The Academy Awards presentation is always a frustrating show for me to watch. Invariably I have seen none of the movies that are nominated and therefore I have no idea what’s going on, or who to root for.
This year, however, I made the effort to see every movie. I was amazed at how many of them dealt with sports themes.
As a reader service, I hereby present capsule descriptions of the top movies, so even if you missed a few, you can feel like Rex Reed.
Here are the movies most likely to win “Oscars,” the little statues named for Oscar Madison, the slobby but lovable sports columnist in “The Odd Couple":
PLATOON. Not for the weak of heart. This is a hard-hitting story about the not-so-hard-hitting Greg Brock’s Dodger career. It deals with Brock’s campaign to be in the lineup every day instead of being a “platoon” player, allowed to bat only against righties. Dramatic scene in which Tommy Lasorda points out to Brock that he hit .004 against lefties, and Brock says: “Yeah, Tommy, but it was .004 with power.”
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, PART III. This time Freddie crosses over the boundary of bad taste. Terror reigns in a suburban neighborhood when the fiend sneaks around and violently disconnects cable TV sports-station hookups in the middle of big games.
LETHAL WEAPON. A gang of social outcasts from Las Vegas, all majoring in hotel management, is bent on claiming the United States as its “turf.” The gang marches to a final showdown in New Orleans, armed with the ultimate lethal weapon--the three-point field goal.
The gang’s lovable leader, Tark the Shark, is played by Danny DiVito. Or is it the other way around? Cute scene where an investigative reporter discovers that Tark chews that towel because he’s got a hero sandwich hidden inside.
RAT BOY. Chronicles the childhood of Whitey (White Rat) Herzog. ‘Nuff said.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW. A major league baseball team, torn by dissension, is drawn together by a dramatic incident.
The team checks into a hotel and the shortstop, instead of being assigned a penthouse suite as the standard major league contract stipulates, is given a single overlooking an alley and a dipsy dumpster.
Enraged, the team takes over the hotel, holding the hotel manager (played by Whitney Houston) hostage.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. An inside look at an Indiana University basketball practice session. Language not suitable for anyone under 18, or anyone over 18.
HEARTBREAK RIDGE. A screaming mob of Met fans, celebrating the team’s World Series victory, runs amok in New York and tries to uproot the Statue of Liberty to use the flame to light a giant victory cigar.
A company of gritty National Guardsmen, led by Clint Eastwood, finally turns back the mob by promising them a guest shot on “Late Night With David Letterman.”
THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS. A just-released remake of the classic film of a couple years ago.
This time it’s the story of how Southern Methodist University built a football dynasty with a little bit of help from everyone, including the kindly state governor, played by Marlon Brando.
In the grabber scene, a key high school recruit is about to defect to “greener” pastures, when some SMU sorority members come to the rescue. They raise thousands of dollars by holding a bake sale, the success of which is assured by the slogan, “We Deliver.”
CHOPPING MALL. This movie isn’t really up for any awards. I just love the title.
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD. The heart-wrenching story of the L.A. Clippers. One misfortune after another befalls the lovable team and its bumbling management. In one typical scene, the Clippers are fined by the Coliseum Commission for overcharging Benoit Benjamin for parking in the key.
ROCKY XIV. Rocky Balboa hits mandatory retirement age and is forced to give up prizefighting, even though he still has several hundred brain cells left. He makes a stirring athletic comeback as player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
In a memorable training scene, Rocky tunes his batting eye by going to a poultry farm and fungoing rotten eggs.
OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE. A .193 hitter with bad knees and a 48-inch waistline wins a $2-million salary when a nearsighted arbitrator, reviewing the submitted evidence, mistakes the player’s weight for his batting average.
RUTHLESS PEOPLE. Major league clubhouse attendants band together and refuse to hand out free bubble gum and chewing tobacco until the players agree to pick up their own dirty towels and socks and throw them into the laundry hamper.
ANGEL HEART. Cardiologists try desperately to find one, in the wake of the team’s “disheartening” 1986 finish.
THE COLOR OF MONEY. America’s 10 richest athletes find themselves all staying at the same tropical resort, and they spend the entire week arguing whether money is actually Fenway Park Green or AstroTurf Green.
‘ROUND MIDNIGHT. Darryl Strawberry, explaining that his alarm clock was stolen by an out-of-work jazz musician, shows up just a little bit late for the Mets’ home opener.