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Original Issue


Hey, Jack, go rent The Sandlot (1993) and rewrite your article.
--TOM HALEY, Medina, Ohio

Critics' Choice

I enjoyed your piece on the top sports films (Reel Sports, Feb.
5). I do take issue with two of the movies included on your Top
Fifteen list, namely, The Bad News Bears (1976) and North Dallas
Forty (1979). As a professor who teaches cinema (albeit Spanish
cinema), I believe these films pale in comparison to Field of
Dreams (1989) and The Longest Yard (1974).
GREGORY B. KAPLAN, Knoxville, Tenn.

How could Jack McCallum omit any mention of Kirk Douglas's
powerfully ruthless Champion of 1949?
ALAN OLSTER, Albuquerque

The greatest boxing movie is Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956).
Paul Newman's portrayal of Rocky Graziano is masterly.
SHERMAN P. FAUNCE, Warren, Mich.

Anyone who has been in a bowling league will testify that The Big
Lebowski (1998) accurately depicts the characters who hang around
the lanes.
MARK HERBER, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Was I the only one who saw The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)
with Robert Stack and Gilbert Roland? It was about skeet shooting
and, of course, bullfighting.

As a kid growing up in Harlem, I remember a much anticipated
film, Go Man Go (1954), the story of Abe Saperstein and the
basketball team he founded, the Harlem Globetrotters. Who
portrayed the composite-character star of the team alongside Dane
Clark as Saperstein? None other than a very young Sidney Poitier.
While Poitier is a fine actor, he was such a klutz with a
basketball that he was a distraction. You had jocks like Nat
(Sweetwater) Clifton playing alongside Poitier, so the contrast
in ball-handling skills was obvious.
GLEN COOPER, Peachtree City, Ga.

Not including the Harold Lloyd silent classic The Freshman (1925)
was unfortunate.

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979) has it all: Dr. J, Kareem,
Stockard Channing and Jonathan Winters.
CORY NOLAN, Chalfont, Pa.

You overlooked an excellent movie about the Negro leagues and the
signing of Jackie Robinson, Soul of the Game (1996), which
starred Delroy Lindo as Satchel Paige. This movie captured the
spirit and frustration of the players as they dreamed of becoming
major leaguers.

Not only is Caddyshack (1980) the funniest sports movie of all
time, it could be the funniest movie of all time.
JOE AULETTA, New Rochelle, N.Y.

I know it was made for TV, but you forgot the most
heart-wrenching tale ever told. If you didn't shed a tear during
Brian's Song (1971) with James Caan, you must be a Vulcan.
MIKE CARUSO, Dunedin, Fla.

One glaring omission: the 1977 adaptation of Dan Jenkins's book
Semi-Tough. This satire on pro football illustrates, more
light-heartedly than North Dallas Forty, the absurdities of the
sport and its zany personalities.

TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOFEST Thumbs UpReaders had strong feelings for scores of films, including the following (from left to right): The Sandlot, Go Man Go, The Big Lebowski, Semi-Tough and The Freshman.

THREE B/W PHOTOS: PHOTOFEST [See caption above]