Thursday, September 09, 2004

Schwarzenegger's Top 5

In honor of the NFL's opening night, and with permission of Cigar Afficionado, we are reprinting CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Top 5 "Great Sports Films."


5 GREAT SPORTS FILMS by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2 is waiting, so let's make this fast.

5. We often find ourselves at a crossroads in life -- should I take the new job or stay at the old one, remain in the old familiar home or move to a more spacious one, chocolate or vanilla, Kerry or Bush -- but rare is the man who has faced the monumental quarry presented here, in my 5th "Great Sports Film" -- The Replacements.

Already having made the difficult decision to cross the picket-line in the midst of an NFL players strike, a group of rag-tag, semi-professional pigskinners -- led by Keanu Reeves in the role which defines a career that has been said to make even Robert DeNiro jealous (and rightly so) -- must now decide whether to give in to worry and self doubt, or follow head coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) down a path that could lead as easily to embarrassment as it could greatness.

Quarterback Shane Falco (Reeves) and McGinty are at each other's throat throughout this sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious tale of two personalities. However, by film's end they learn a little about each other, a lot about football, and a lot more about another game -- life.

4. Hunting has always been the most competitive sport -- ask that duck trying to dodge a buckshot load -- but never before has that competiveness been taken to the extremes it reaches in my 4th "Great Sports Film" -- Surviving The Game.

As homeless drifter Jack Murphy, rapper-turned-actor Ice-T brings a fierce realness to the role of a man being asked to compete for the ultimate prize -- his life.

Long before the dust ever clears, Murphy -- who comes to this awful predicament by way of phony benefactor Derek Wolfe (played with verve by screen vet F. Murray Abraham) -- must wrestle with the question of whether or not his life is even worth fighting for.

3. Who knew terrorism could be this fun?

And ice hockey this exciting. As notorious Batman-terrorist Mr. Freeze, I infuriated the Caped Crusader and dazzled audiences in my 3rd "Greatest Sports Film" -- the 1997 summer blockbuster Batman And Robin.

And it all began with that now-legendary opening sequence where Batman and Robin don ice skates to battle my goons in a deadly game of hockey.

At the last second, right before filming began, a panicked Joel Schumacher took me aside and asked if I thought the scene might come off as "corny" to the audience.

I patted him on the back and said, "Joel, if we pull this one off, we're going to own the audience."

And we did.

2. This is the formula for the perfect sports film:

Tom Cruise melting Nicole Kidman's heart + All of us melting with her = Everyone cheering as he melts the speedways in the 2nd "Great Sports Film" -- Days Of Thunder.

The other day, a friend of mine complained that Days Of Thunder -- which features Robert Duvall in the best role of his life (save for 1996's Phenomenon) -- was nothing but "Top Gun with race cars."

My response?


1. Because anyone with kids knows that holiday shopping is the only true "extreme" sport.

Jingle All The Way -- my # 1 "Great Sports Film" -- is a laugh-out-loud holiday comedy that features two industry giants, myself and Sinbad, at the top of their games.

True story -- I was speaking to my priest after church one Sunday not long after Jingle All The Way was released.

After making small talk for a few minutes, I said, "The next time you speak with Christ, tell him I said 'you're welcome.'"

"Why?" asked the priest.

"Because," I said, "I have finally created a film that encompasses the triumph and glory surrounding the celebration of his birth."

And then I told the guy to piss off.

UPDATE: Economic girly-man Ezra Klein of Pandagon is clearly copying my idea by doing his own film reviews. Get your own ideas pinko-blogger, I was smoking Bolivar Coronas Gigantes and watching Commie tanks invade my hometown before you were even born.