional. We don’t leave the film thinking the voices were real. We just leave the film not caringwhether they were real. “Field of Dreams” is true filmmaking and artistry. What comes down to the splitting of hairs, “Hoosiers” was more directly a sports film and it therefore deserves the victory in this match-up. Another Kevin Costner film bows out.
Rudy (Football, 1993) # 2 Seed
A League of Their Own (Baseball, 1992) #6 Seed
The Sweet 16 in the Mid-West Region goes “chalk” as “Rudy” is just a bit more memorable and captivating between two really good stories. “A League of Their Own” does not lose; rather, Rudy just wins.
Elite 8 Mid-West Match-up: Hoosiers (#1) vs Rudy (#2)
Caddyshack (Golf, 2006) #8 Seed
Million Dollar Baby (Boxing, 2004) #12 Seed
A number 8 against a number 12 seed this late in the tournament? Yes, and both worthy of being here. I have said it before and I will say it again. “Million Dollar Baby” is a special film. It is far easier to make a comedy about sports. It is far easier to tell the underdog story in sports. But making a film that centers around women’s professional boxing, a sport that few even know still exist (other than Leila Ali) and then to make that story so compelling, that is something. One more upset for the seven figure girl, and Caddyshack finally bows out.
Happy Gilmore (Golf, 1996) # 2 Seed
Karate Kid (Martial Arts, 1984) # 3 Seed
Happy Gilmore tried it all, including Shooter McGavin attempting to sweep Daniel-son’s knee. But Mr. Miyagi continues to work his magic and Happy Gilmore misses the cut.
Elite 8 West Match-up: Million Dollar Baby (#12) v Karate Kid (#3)
Next up: The Elite 8.