Modern Day Takes On Our Favorite Sports Movies

Like a lot of you, Father’s Day got me a little nostalgic. I’m lucky enough to still have my dad in my life and a big portion of our bonding has been over movies. This got me thinking about sports movies that are perfect for fathers and sons.

Kevin Costner holding Gaby Hoffmann in a scene from the film ‘Field Of Dreams’, 1989.
(Photo by Universal/Getty Images)

The one that immediately comes to mind, and rightfully so, is “Field Of Dreams”. This is a movie with a closing scene that softens up even the hardest of souls. It’s also a film that should never be tainted with a reboot or a sequel/spin-off. So thinking about the untouchable nature of “Field of Dreams” got me thinking about sports movies that are ripe for either a sequel or modern reboot.

Before you scoff at my suggestions as a flight of fantasy, let me remind you of the success of “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. When I first saw a trailer for the series, I thought it was a joke. And, it is kind of a joke. But the genius of the series is the writers and actors are in on that joke. It’s a show that laughs at its own premise time and again. And it works. It strikes the perfect balance of action, 80’s nostalgia, and teen drama. As the show gears up for a fifth season that will drop in September, there are other movies with untapped potential that should have studios and streaming services ready to produce new content from older source material.

Because in 2022, it’s less about original story ideas and more about the IP in your possession. If the success of “Top Gun: Maverick” teaches us anything it’s that Americans like to feel nostalgic and good about something. Shocking, I know. It also shows a path to success for taking a popular movie from a certain demographic’s adolescence and re-tooling it as they approach middle age with kids of their own.

The connective tissue to one’s youth can just as easily be Johnny Lawrence making karate jokes or watching someone pound out “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano as it is purchasing a sports car. Not every mid-life moment is a crisis. At the risk of having my IP stolen, here are 6 movies/TV shows that should have been in development yesterday. I’m putting these ideas into the universe in hopes that some suit will have the foresight to give the people what they want.

I’ll start with 3 sequels and close with 3 reboot/remakes. I’m also picking these movies because I watched all of them with my dad. Literally, get your popcorn ready.

SEQUELS


Varsity Blues

Picture it. After the untimely passing of West Canaan head coach Lance Harbor (RIP, Paul Walker), Jonathan Moxon is pulled away from his cushy Ivy League professorship to return to his Texas hometown to coach a new group of rowdy high school football stars. Charlie Tweeter (played by Scott Caan) owns a chain of convenience stores and is the town’s most influential citizen.

You don’t have to give one of the players a pet pig to make this work. Yes, there will be a hot teacher but this time she serves as Moxon’s love interest after his first marriage ended back east. This would probably need to be a series because there’s too much greatness to pack into only 2 hours.

Little Big League

I find this 1994 gem of a family movie about a 12-year-old that inherits the Minnesota Twins to be highly underrated in the pantheon of great sports movies.

Billy Heywood not only owned the team, but he stepped into the dugout as manager! His statistical knowledge of the game may have served as a precursor to Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” approach. In the original, he also tries to get people to refer to him as “Bill” instead of “Billy” in an effort to sound more grown-up. Even as a 12-year-old myself when I first saw this movie, I could recognize this as a boss move.

After stepping away as manager after his one season in 1994 to get back to middle school, the next 28 years were a wild ride for Heywood as he navigates family life and ownership of a Major League Baseball team. With a league-low payroll and a casino tycoon trying to buy the Twins and move them to Las Vegas, Billy does the unthinkable.

He fires his manager and jumps back in the clubhouse to direct the Twins on an improbable run to the postseason. I see Joseph Gordon Levitt making his triumphant baseball movie return (Angels in the Outfield) as 40-year-old Bill Heywood (permanently dropped the Y). If you wouldn’t watch this film, don’t read anything I ever write again.


Jerry McGuire

No. Academy Award-nominated films aren’t typically the ones you think about for a sequel. Yes. There’s plenty of material to mine for Rod Tidwell’s post-Roy Firestone interview breakdown of life.

I see Rod as a current GM of an NFL team having to deal with a lot of Bob Sugars. I’ll stop there because I want to leave a little meat on the bone for Cameron Crowe. Plus, the last time Crowe wrote anything that appeared on a screen was a short-lived TV show titled “Roadies” in 2016.

Pair his writer-director skills with Cuba Gooding Jr. (who hasn’t done anything in two years but battle legal issues) and you have the makings of a comeback for the ages. Regina King reprising her role as Rod’s wife, Marcee, would be big for the production considering she is now a bigger star than Gooding or Cameron Crowe. And yes. Tom Cruise should have a cameo as Jerry Maguire.


REBOOTS/REMAKES

Hoosiers

This is a very important movie to me. And I know that most believe things this important should remain sacred. But nothing is sacred anymore, and a story about a small-town Indiana high school basketball team coached by a mysterious outsider with a past is timeless.

I would set this movie in present day and cast Kevin Costner in the Gene Hackman “Norman Dale” role. And boom. An underdog story for a new generation.

The Program

This movie is way more timely right now than it was in 1993. Think of all the NIL money Joe Kane could make today. Enough to keep him swimming in Iron City Beers, that’s how much.

I would cast Jon Hamm as Coach Sam Winters and go to town with modern twists to the original story. Steve Latimer is hooked on deer antler spray, Bud Lite Kaminski gets canceled over a tweet, and Darnell Jefferson skips a practice because of a photo shoot arranged by his agent at a local jewelry store. All of these storylines are believable and entertaining and would work in 2022.

Blue Chips

After watching “Hustle” starring Adam Sandler, I realized there are a good number of basketball players with some pretty good acting chops. So, finding someone to do a better job of acting than Penny Hardaway did in the original shouldn’t be difficult. Speaking of Sandler, he would be terrific in the Nick Nolte “Pete Bell” role.

Honorary mention goes to Vince Vaughn who would also be great. Any number of young NBA players could fill the roles of Neon Boudeaux, Butch McRae, and Ricky Roe but I’ll go with Bam Adebayo as Boudeaux, Anthony Edwards (shout-out to his work in “Hustle”) as Butch McRae, and Tyler Herro as Ricky Roe. And given the current landscape of College Basketball that’s driven a coach as great as Jay Wright away from the game, any subplot involving greed, corruption, or scandal would track.

Those are just six ideas. I have others.

What did I miss? Email me at chad.withrow@outkick.com with your ideas and any ideas you want me to write about in the future.


Chad Withrow is the host of “OutKick 360” which airs weekdays from 3- 6 pm ET on the OutKick Network. Follow him on Twitter: @TheChadWithrow

Written by Chad Withrow

Chad Withrow hosts OutKick 360 and has covered Nashville sports, statewide, and SEC college issues and headlines since 2004.

One Comment

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  1. IMO … any/all “The Best” or “Top Ten” lists should be prefaced by “IMO” because unless you are Kim Jung Il in PDRNK who has the right to declare “The Best” whether it is BBQ joints, Bond Girls or Sports Movies … That said …
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    IMO … THE BEST Sports Movie is, indeed FOD … Period. Tied for #2 are Bull Durham, Major League (One) , Hoosiers, Tin Cup, Friday Night Lights, and ….. Mighty Ducks.,,, IMO. …. #1 Bond Girl? Honor Blackman / “Pussy Galore” . That is not debatable.
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