Last year I posted a list of sports scenes from movies that were so patently absurd I felt they needed to be ranked to determine which was indeed the most unrealistic of all.
Little did I know, the article would go viral.
It seems people really like watching terrible movie depictions of athletic contests. And it seems people like to get really mad when a movie they like is included on such a list.
After revisiting the comments section of that article, I realized (with the help of you, the reader) that there are just too many great scenes that I left out. I still stand by my original 10, but I decided to make a second list – a sequel, if you will – to shed light on some more awful sports scenes.
Before you get started on this list, there are two things I need you to do.
First, read/watch my original post – The 10 Most Unrealistic Sports Scenes in Movie History.
Next, take the time to read the following self-imposed ground rules for the list. This will help you understand why, theoretically, Talladega Nights cannot be included but Days of Thunder can.
- I have not seen every movie ever made. I’ve seen a bunch, and what follows is my list. I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below, because I’ve surely missed some really good ones.
- I am purposely leaving out intentionally absurd moments, such as Michael J. Fox morphing into a werewolf and dominating his high school basketball games, or Andre 3000 playing a Darryl Dawkins/Julius Erving hybrid in Semi-Pro and somehow having a 65’’ vertical.
- Comedies are disqualified unless their sports scenes are supposed to be realistic. For example, Major League is a ridiculous movie, but the baseball scenes are intended to mimic real-life baseball, so theoretically it could count.
- The scenes don’t necessarily have to come from a sports movie. The idea here is to highlight any sporting moment in any film that could never in a million years happen in real life.
- I have taken into account the context of the scene as well as the actual achievement. For example, when Kevin Costner holes out from 235 yards in Tin Cup, it is unrealistic because he had a chance at the U.S. Open riding on him sinking that exact shot and he had already splashed several balls in the water attempting the same shot.
- There are a few scenes which I’m aware of for which I simply couldn’t find video. A post about movie scenes without videos is no fun, so I eschewed those.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s check out the list!
10. Top Gun – Volleyball Scene
Tom Cruise is short. Volleyball players, especially the best ones, are usually tall. You can see where I’m going here.
I’m a big fan of Top Gun, but it has never ceased to amaze me that the volleyball scene is in this movie. I guess it just was an excuse to show Maverick, Iceman, and Slider with their shirts off (poor Goose), but goodness is it terrible. It may also have been an attempt to show us how truly badass Maverick was by having him be a dominant beach volleyball player.
Watch Cruise’s many spikes and pay close attention to his vertical. That net has to be at least a foot under the regulation height of approximately 8 feet. Bonus points for Goose’s knuckle set too. That takes skill.
9. Escape From L.A. – Basketball Scene
Snake Plissken is going to be executed unless he can score 10 points – all baskets count as 2, with no 3’s – while being given 10 seconds per shot. His shot attempts get more and more difficult, culminating in a full court heave he has to sink to live.
If this doesn’t qualify as unrealistic, I don’t know what does.
I realize that this borders on being intentionally ridiculous, but I included it because it is hilarious and Kurt Russell is one of my favorite actors.
8. The Replacements – Final Play
Whether it’s as Shane Falco or Johnny Utah, Keanu Reeves is an unconvincing quarterback.
Here he manages to lead his team to victory by throwing a deep touchdown pass to his deaf tight end who has somehow managed to be wide open behind the entire defense. Wouldn’t the defense be in a total prevent situation here, knowing that only a touchdown can beat them?
Also, there certainly should have been a delay of game penalty called, because Falco takes about 1:30 to get the play off. The huddle dialogue is so goofy and poorly delivered, too.
7. Vision Quest – Swain vs. Shute
Vision Quest is a good movie about a young man coming of age and learning all sorts of tough lessons about being a man.
It is also terribly unrealistic as a sports movie, especially at the end.
We are led to believe that Louden Swain lost 22 pounds to drop two weight classes and have his shot at Shute, the defending state champion. When we see Shute, we realize he is a huge, hulking beast of a wrestler, so there is no way that Swain was that much heavier than Shute.
Also, Swain is only in his second year of competitive wrestling, so the chances of him taking down the juggernaut Shute are unlikely at best.
Good movie, but a ridiculous ending. Long clip alert:
6. The Legend of Bagger Vance – The Woods
I actually liked The Legend of Bagger Vance. This scene is just too much, though.
I would be okay with him getting out of the woods, but blindly sticking it 5 feet from the hole? This scene is the golf equivalent to the old McDonald’s H.O.R.S.E. commercials with MJ and Larry Bird.
Ready for the five most unrealistic sports scenes in movie history?
Click to continue and see clips involving:
- Joe Pesci’s basketball skills
- Jean-Claude Van Damme being unintentionally hilarious
- A 27-K perfect game
- Rocky. Oh, Rocky…