BEST OF THE BEST?

On the list of best sports movies, you won’t believe what made the cut

Rocky won best picture in 1973. Photo by Getty Images.

What is your favorite sports movie ever? Mine is Slap Shot, with Caddyshack a close second. I've watched them probably 20 times, and each time they get stupider and funnier.

Maybe you've got an idea for a sports movie that's even funnier, more dramatic, or pulls at your heartstrings.

Time is running out for writers to enter their original movie scripts for the Houston International Sports Film Festival's "Screenplay Competition."

The festival, scheduled for June 3-6, is looking for "stories that go beyond the field and show the relationship between sports and life." Judges include producer, director and writer Angelo Pizzo (Hoosiers and Rudy) and writer Brad Gunn (Disney's Invincible). Details of the film festival, including where to send your screenplay, are available at eventhorizonfilms.com. The deadline is April 25.

This will be the first year for the Houston International Sports Film Festival. Winners of the screenplay competition will receive autographed film scripts, professional consultations and tickets to sports events.

I'm a big fan of sports movies, they're practically the only films I watch besides comedies and gangster movies. The festival got me thinking, what are the Top 10 most successful sports movies ever made? The answer is tricky because when you ask the Internet, the list is not only debatable, frankly all 10 have little to do with sports.

To start the argument, the No. 1 biggest money-making sports movie is Furious 7. Released in 2015, the film took in $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. No. 2 is The Fate of the Furious ($1.23 billion), No. 3 is Fast & Furious 6 ($788 million), No. 4 is Hobbs & Shaw ($759 million), and No. 5 is Forrest Gump ($677 million).

To say these are Top 5 is to consider illegal street racing, the background of Fast & Furious movies, a sport. OK, maybe that's true in Houston (hundreds of cars impounded this month), but generally speaking, an activity isn't a sport if it's 3 a.m. and you can go to jail for doing it. Forrest Gump does have a few sports scenes, like college football, ping-pong and running, but they're not really instrumental to the story.

The rest of the Top 10 is even sillier. No. 6 is Fast Five ($626 million), followed by Cars 2 ($562 million), Cars ($462 million), Cars 3 ($383 million), and Fast & Furious ($363 million).

The Cars movies are cartoons. To say they're about motor racing is to consider Alvin and the Chipmunks one of the greatest rock bands in history.

Also high on the list of most successful sports movies: Gladiator (gladiatorial combat), Casino Royale (gambling), Ready Player One (esports), Slumdog Millionaire (game show), and Saturday Night Fever (dancing). None of them is a sport, and unless you're dining at Medieval Times, gladiatorial combat may be illegal. However, the roast chicken at Medieval Times rivals Costco birds for juiciness.

Sticking with real sports, the Top 5 films are: Karate Kid ($359 million), Enter the Dragon ($350 million), The Blind Side ($309 million), Rocky IV ($300 million), and Rocky III ($270 million).

Sports movies, like Rodney Dangerfield, don't get no respect. They rarely get mentioned at the Academy Awards. In nearly 100 years of Oscars, only three sports movies have won for Best Picture: Rocky (1973), Chariots of Fire (1981) and Million Dollar Baby (2004).

Only three actors have won Best Actor for a sports movie: Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull), Paul Newman (The Color of Money), and Wallace Beery (The Champ).

Only two actresses have won a sporty Best Actress award: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby). More important, Swank was judged "Hot" in a "Hot or Not Hot" contest on The Office with Michael Scott casting the deciding vote.

Technically, the sports movie with the most Oscar nominations is Gladiator with 12 nods. The actual sports movie with the most nominations is Pride of the Yankees (1942) with Gary Cooper portraying the Iron Horse. The real-life Babe Ruth has a cameo in the movie. It's a sad biopic, keep a hankie handy. The top bawler sports film, though, has to be Brian's Song, about the inspiring friendship of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers and cancer-stricken running back Brian Piccolo.

If you consider hunting to be a sport (I don't), the saddest movie is Bambi, especially the scene where Bambi's mother is murdered by an unnamed "Man." I saw this movie as a kid and it still gets to me.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the real people's choice awards, the most beloved sports movies ever is The Wrestler (2008), with Mickey Rourke playing a down and out, aging pro wrestler beset with drug, alcohol and health problems, sort of based on the life and near death of Jake "the Snake" Roberts.

True story: one time I took my son Andrew backstage to meet the wrestlers. Snake was holding court, entertaining young wrestlers with stories of the good old days. Before he got into one of his wilder, crazier tales, politically incorrect Roberts squinted with bleary eyes at Andrew, who was 8 at the time, and asked, "Wait, are you a (little person) or a kid?"

I'm not sure if he was serious. I'm 90 percent he was.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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