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Weird Movie Sports

Aug. 20 2009, Published 11:45 a.m. ET

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Movies about sports like baseball, basketball, and even boxing are rarely as exciting as the real thing. But what about movies that feature thrilling sports that don't exist in the real world? How exciting are those? That depends on the movie, as you can gather from this list of the dozen most unusual sports ever played on the silver screen.

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Death Race 2000, (1975): This cult actioner starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone is about a dystopian American society that holds the Transcontinental Road Race -- a three day, coast-to-coast match on public roads in which the winner is determined not only by his speed, but by how many pedestrians are hit and killed. The flick was remade last year as Death Race.Rollerball, (1975): It's the year 2018, and James Caan plays the greatest athlete in the history of Rollerball, a full-contact Roller Derby in which players try to throw a steel ball into the other teams' magnetic goals. However, Roller Derby skaters never suffered as much carnage as this game. The flick was remade in 2002.Tron, (1982): This visionary Disney film takes place in the microscopic digital world, in which computer programs are intelligent beings that compete in deadly video games. The most famous is the 'light cycle' tournament, featuring super-fast, one-man vehicles that leave behind impenetrable walls as they move around the grid. The goal is to use clever driving to force opponents to crash into these barriers, causing them to "de-rez."Alice in Wonderland, (1951): We all know the story (which Tim Burton is about to retell): Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole and finds a strange world down there. But do you remember the unusual game of croquet played by the Queen of Hearts? The residents of Wonderland use live flamingoes instead of croquet mallets, and hedgehogs instead of balls. What would the ASPCA have to say about that?Top Secret!, (1984): This David Zucker spoof of WWII spy films stars Val Kilmer as a rock and roll star who becomes involved in a plot to rescue a foreign scientist. The film famously opens on a beach with a group of gun-toting teenagers who shoot skeet as they surf. This scene is accompanied by a parody of Surfin' USA by the Beach Boys.Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, (1985): The third Mad Max has Mel Gibson exiled to the desert by a barbaric society where he begins a revolt. Before being sent away he is pitted against another warrior in a futuristic cage match called Thunderdome: combatants are harnessed to bungee cords and leap around the dome snatching weapons fixed within the cage.  It makes the Ultimate Fighting Championship look like a playground brawl.The Running Man, (1987): Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a wrongfully convicted man in the future who, instead of going to prison, is forced to play in a lethal game called The Running Man. In this nightmarish version of American Gladiator, runners evade seasoned hunters who possess a deadly array of weapons such as chainsaws, flame throwers, and electroshock guns.BASEketball, (1998): South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone play the inventors and stars of an unusual national sport called Baseketball, in which players take free-throw shots at a hoop and then run bases. The weirdest part is that players can stand in front of their opponents and psych them out in any vulgar or revolting way they can think of, as long as they don't touch them or impair their vision.Futuresport, (1998): Dean Cain stars in this futuristic movie in which he must save the world from Hawaiian terrorists by winning a game of Futuresport. This contest is a combination of baseball, hockey, and basketball involving roller blades and hover boards, and was invented as a non-lethal way of lessening gang warfare. It won't make sense after you see it, either.Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, (1999): A small percentage of Star Wars fans probably enjoyed watching young Anakin Skywalker (a.k.a. Darth Vader) compete in a Pod Race, which is basically off-road driving with levitating land cruisers. Also unlike regular cars, pod racers can reach speeds of up to 900 kilometers per hour.Shaolin Soccer, (2001): A young Shaolin master forms a soccer team with his brothers who incorporate their martial arts abilities into the game. Although they play regular soccer, their use of mystical powers turns it into a very different sport, in which players perform impossible acrobatic feats, fly dozens of feet in the air, and even set the ball on fire with their personal energy or "chi."Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, (2001): Among the amazing sights that greet Harry Potter at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, one is the exciting sport Quidditch. This dangerous contest is basically football with broomsticks. Quidditch players face the added peril of falling hundreds of feet to their deaths.



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