The 11 Most Embarrassing Sports Movies Ever

Everyone loves a good sports movie, but there sure are a lot of bad ones. And I don’t mean like Rocky IV bad, the enjoyably over the top motion pictures that make you cheer in spite of yourself. I mean almost unwatchably stupid motion pictures that happen to be about sports in one way or another.

Maybe these movies were trying too hard to be serious and accidentally turned out laughable. Maybe they thought they had a great gimmick, like goofy animals or cross-dressing, that could replace more conventional selling points, like good screenplays and talented actors.

Also: Doug Glatt Returns (And Isn’t Welcome) in Exclusive ‘Goon: Last of the Enforcers’ Clip

Or maybe everybody just lost their god damn minds just before they green lit these absolutely embarrassing sports movies. That’s the most plausible explanation I can come up with. Honestly, nothing else works.

So while films like Goon: The Last of the Enforcers are out there, proving that good sports movies can be made – even if they’re (shudder) SEQUELS – I guess we will still always have to contend with THESE disappointing junkers. Sigh.

Let’s check ’em out in alphabetical order…

The 11 Most Embarrassing Sports Movies Ever Made

The Babe Ruth Story, one of the most laughable biopics ever made, stars William Bendix as the "The Sultan of Swat," who in this film is so ridiculously pure that he cures a small child's paralyzed legs just by saying "Hiya kid!" That's not an exaggeration. Hero worship doesn't get more cringe-inducing than this.

Photo: Allied Artists

The comedy classic Caddyshack gets an almost unwatchable sequel, with Jackie Mason taking over Rodney Dangerfield's role as the undignified millionaire who upsets the natural order at a rich country club in Caddyshack II. Only Chevy Chase, who looks like he'd rather be anywhere else, earns any laughs in this tired golf comedy, although the giant-sized mini-golf course Mason builds looks like it'd be a fun place to visit.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Matt LeBlanc decided to parlay his Friends stardom into a major league movie career but he completely struck out with the embarrassing chimpanzee baseball comedy Ed, which is only the first of several "animals doing sports" movies on this list.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. plays a basketball player who gets banned from playing men's basketball and decides to play on a women's team instead. Yeah, Juwanna Mann is Tootsie on a basketball court, but whereas Tootsie was a brilliantly written comedy classic, Juwanna Mann is... anything but.

Photo: Warner Bros.

There are too many sports movies about guys dressing up as girls to play women's sports. There, we said it. Ladybugs is another one of the worst offenders, with Rodney Dangerfield starring as an unscrupulous coach who convinces his girlfriend's son to take one for the team. Creepy AND unfunny. 

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Robert Redford might have meant well when he adapted Steven Pressfield's golfing novel The Legend of Bagger Vance to the big screen, but by casting Will Smith as a mystical sage figure whose only purpose in life is to make Matt Damon a better golfer, he made a racially backwards movie that helped put the words "magical negro" into the popular film critic vernacular.

Photo: Dreamworks Pictures

It may be hard to remember now but in the 1970s, Elliott Gould was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. So it was pretty danged weird when he decided to star in a movie where he was the boxing manager for a kangaroo. Matilda is one of the most notoriously awful sports movies in history.

Photo: American International Pictures

We're not trying to pick on movies in which animals play sports. Heck, the first Air Bud was actually pretty good, but by the time MVP: Most Valuable Primate came along the cliché was so hackneyed that it was hard to believe anyone was honestly trying to get away with it. And the fact that this led to not one, but two sequels (Most Vertical Primate and Most Xtreme Primate) doesn't say anything positive about the entertainment industry. Or humanity.

Photo: Keystone Family Pictures

After three Karate Kid movies that ranged from "great" to "not bad," The Next Karate Kid shifted gears by casting future Oscar-winner Hilary Swank in the title role, and by being a very bad movie. The plot doesn't have the emotional heft of the previous installments, thanks in large part to a gang of wacky, bowling, comic relief monks 

Photo: TriStar Pictures

Cuba Gooding Jr. earned an Academy Award for Jerry Maguire, but his second football movie Radio was a massive misfire that practically defines the words "Oscar Bait." Gooding plays a young mentally-challenged man who befriends a high school coach and makes everyone in their community learn a valuable, saccharine lesson. Radio was probably made with the best of intentions, but it's such an in-your-face message movie that it's genuinely hard to watch.

Photo: Colombia Pictures

The first Rollerball was a smart dystopian sports movie about a futuristic game that threatens the players' lives. But John McTiernan's Rollerball remake is an absolute mess of a movie, with a sport that makes no sense, a plot that makes no sense, and action that's filmed as if nobody told the editors how the game was played (assuming, of course, anyone actually knew).

Photo: MGM
Top Photo: Universal Pictures

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.