This column also appeared in the July 10th edition of The Daily Dispatch.
Sometimes watching movies can take you back to your childhood.
If my recollection is correct, the first sports movie that I watched was “Major League,” with Charlie Sheen as pitcher “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn and Wesley Snipes as centerfielder Willie Mays Hayes. And the scene I most remember is how Willie made the Cleveland Indians by running fast. He crashed the team’s tryouts only to be put out of the players’ dorm (still asleep in the bed no less) just to run a blazing 60-yard time in bare feet and pajamas.
“Major League” was one in a line of comedic sports flicks that included “Wildcats” that featured Snipes and Woody Harrelson before “White Men Can’t Jump.” “Wildcats” was about a white middle-class woman taking over a high school football team in the inner city and “Unnecessary Roughness” with Sinbad about a 40-something quarterback playing college football.
Movies that proceeded them were “Brian’s Song,” the original “The Longest Yard,” “Bull Durham,” “A Field of Dreams” and no one will ever forget the “Rocky” series.
Then most recently, more serious sports films were released such as “Rudy,” “Ali,” “Cinderella Man” and “Friday Night Lights.” My collection includes movies such as “Glory Road,” “Remember the Titans” and “Radio.” “Any Given Sunday” is my favorite football movie along with “The Program.”
“He Got Game” has Spike Lee teamed with Denzel Washington for the first time since “Malcolm X” and “Soul of the Game” is the only movie that I’ve found about the Negro Leagues. And although it”s a fictitious story surrounding the interaction between Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson, “Soul of the Game” is still a good watch.
But nothing can rev-up your childhood memories like a cartoon, or one that has made its way to the big screen.
Besides Christmas, Saturday was the only day of the week that as a child I wanted to wake up early so I could watch cartoons. There were plenty to chose from, “ThunderCats,” “Speed Racer,” “He-Man” and “Smurfs.” My personal favorite was “Voltron” but the most memorable was the hour that included “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers.” Every child of the ‘80s had a favorite G.I. Joe (mine was Snake-Eyes) and a Transformer (Hot-Rod).
So as I sat in the movie theater and watched “Transformers,” I couldn”t help but to reflect back to when I was a kid watching it on Saturday mornings. I smiled when I thought about Bumblebee, a little gold Beetle, that looked similar to Herbie the Love Bug and how he’s now a gold 2008 Camaro. Despite the fact that no one under 18 or no one over 35 has any clue about the original “Transformers,” it is a great action movie.
“Transformers” will have a permanent fixture in our memories.