Ever watch a movie try to pull off a legitimate sports scene and firmly plant your face in your palm at how unrealistic it is? Keeping in mind that films like Happy Gilmore and Semi-Pro are intentionally spoofing their chosen sports, here are 12 of the worst offenders when it comes to unrealistic movie sports scenes.
12. Major League II (1994)—Indians outfielder stands on top of wall for catch
Granted, Major League II, while not as good as the original, was still a pretty decent movie. Part of its charm was the fact that the majority of the baseball scenes had a fair amount of realism, save for this one, where an Indians outfielder sprints to the outfield wall, climbs it, then balances on top of it with perfect aplomb to make a ridiculous, home-run robbing catch.
I’d gather that even on his best days Ken Griffey Jr. would never be able to execute such a risky move, let alone even attempt it. But a Cleveland Indians player can pull it off, thus clinching the division for the Tribe? Yeah, right Hollyweird.
11. The Fan (1996)—DeNiro dresses as ump, kills John Kruk
In 1996’s The Fan Robert DeNiro plays Gil, a fan obsessed with Giants star Bobby Rayburn, played by Wesley Snipes. The movie’s final scene has Gil masquerading as an umpire, and after he reveals himself to be Snipes’ character’s stalker, kills John Kruk before confronting Rayburn, because apparently it’s easier than bedding Lindsay Lohan to sneak onto the field of a Major League baseball stadium dressed as an umpire.
Despite the fact that there is a typhoon going on and the stadium doesn’t have working lights, the game is played without delay. Obviously even a crazed, homicidal fan would have a much more difficult time sneaking his way into a baseball game to confront the object of his obsession than most, even one as charming, yet menacing as Bobby DeNiro. The filmmakers could have easily made up for this egregious scene if only they had someone in the crowd yell “Hey! It’s Enrico Palazzo” when DeNiro removed his umpire’s mask.
10. Catwoman (2004)—The one-on-one basketball scene
You’d think that a movie boasting Halle Berry in a skin tight leather outfit would have been somewhat redeeming, but no, this pile of dreck was so bad it garnered nothing but bad reviews and seven Razzie nominations. If you want an example of why Catwoman was so terrible (aside from the acting, directing, screenwriting, visual effects, catering, etc.), look no further than this scene involving Berry’s Patience Phillips and Benjamin Bratt’s Tom Lone, where the two play the worst one-on-one basketball the streets of New York have ever seen.
That was less a basketball game than it was some sort of feral feline mating ritual taking place on a basketball court in front of a bunch of kids. Not sure what was more unbelievable about the final dunk—the fact that Catwoman executed it from a standstill, or that Bratt didn’t call Berry for a charge.
9. Top Gun (1986)—The testosterone fueled beach volleyball scene
Arguably the most homoerotic sports centric moment in film history, the beach volleyball game between Maverick/Goose and IceMan/Slider is so full of ridiculousness it’s hard to know where to begin.
First off, Tom Cruise is all of 5-foot-6, and a regulation beach volleyball net is nearly 8-feet in height. Unless Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has a vertical leap of 46 inches there’s no way he’s getting up for all those devastating spikes, especially while wearing blue jeans. And volleyball prowess aside, I doubt very highly that a team consisting of Cruise and his pancake titties, and Anthony Edwards and his total lack of muscle definition would be able to best a team of Val Kilmer and whoever the guy was that played Slider, both of whom were in peak physical condition in 1986. Criticize that volleyball scene all you want because it’s totally warranted, but do not criticize “Playing With the Boys.” Kenny Loggins had the voice of a sexy, bearded angel.
8. The Scout (1994)—Steve Nebraska’s 81-pitch, 27-K perfect game
Admittedly I’ve never seen The Scout, and from what I’ve heard I’m probably not in the minority. While the comedy, starring Brendan Fraser and Albert Brooks, was supposed to be borderline outrageous, asking the audience to believe that Fraser’s Steve Nebraska could toss an 81-pitch, 27-K perfect game in the World Series (and hit two solo home runs to boot) is a bit much.
Maybe Nebraska’s performance isn’t so difficult to believe, since there was a time Hollywood convinced many of us that Brendan Fraser was a bankable actor.
7. Tin Cup (1996)—Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy holes out from 235-yards
Kevin Costner’s Tin Cup was a nice little movie form the ‘90s, with a top notch supporting cast, and truth be told, some terrifically realistic golf scenes, thanks in large part to Costner’s natural athletic ability and professional looking golf swing. But the scene where Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy puts ball after ball after ball in the drink before holing out from 235-yards away with his last ball in the U.S. Open nearly blew the good feelings of the whole movie, because not only was it wholly unrealistic, it very nearly insulted our collective intelligence.
The scene would have had the same dramatic effect had McAvoy just got it on the green, close to the hole, but no, they had to have him drain the shot, because it’s apparent that filmmakers don’t think you can have enough drama crammed down your cram hole. Almost as unbelievable as that shot was the idea that two men would actually fight over Rene Russo, who, by my calculations, was 83-years-old at the time of filming.
6. Driven (2001)—Stallone and protégé race Indy Cars through streets of Chicago
Sly Stallone used the clout he acquired from his successful Rocky and Rambo franchises to put out some real stinkers, with 2001’s Driven, which he wrote and produced, being one of them. Without going into too much detail, it involves a Champ Car driver being brought out of retirement to mentor a young hot shot, and yadda yadda yadda, they end up driving a couple of open wheeled race cars through the streets of Chicago, because YOLO.
Driven was directed by Renny Harlin, and along with Harlin’s other opus, Cutthroat Island, is but one terrible film away from completing his Steaming Pile of Crap trilogy.
5. The Super (1991)—Joe Pesci’s character slam dunks
You may have some trouble recalling 1991’s The Super, since it was a Joe Pesci vehicle that didn’t have Pesci playing a diminutive, but violent gangster alongside Robert DeNiro. One of the scenes in the flick involves Pesci’s Louie Kritski and his two buddies (including the always captivating Reuben Blades) playing basketball against a trio of locals, who, it turns out are just hustling Pesci’s gang. But still, the idea that the 5-foot-3 Pesci can dunk with ease is pretty far-fetched, especially when you catch a glimpse of the rest of his basketball “skills.”
Questionable shooting skills aside, you have to admit that Pesci’s spider monkey on meth defense is pretty stout.
4. Twilight (2008)—Baseball Scene
If there’s anything those dreadful Twilight movies have taught us, and it hasn’t, it’s that vampires enjoy a good game of baseball like us normal mortals. Problem with the undead’s version of baseball is that it barely resembles the National Pastime we all know and love, because these vampires are sparkly, beautiful, Herculean ballplayers who can only play in extreme weather situations.
Still a better exhibition of baseball than your typical Mets-Cubs game.
3. The Last Boy Scout (1991)—Billy Cole’s pistol packing touchdown run
Having never seen this Bruce Willis action flick, let me just say that the opening scene in which WR Billy Cole (ably played by Billy “Tae-Bo” Blanks) catches a pass, then makes his way into the end zone by any means necessary, is near insanity. Based on reasons which I won’t go into due to time constraints, let’s just say that Cole needs to score TDs or bad things will happen to him. Of course this means he has to take some PCP, then go out and shoot three opponents during his crazy touchdown run, before turning the gun on himself.
Too bad Cole killed himself, otherwise he might have gotten a tryout with the Bengals. He had that rare combination of size, speed, good hands, and stellar marksmanship.
2. Any Given Sunday (1999)—The Eyeball Scene
Any Given Sunday had a chance to be a truly epic football movie, but unfortunately Oliver Stone turned it into a cocaine-fueled narcissistic arthouse film session that culminated in the now infamous “eyeball” scene.
Not sure why both lines just collapsed on themselves after the ball was snapped, but the pressure of over two tons of humanity probably caused that dude’s eyeball to pop out. Pacino’s face in this scene is classic, as it can be applied to seeing a human eyeball on the field, or that shining moment when he realized he actually agreed to be in this movie.
1. The Program (1993)—The Final Play
Once again, I have never seen The Program, but sufficed it to say, the final play may be the Super Bowl MVP of unrealistic sports scenes. Needing a TD to win, ESU star quarterback Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer) pulls off the amazingly incredible, highly improbable, totally illegal last second play for the 13-10 win over Georgia Tech.
Putting aside the fact that Omar Epps ran the single worst route ever drawn in the history of college football (as well as having the single worst bit of voice dubbing in movie history), the play should have been whistled dead as an incomplete pass once Sheffer lost the ball (tuck rule apologists need not apply). I’m willing to forgive this error because any movie starring James Caan—Sonny Corleone from The Godfather and a guy who practically owned the Playboy Mansion back when the worst thing you could catch in the grotto was a the clap—and Craig Sheffer, the guy who did a fantastic job on my lawn last summer, gets a pass in my book, albeit barely.
Any Given Sunday image: YouTube