13) The Fabulous Baker Boys— Two struggling musicians, who are brothers, team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer, who revitalizes their careers. Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer; Jeff/Beau Bridges are the two brothers.
12) Bull Durham— Susan Sarandon is a minor league baseball groupie; Kevin Costner is a journeyman catcher brought in to mentor the team’s young pitching prospect. Durham Bulls were a Class A farm club when this movie was made (1988); they’re a AAA team now.
11) Major League— The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a horrible team on purpose so they’ll lose and she can move the team to Miami, but it is the movies, so of course, they win the pennant.
Couple of things:
— Moving a ball club to Miami turned out to be a terrible idea in real life.
— Bob Uecker steals the show in this movie as the team’s radio announcer.
10) Prince of Tides— A high school football coach from the South (Nick Nolte) talks to his suicidal sister’s psychiatrist (Barbra Streisand) in New York City about their family history and, because it is the movies, they fall in love. George Carlin has a pretty good cameo as a neighbor of the psychiatrist.
9) Cousins— Ted Danson plays a dance instructor in a failing relationship who meets a woman (Isabella Rossellini) at a family wedding and they become great friends- her husband isn’t amused. Lloyd Bridges is excellent as Danson’s father. William Peterson played the unhappy car salesman/husband.
Danson/Peterson both wound being the star of CSI, at different times. Cousins ends with the happy couple literally sailing off into the sunset. 26 years later, in the last scene of CSI, William Peterson/Jorja Fox also sail off into the sunset, a very similar scene.
8) The Bodyguard— A former Secret Service agent takes the job of a famous singer’s bodyguard, whose lifestyle is a lot different than a President’s.
Of the 13 movies on this list, Robert Wuhl has a small role in three of them; he plays the host of the Academy Awards in this movie. He was a pitching coach in Bull Durham, and a basketball recruiting guru in Blue Chips.
7) Leap of Fsith— A huckster faith healer (Steve Martin) is stranded with his entourage in a small Midwestern town that is going thru tough times financially, because of a drought. He decides to set up camp in the town for a few days and put on some shows to make money.
Liam Neeson is the town’s sheriff; Debra Winger, Meat Loaf and Philip Seymour Hoffman are part of his entourage.
6) Last Vegas— Four longtime friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining bachelor friend. Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline; tremendous cast. Mary Steenburgen is a singer in Binion’s Casino who becomes friends with the group.
5) A Star Is Born— A famous musician helps a young singer find fame/fortune as age and alcoholism ruin his own career; this is the fourth time this movie has been made.
Andrew Dice Clay adds to the movie as Lady Gaga’s father; the guitarist in Bradley Cooper’s band is Lukas Nelson, whose dad is Willie Nelson.
This Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper version is very similar to the 1954 version, with Judy Garland, James Mason. The 1976 movie, with Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson, was a lot different.
4) Rounders— A young gambler plays big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school. Every movie star who gambles in the movies comes out ahead, except for Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler, who is very grateful to wind up even.
3) Moneyball— Would be ranked higher if the A’s won at the end, or in the beginning; oh well. This is the story of how Oakland GM Billy Beane put together a baseball team on a small budget by using computer-generated analysis to evaluate players.
I was lucky enough to meet Michael Lewis, who wrote the book Moneyball, in 2004. Nice guy.
2) Blue Chips— A college basketball coach is forced to break the rules in order to get the players he needs to stay competitive; two of the players he recruits are played by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. Jerry Tarkanian/Dick Vitale/Jim Boeheim have cameos. Nick Nolte spent some time with the Indiana Hoosiers to prep for this role.
Basketball scenes were filmed in a high school gym in Indiana; they have some really nice high school gyms in Indiana.
1) American Underdog— What did you think I would have at #1? This is the story of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming a football star, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title.
Seriously, this movie was better than I thought it would be; it is a great story, but they avoided making the movie too sappy.