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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

The Magnificent Seven: the worst sports movies ever

See if you agree with our picks highlighting the disastrous results that often occur when Hollywood and sport come together.

7. Fever Pitch



Synopsis: Not the English version of the film, but the bastardised American remake of Nick Hornby’s novel. Jimmy Fallon is hopelessly obsessed with his team, but is ultimately forced to choose between watching them play a vital season-defining match and travelling with his girlfriend (Drew Barrymore) to Paris. Which option will he choose? Only anyone who’s ever seen a romantic comedy before knows the answer.

Token ludicrous idea: American remakes in general are seldom worth the time or effort.

What the critics said: “Even Boston Red Sox fans are likely to turn away in disgust” – Washington Post.

6. Wimbledon



Synopsis: A hapless British player (Paul Bettany) is on the verge of retiring until he meets an attractive female counterpart (Kirsten Dunst) who inspires him to new heights. Kirsten Dunst prances around in an annoying fashion. Paul Bettany does a bad Tim Henman impression. Not much else happens.

Token ludicrous idea: A British tennis player winning Wimbledon.

What the critics said: “There’s no script to speak of, just two actors volleying comic-romantic cliches at each other” – Rolling Stone (subscription required).

5. The Calcium Kid



Synopsis: One of the many films that helped kill Orlando Bloom’s post-Lord of the Rings career, Jimmy ‘The Calcium Kid’ Connelly (he drinks a lot of milk for some reason) is thrust into the limelight after he unexpectedly gets a shot at the middleweight championship when the original fighter pulls out through injury. Replete with numerous Rocky references and a stereotypical Irish trainer, this film is likely to cause more pain and trauma than a couple of rounds with Floyd Mayweather.

Token ludicrous idea: Orlando Bloom as a boxer.

What the critics said: “Bloom gives a performance that’s as bland as a pint of semi-skinned” – The Times (subscription required).

4. Kazaam



Synopsis: Although not technically a sports movie, the fact that it stars Shaquille O’Neal means all of basketball is guilty by association. Shaq stars as a genie. There’s not much more you need to know really. Quite how a movie with that premise was made is beyond me.

Token ludicrous idea: Where to start?

What the critics said: “As for Shaquille O’Neal, given his own three wishes the next time, he should go for a script, a director and an interesting character” – Chicago Sun Times.

3. Mr 3000



Synopsis: Bernie Mac stars as Stan Ross, aka Mr 3000 – a baseball player who decides to retire immediately after securing the 3000 hits needed for automatic entry into baseball’s hall of fame. However, three of his hits are subsequently disqualified and the 47-year-old forces himself to return in order to retain his status as Mr 3000. Following his return, Ross rediscovers his passion for the game and undergoes a complete personality change over the course of the film’s hour and 40 minutes in the way only movie characters can.

Token ludicrous idea: Making a film that includes every sports cliche ever conceived.

What the critics said: “The story has all the honest spontaneity of a post-game interview” – Entertainment Weekly.

2. Rocky IV



Synopsis: When Rocky’s friend Apollo Creed is brutally beaten by Russian boxer Ivan Drago, the iconic character seeks revenge and is invited to take on Drago in the ring. Age and fitness are against Rocky, so will he do the unthinkable and knock out his formidable opponent? Of course he will – and the sheer lack of anything of interest going on (at least III had Mr T in it), coupled with the odd bit of racism for good measure, means it just about beats V as the worst Rocky movie ever.

Token ludicrous idea: The conceit that Soviet fans would ever cheer for an American against one of their own stretches the boundaries of realism just a tad.

What the critics said: “Ridiculous jingoistic nonsense” – Empire Magazine.

1. Ed



Synopsis: A chimp befriends Matt LeBlanc and becomes a successful baseball player. Need I go on?

Token ludicrous idea: The fact that the filmmakers expected viewers to waste an hour and a half of their lives on this movie.

What the critics said: “One thing you can say for Ed, a chimpanzee whose baseball-playing expertise propels the Rockets, a minor-league team, to glory: his behaviour is a lot more human than any of the other characters in this flimsy, laugh-free family comedy” – New York Times.

What do you think is the worst sports movie ever?


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