I never was that into sports. Okay, I pretty much despised them. I took dance lessons, sure, and I could play HORSE with the best of them, but put me on a team with well, heavy competitive spirit, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
So it doesn’t really make sense that my favorite movies growing up were sports movies. But they were. Sorry I’m not sorry.
First and foremost, I just want to say that this is still my favorite movie to date. If I haven’t said “You’re killing me, Smalls” at least once, it’s an off day. Benny ‘the Jet’ Rodriguez was also my first movie-star crush. Yes, I realize I’m using the term “movie-star” loosely. And, let’s get real: When you couple an underdog storyline and a huge dog named Hercules, you really can’t go wrong.
In a nutshell: New kid moves to neighborhood. Benny takes him under his wing, shows him how to play baseball and basically be a standup kid. New kid wants to fit in so badly, that on losing a ball, he volunteers his new stepdad’s signed Babe Ruth ball from his trophy room. (He doesn’t know who Babe Ruth is.) The rest of the movie is spent trying to get it back after it gets hit into the yard of the terrible “beast”.
But what was it that made this movie so freakin’ awesome? Could it be the innocence of childhood? The power of friendship? The universal understanding of getting so deep into trouble that you will do anything, including risking your life, to get out?
Nope, pretty sure it was Squints.
Spielberg got this movie idea by watching a McDonald’s Super Bowl commercial. (Sorry Spielberg, the real brilliant move was casting Devon Sawa.) Basically, a young girl (Becky aka Icebox) is awesome at football, but her uncle doesn’t pick her for the Pee-Wee team, even though she’s the best one. (WTF.) Later you find out that it’s his weird kind of thinking about how girls shouldn’t play football (again, WTF), but throughout the movie, he changes and you kind of have a soft-spot for the old dude aka the guy from Married with Children aka the guy from Modern Family. Anyway, her dad starts a new team so she can play and all her little friends who didn’t make the team (understandable, they kind of sucked) could play too. Later, she’s hit with a crush, decides to give cheerleading a go at the big game to get him, and then decides that was a bad idea.
This movie is also full of wonderful one-liners (“SPIKE DON’T PLAY WITH GIRLS”), but really the best part is when Becky realizes she should just be herself instead of changing to attract a guy. (Spoiler alert: She does anyway!)
Okay, you got me, the real best part was the icebox’s face when Devon Sawa gets hit by Spike and she gets REAL mad and is all like, “DON’T HIT MY BOYFRIEND BUTTFACE” (she doesn’t say that), and her uncle announces to Spike’s dad (after she enters the field in half cheerleader, half football uniform) “that’s my niece Becky, and she’s PISSED.” Honestly, what a beautiful moment.
Joshua Jackson. Swoon. We really watched him grow up in these movies, didn’t we? (Sidenote: a Pacey recap coming soon.) Even though he had big daddy issues with Coach Bombay, all three of these were staples in my movie rotation.
From GOLDBERG!, to the bash brothers, to knuckle-puck time, and the classic flying V, this is the stuff memories were made of. (Literally).
Stay tuned for more great 90s/sports movies, like Angels in the Outfield and Rookie of the Year…