Sports Movies and Mark Ellis

Recently we watched two movies focused on sports, that were nothing alike: a basketball movie based on the real-life high school basketball coach Ken Carter called Coach Carter (which I rated as 8 out of 12) and a baseball comedy called Mr 3000, which got 7/12 from me and Olivia (links go to the Internet Movie Database site, IMDb).

The reason I mention both of them in the same sentence is that, while watching the "making of" documentary to Mr 3000, I noticed a guy called Mark Ellis training the actors to look like baseball players and also selecting the hopeful baseball players to look like actors and star in the movie...and, he did the same for the basketball action in Coach Carter! What a cool job, to know everything about sports and design how the action will be played out on-screen.

Checking Mark's entry at IMDb reveals he is the "sports co-ordinator" or "assistant sport co-ordinator" on a stack of movies, including films like The Waterboy, Jerry Maguire, Radio and The Longest Yard (all featuring American Rugby/gridiron), as well as the upcoming Superman Returns (baseball). Once again, a cool job - and the training he puts the guys through does not look easy! In Mr 3000 he had something like 1,500 applicants for 15 positions - and some of those that got through were in the movie for only a couple of seconds.

Here's a question I've been pondering, that's kind of related: is it easier to teach an actor to pitch and look like a baseballer (for instance), or would it be easier to get a baseballer to act like an actor? The question brings to mind The Truman Show, where there's a scene with actors playing doctors who have to perform an operation...wouldn't it be easier to pay a doctor to act for a bit?


6 Responses to "Sports Movies and Mark Ellis"

Simon said... Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:01:00 AM

Top Ten Sports Movies (Has this been done before?)

1. A girl I know (Korean/Baseball)
2. Sami Superstars (Korean/Baseball)
3. Happy Gilmore (Golf)
4. Waterboy (American Football)
5. Remember the Titans
6. Forget Paris (Basketball)
7. The Natural (Baseball)
8. Eight Men Out (Baseball)
9. The Longest Yard (Baseball (Unreleased, but preview ranks it this high)
10. Major League (Baseball)

The only criteria is that the sport has to play a major part in the plot/storyline. My choice of Korean movies in the top 2 spots reflects my current fixation with the nations movie-making prowess, and I probably could have added more Korean movies if I could have remembered them.

Simon said... Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:04:00 AM

Edit- My number 2 ranked film should read "Mr Gam Superstar"

Simon said... Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:09:00 AM

Edit- Sorry, but number 1 ranked film is also incorrect, I just gave a literal translation, the official English title is "Someone Special", A friend gave it to me as a gift, so I'll bring it back to Oz with me, I highly recommend it.

Thomas said... Monday, October 03, 2005 12:55:00 PM

S-Man, I haven't heard your top 10 sports movies for a long time! OK, fair challenge, I'm trying to think of my favorite movies where sports plays a major part in the plot (in no particular order):
1. The Running Man (some kind of game show)
2. White Men Can't Jump (basketball)
3. Stuck On You (boxing) (yes, a long shot, but pretty funny nonetheless)
4. Princess Bride (swordfighting) (is a sport)
5. Dodgeball (umm, dodgeball)
7. When We Were Kings (boxing)
8. Space Jam (basketball)
9. Racing Strips (racing)
10. Crackerjack (lawn bowls)

Oh, and I'm looking forward to seeing some Korean movies when you come back for a bit!

Simon said... Friday, October 14, 2005 7:40:00 PM

Ummm, sorry, running man is not sport based- it is a prophetic movie about reality TV. Gameshows are not necessarily sport unless your sports fix is playing wheel of fortune on the computer.

Point B (not Point Break which I thought might break your top ten since you are such a Keanu fan), while swordfighting maybe a sport, in this movie it is not. The game of chess with the evil genius may be allowed so I'll allow you to keep the Princess Bride.

Thirdly, have you actually sat through the whole of 'When We Were Kings'? Admittedly Casius Clay does a great job portraying Muhammed Ali, but is nevertheless pretty boring apart from the special effects in the final 'death match' which would make Rocky 7 look like Ninja Kids (no, not acceptable as a sports movie, however the Karate Kid might make it). Also, When We Were Kings is a documentary, canceling it out from this list- you need 2 (two) more films for me to accept this list.

Thank you

Thomas said... Monday, October 17, 2005 1:35:00 PM

OK S-Man, [thinks for a minute] hmmm, I'll bite, since I only have to find two because you overlooked the fact that in "The Princess Bride", Wesley doesn't play chess but plays a game of logic with the evil genius Vizzini.

Here's my two supplemental sports movies for the Top 10 list:
11. Best In Show (dog showing)
12. Cool Running (bob sledding)


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