Point-counterpoint: Best sports movie ever

first_imgAckerstein:From the moment Ray Kinsella shares with us the story of how he arrived in Iowa to the final tear-jerking catch with his dad at the movie?s close, ?Field of Dreams? makes its case as not only the best sports movie ever made, but the best movie. Period.Unlike other movies falling under the sports genre, ?FOD,? as us diehards abbreviate it, doesn?t need an underdog to win the big game or an athlete to cross racial or gender boundaries in order to inspire. Instead, the movie relies on each of its characters? quests for personal redemption to make it so wonderful.Ray Kinsella shouldn?t have abandoned his father. John Kinsella shouldn?t have driven him away. Joe Jackson shouldn?t have taken gamblers? money. Terence Mann shouldn?t have abandoned the generation he inspired with his writing. But they, like all of us, deserve a second chance.In the end, they get it in baseball.?Field of Dreams? may not be as funny as ?Caddyshack? or as hard-hitting as ?Any Given Sunday,? but it blows the others out of the water with its ability to make us believe in the magic of baseball without going overboard and telling us it?s the only thing that matters.Moonlight Graham, in a climactic scene, gives up the game after just one plate appearance (and not even an official at-bat) because he understands there are more important things in life than baseball ? namely, family.More than a sports flick, ?Field of Dreams? is really a movie about family and hope that just uses baseball as a way of conveying it.If you build it, he will come. ?Field of Dreams? goes the distance.Mason:?Field of Dreams? is great; I’ll give it that. But it’s not the best sports movie of all time. In fact, it’s not even the best baseball movie.That title belongs to ?The Sandlot.? It’s an underdog story, really, of Scotty Smalls, who moves to a new neighborhood and tries awkwardly to make new friends. After several failed attempts, the athletically inclined Smalls, goofy wardrobe and all, finds himself on the baseball diamond with notable characters Hamilton ?The Great Hambino? Porter and Benjamin Franklin ?Benny? Rodriguez.What makes the Sandlot great was that it was more than just a baseball movie; it was also a tale of romance. Who can forget Michael ?Squints? Palledorous? creepy obsession with pool lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn? The faking of his drowning just to score with the babealicious Peffercorn was brilliant!But what really makes the movie a classic ? and the best sports movie ever ? is the scene involving ?The Beast,? a dog that lives on the other side of the fence from the sandlot. After Benny hits the gang’s only ball over the fence and into the Beast’s domain, all appears lost for the day.But Smalls comes to the rescue when he runs home and steals his stepdad’s Babe Ruth-autographed baseball. Clearly, the baseball-illiterate Smalls has no idea who ?Baby? Ruth is or how valuable the ball could be, but they play with it anyway. Then, in the most unlikely of scenarios, Smalls himself knocks the collectible ball over the wall, and the rest is history.Smalls makes friends. Squints gets the babe. Everyone wins with ?The Sandlot.?last_img