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Weird Sports Movies

June 7, 2016

Baseball movies? Football movies? Seen ’em. But have you seen these films, based on sports that are a little outside the mainstream…or don’t exist at all?
Movies about strange sports

Rollerball and other weird sports moviesRollerball (1975)

Sport: Rollerball, a combination of roller derby, basketball, and rioting, in which two teams skate (some players ride motorcycles) around a banked track and score points by throwing a steel softball into a tiny hole in the wall of the track.
Plot: In a post-apocalyptic future, the world is run by giant, evil corporations, especially the Energy Corporation, which controls housing, communication, and food. The company owns a Houston team in the worldwide rollerball league, an ultra-violent sport that has taken the place of war. But one star player named Jonathan E (James Caan) is becoming too popular—his individuality undermines the company’s “state above all” philosophy. So the Energy Corporation revokes all of rollerball’s rules—making it even more violent—in hopes of killing him off during a game.
Bonus: The movie was remade in 2002 and set in the futuristic year of…2005. Dropping the global-corporation theme, this version’s rollerball is just a brutal televised sporting event in Eastern Europe (and with more motorcycles). The company running rollerball decides they want more violence in the sport, not to kill off the star (Chris Klein)…but to increase TV ratings.

Blood of Heroes and other weird sports moviesThe Blood of Heroes (1989)

Sport: The Game, which is given no other name, though it resembles an extra-violent version of rugby. Each team scores by hanging a dog skull on the other team’s goalpost. The skull-carrier runs while his teammates (called “juggers”) protect him, battling the other team with clubs and spears.
Plot: In a post-apocalyptic future, the world is so barren that people eat dogs and scrounge in the dirt for food. For entertainment, traveling teams play the Game in front of cheering crowds. One player named Sallow (Rutger Hauer) takes his team to the Nine Cities, an underground enclave of the ruling aristocracy. He challenges the team there to a death match.
Bonus: Real teams of “juggers” have formed leagues in Germany, Australia, and the United States, although they use foam-padded clubs and a foam “ball” instead of a dog skull.

BASEketball (1998) Baseketball and other weird sports movies

Sport: A combination of baseball and the basketball game H-O-R-S-E. The rules: A basketball hoop is set in the middle of a baseball diamond. Baskets made from various distances are scored as a single, double, triple, or home run. If the “batter” makes the shot, he take a base. If not, he’s out. In lieu of a pitcher, the opposing team gets to send up a player to “psyche out” the batter; techniques include making fun of the batter’s dead mother and grossing him out by eating a bag of liposuctioned belly fat.
Plot: Two losers in their twenties (Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park) invent BASEketball in their backyard and it becomes a national craze with a professional league. The inventors struggle with fame, sell out, and lose all their money.
Bonus: BASEketball is based on a game that director David Zucker and his friends played in their own driveways. At one point Zucker intended to make a game show based on the sport, but wrote a screenplay instead.

Dodgeball and other weird sports moviesDodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

Sport: Dodgeball, the same game played in gym class and at recess, in which you throw balls at the other team. You hit a player, he’s out. He catches it, you’re out.
Plot: Peter (Vince Vaughn), the owner of Average Joes gym, is on the verge of getting pushed out of business by Globo-Gym, owned by the hyper-competitive and evil White Goodman (Ben Stiller). With a team of out-of-shape misfits from the gym, Peter wins the national dodgeball championship over White’s team of all-stars and gets the $50,000 he needs to keep his gym open.
Bonus: The movie inspired a brief dodgeball fad. Adult intramural leagues popped up, as did the National Dodgeball League, with teams like the Seattle Blue Dogs, the Los Angeles Chaos, and the Chicago Vendetta.

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