'If You Build It, They Will Come' and Other Unrealistic Sports Movie Plots

Dead baseball players resurrect, an ape becomes a third baseman, and a New York team is under threat of getting moved to St. Louis? Come on.

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Disney

Sports films often capture moments of triumph that are often so fleeting in reality and bring the game to life in ways we could never imagine.

Just as the impossible sometimes becomes real on the field, rink, or court, great sports movies often take liberties with reality. How entertaining would a biopic about Muhammad Ali be if it was nothing more than actors recreating history without any re-imagining?

That's what documentaries are for. Creativity doesn't have to betray the essence of the story. However, sometimes sports films ask us to suspend a belief just a little too much, for better or worse. This can be true to the spirit of the movie, but it can also be a major distraction.

This post also appears on Bleacher Report, an Atlantic partner site.

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Amber Lee is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

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