UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

Editors’ Picks: All-Time favorite sports movies


Editor-in-Chief Liz Davis, Managing Editor Brandon Peña, Assistant Editor Jeremy Gingrich and the Webmaster share their favorite sports movies. Click on each title for a link to the film’s trailer.

Jeremy Gingrich, assistant editor

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)                            

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson were comedy gold together as two basketball players from different backgrounds who team up to hustle opponents, and even each other. This movie has the perfect blend of comedy and engaging basketball scenes for hoops fans who like to laugh.

The Sandlot (1993)

“You’re killing me smalls!” is just one of the many classic lines from a staple classic for all 90’s kids. As a kid who grew up playing baseball at my local field with friends, this movie was pretty much an exact representation of my childhood – only cooler, because I never outran The Beast like Benny did.

Rocky IV (1985)

As a huge fan of the entire series, the 4th installment was always my favorite because it was the most emotional. After crying when Ivan Drago killed Rocky’s best friend, Apollo Creed, in the boxing ring, we were cheering for Rocky as he defeated Drago in Russia later in the film.

Brian’s Song (1971)

This is an old one that most people today probably don’t know about, but Brian’s Song really pulls out your heart strings no matter how old you are. The film is based on a true story of two Chicago Bears teammates who become best friends who experience the highs and lows of football and life.


Bull Durham (1988)

Baseball season in my house starts with the annual viewing of Bull Durham. Yes, it’s baseball. Yes, it’s Kevin Costner. But in the extensive line-up of Kevin Costner baseball movies, Bull Durham is hands-down the best. Throw together Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, fascist strikeouts, baseball groupies, a cursed glove, some musings on the Church of Baseball and Crash Davis’ truly unforgettable “I believe” speech, and you have a cinematic homerun. To top it all off, the story is told from a woman’s perspective, a definite rarity in the world of sports movies.

The Natural (1984)

I was raised on baseball. My father’s Essential Life Lesson #1: For every situation in life, there’s a baseball metaphor to be found. My Adult Addendum to Essential Life Lesson #1: Baseball movie metaphors don’t count. Watch The Natural. Then read Bernard Malamud’s book of the same name, upon which the movie was based. Then you’ll see why I had to come up with the Adult Addendum. Harsh life lessons aside, the final ballpark scene gives me chills no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

Fun fact: In preparing for the movie, Robert Redford said he modeled his swing after Ted Williams’. Roy Hobbs wears No. 9 for the New York Knights, another nod to Williams.

The Hustler (1961)

I owe Fast Eddie Felson for my only party trick: quoting this movie verbatim. While the timeless allure of a young Paul Newman is what initially piqued my interest in the movie, it’s the story that’s brought me back thousands of times. It’s not a happy film, or an easy film. At its essence, The Hustler is about what it means to be human, the good, the bad, the winners, the losers and, yes, the hustlers. (Don’t watch the linked clip if you don’t want spoilers.)

Bad News Bears (1976)

I have Buttermaker’s rag-tag hooligan team to thank for quite the colorful vocabulary at a young age. (It’s also likely I have this movie to thank for the forced etiquette lessons at a young age, make of that what you will.) There’s no romanticism or heroics to be found, and there’s plenty that makes the Bad News Bears “bad,” but the movie’s ending solid gold. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Lupus; I will always be slightly envious of Amanda and her negotiating skills (though I know who Catfish Hunter is, thankyouverymuch); and I will always be in awe of Tanner for telling it like it is.

Liz Davis, editor-in-chief

The Replacements (2000)

This movie follows Keanu Reeves and a group of misfits that are the substitutes for a football team on strike. This is a classic movie that I can never turn off once it comes on TV. It has a unique plot for a sports movie while still representing the underdogs. A+ on soundtrack too!

Varsity Blues (1999)

If this movie doesn’t showcase Texas pride, then I don’t know what does. The movie follows James Van Der Beek as he replaces the all-star quarterback, and learns to deal with small town fame. While the film has a serious message about concussion protocol and drug use, the overall tone of the film is comedic.

Summer Catch (2001)

This romantic-comedy/sports movie is what got me to love baseball. Freddie Prinze Jr.,local baseball prospect, gets an opportunity to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Chatham Athletics. The film has a lot of familiar faces, including Matthew Lillard and Jessica Biel. This movie always takes me back to the 2000s.

The Color of Money (1986)

The sequel to “The Hustler,” a young Tom Cruise learns the ways of pool from the master, Paul Newman. The movie portrays pool as a intense sport and addiction. This film also led to other movies such as “Poolhall Junkies.” Tom Cruise is hideous in this movie, but he plays pool well enough to make Fats Domino proud.

Brandon Peña, managing editor

Space Jam (1996)

Every 90s kid knows exactly how amazing this movie is. The soundtrack is jam worthy even today and the Monstars inspired countless classroom group names. It’s that movie that truly makes you believe you can fly like an eagle.

A League of Their Own (1992)

There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no denying Geena Davis is literally in a league of her own. This movie is not only hilarious, but it speaks to the gender equality in baseball that needs a return.

Bring It On (2000)

Awesome! Oh wow! Like totally freak me out, I mean right on! Hawks sure are number one. Make no mistake, cheerleading is a sport and to anyone who disagrees, “Bring. It. On.” It’s that campy comedy that was so unique at the time that it’s now a millennial classic.

The Next Karate Kid (1994)

This movie brought out the inner martial artist in me as a kid. While my career as a karate kid didn’t work out this film inspired me to stand up for myself.  “Fighting not good. But if must fight…win.” – Mr. Miyagi

Also published on Medium.