The 1990s were a great time to be a kid that loved sports. Not only did the 90s see the rise of popular kids magazine, Sports Illustrated for Kids, but it also yielded an unbelievable crop of fantastic sports movies about kids participating in sports in both amateur and professional leagues. Below we discuss seven of the best 90s sports movies about kids.
First of all, how Rodney Dangerfield didn’t star in more movies, we’ll never know. First Caddyshack and then Ladybugs! Come on, this guy deserves to do more films. Anyway, if you haven’t seen this film, Dangerfield plays a business man that is promised a promotion if the girls soccer team that his company sponsors has a winning season. The problem is that they are terrible. To overcome this deficit, Dangerfield convinces his soccer phenom son (played by Jonathan Brandis) to dress in drag and pose as the new star player of the team to help them make it to the championship.
Why it’s awesome: Because it’s a ridiculous plot that only made sense in the 1990s, and it wasn’t littered with today’s constant questions about a character’s sexuality. As you might imagine, they get caught and amidst all the hijinks for more hilarity.
THE BIG GREEN
The Big Green is our second soccer-based movie and the first of many about a group of outcast, non-athletic kids banding together to create a championship-contending sports team.
Why it’s awesome: Because it had the redhead kid from The Sandlot as the goalie who always envisioned his opponents as “monsters” that paralyze him with fear. Oh and that opening scene with the Cheetos and the pigeons.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in one of his earliest roles alongside Tony Danza, Danny Glover, and Christopher Lloyd in this film about heavenly beings that help the California Angels go from the worst team in baseball to World Series contenders after a young boy prays for help for his father’s favorite baseball team.
Why it’s awesome: Because it was equally funny and emotionally-moving; and it created the Angel cheering motion that is still used at Anaheim Angels games to this day. As a bonus, it also included early acting appearances of now famous actors such as Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody, Dermot Mulroney, and Neal McDonough.
Back to the lovable, yet awful-at-sports kids who form a sports team and then go on to play for the championship formula. Little Giants is by far the best football film about kids. Rick Moranis stars as Danny O’Shea, who forms a football team of misfits after his talented daughter is cut from the town’s squad because she is a girl. With some creative coaching and some help from some NFL players, the Little Giants get their chance to show how good they are.
Why it’s awesome: Let me count the ways: 1. Cameo’s by John Madden, Emmitt Smith, Tim Brown, and Bruce Smith. 2. The Annexation of Puerto Rico. 3. The hilarious nerdy kid who put Alka-selzer in his mouth to freak out the other team.
THE MIGHTY DUCKS
The Mighty Ducks was so good that it spawned two sequels (and
one of those was actually quite good). We have the familiar formula of a ragtag group of kids that get coached by a former hockey player to become and extraordinary youth hockey team. We’re including the whole series here, because who could forget how awesome it was when the Mighty Ducks traveled to the Junior Olympics to play Iceland in the championship, and we’ll let D3 slide because the first two were so good.
Why it’s awesome: This movie single-handedly got my cousins and I’m sure countless other kids into youth hockey. Also, these films are arguably Emilio Estevez’s best roles. Finally, to this day, I can’t go to a professional hockey game without making a “knucklepuck” reference.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
What sports kid hasn’t dreamed of somehow getting miraculously picked up to play for his favorite sports team, as a kid? Well, Henry Rowengartner gets his chance to do just that after a freak accident turns his arm into a cannon and he accidentally shows off his skill at a Chicago Cubs game.
Why it’s awesome: Rookie of the Year had some of the best quotes.
- “Pitcher’s got a big butt. Pitcher’s got a big butt.” For years, this chant could be heard around little league diamonds.
- “Funky buttloving!”
- “I just figured out why the Cubs lose every year. They’ve got more talent in the stands than they do in the field.” Sidenote: John Candy was dynamite in this film.
- “Give him the big, STICKY CHEESE!”
For many, The Sandlot is not only the greatest kids baseball movie of all time, but the greatest baseball movie of all time period. A new kid moves to town and falls in with a group of boys that love playing baseball during the summer, but disaster strikes when they lose his father’s Babe Ruth autographed baseball over a fence with a monster dog.
Why it’s awesome: The Sandlot is an icon of baseball, the 1990s, kids sports movies, and an age of innocence that has some of the most memorable scenes in movies. Who could forget when Squints jumps into the deep end of the pool just so he can get mouth-to-mouth from Wendy Peffercorn (possibly the greatest movie scene ever). Or when the boys vomit chewing tobacco at the carnival. Or all the different ways they try to get back the Babe Ruth autographed ball.