Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bill Murray, The Knucklepuck, and Other Underrated Sports Movie Moments

I love a good sports movie. Like any entertaining movie, they have moments—usually at the end—that last forever in our memories. However, there are some underrated moments in various sports films that I would like to share with you. Take a trip down memory lane with me after the random pic...

"Space Jam" - Bill Murray's Toon Squad Contributions:

The Monstars, with the best intro music this side of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, were punishing the Toon Squad with their stolen basketball abilities. Everyone remembers Michael Jordan stretching his arm for the game-winning dunk, but few remember a substitute that helped the Toon Squad complete their furious comeback. With cartoon characters going down left and right, Bill Murray stepped in to be the fifth man and second human alongside His Airness. Turns out, he had skills; and his on-the-court swag was phenomenal. In one behind-the-back pass, he showed that he was a viable NBA fantasy team option in all formats. His highlights are about three and a half minutes into that link.

"D2: The Mighty Ducks" - Russ Tyler's "Knucklepuck"

Everyone remembers the shootout in which Julie "The Cat" Gaffney stopped Gunner Stahl's triple deke (an underrated move in its own right) for the Team USA win; but there was a game-changing player that had a big shot in that game after Charlie Conway voluntarily gave up his spot for him. After getting their butts handed to them by Iceland, Team USA Junior League Hockey was heckled by a chatty kid named Russ Tyler, played by a much younger Kenan Thompson. Team USA challenges Russ' team to a street hockey game, learning toughness along the way. In the gold medal rematch against Iceland, Coach Gordon Bombay drew up a clever play to gave Russ a chance to unleash his Knucklepuck as The USA Ducks were rallying against the heavy favorites. Ze goalie! indeed.

"Blue Chips" - Nick Nolte's Basketball Punt

This one of Shaq's movies that were good, probably because he didn't talk much (Kazaam = wack). If you remember this movie, then the first thought that comes to your mind is Shaq and Penny (when he had knees) showcasing their youthful exuberance for fictional Western University. Or, you may remember that this scene was about "friends of the program" illegally using gifts to garner the services of top-level recruits. But in the opening scene, Coach Pete Bell (Nolte) goes Bobby Knight on a ref and throws a massive tantrum. He displays perfect punting form, even in an ugly sweater and wingtips. Bet Steve Nash can't do that. Oh, wait...he can.

"Friday Night Lights" - James "Boobie" Myles' Running Back-ness

Yeah, Friday Night Lights was a great depiction of the true story about Permian (TX) high school football. That's fine. But the legend of Boobie Myles is what is underrated about this film. He was Barry Sanders in an absurd-looking fade, with the personality of Deion Sanders. Derek Luke as Myles was my favorite character, and the movie became less interesting after he shredded his knee from being overused by Coach Gary Gaines, played by Billy Bob Thornton. He was easily the best player in the movie, and the actor most accustomed to playing the sport. His moves were fluid and smooth. Let's hope Derek Luke portrays Diddy as well as he did Myles.

I'm sure I'm leaving out many moments that aren't as heralded as the climaxes of the various sports movies out there. Leave them in the comments.


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