The 5 Most Un-Athletic Sports Movie Performances

Hollywood has the capacity to recreate the sinking of the Titanic, so it seems reasonable to expect them to be able to recreate an authentic looking jump-shot. But for whatever reason, the athletic performances in sports movies often come off looking about as realistic as the Kidman-Cruise sex scene in Eyes Wide Shut.

We crown the most ridiculous performances in the four major sports: basketball, football, baseball and boxing (sorry movie-hockey, we'd compare you to real hockey but nobody remembers what an NHL game looks like anyways), and give the lifetime achievement award to the actor most frequently miscast as someone with any semblance of athletic prowess.

5. Tim Robbins as Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham
Kevin Costner tends to be able to mimic believable athletic motions, which is probably why he’s played a baseball player in 177 movies thus far in his career. Unfortunately for fans of sports flicks, Costner’s dramatic range doesn’t extend far beyond “my facial nerves have been damaged, rendering me incapable of expressing human emotion.”

Hoping that someone with acting chops could counterbalance Costner’s post-accident Christopher Reeves performance, Tim Robbins was cast as Costner's flame throwing rival. Producers apparently  didn’t count on the fact that Robbins’ pitching wind-up would look like an arthritic donkey attempting to do yoga, and encountering violent muscle spasm midway through his routine. Thus, the film proves the old adage that if you're looking for someone to play a pitcher whose Major League-caliber fastball has earned him the nick name 'Nuke,' you might want to watch him throw first.

Honorable Mention for Un-Athletic Performance in a Baseball Movie
Gary Busey as Chet ‘Rocket’ Steadman in Rookie of the Year
Less convincing pitching motion than his 12-year-old co-star,
Chelci Ross as Eddie “Jobu Needs a Refill” Harris in Major League
While Harris probably has the most ridiculous throwing motion of any pitcher in fake-baseball history, the movie doesn’t take itself seriously enough for it to matter.


4. Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump
The producers of White Men Can't Jump inexplicably  decided to cast the retarded bartender from Cheers as a street ball phenom, which makes even less sense when you take into account that Harrelson is a slow white guy whose jump-shot  looks more Bill Cartwright than Larry Bird.

We have a better idea of why producers thought that Snipes would work as the smack talking, juke throwing point guard. It’s the same reason he’d probably be the first guy picked up at the Minneapolis YMCA: white guys all assume that athletic looking black dudes are awesome at hoops. One can only imagine the awkwardness that ensued when Snipes showed up to the first day of the shoot dribbling the ball off his foot, and writer/director Ron Shelton had to avoid explaining why he'd assumed Snipes would be good at basketball in the first place.

Honorable Mention for Un-Athletic Performance in a Hoops Movie

Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf
For most of the film, the producers hide Michael J. Fox’s lack of coordination behind a Harlem Globetroter in a wolf costume, but when the script calls for Fox to play sanz body hair, it’s high comedy as he leads his team using what can only be described as a side armed jump shot.
Dwayne Schintzius in Eddie
Among the stiffest athletic performances by a white guy in the history of sports movies, Shinzis gets extra points for having been in the NBA at the time of the performance.

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