Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
The Sport : It's the World Cup Final this Sunday, and even if England aren't in it, at least we didn't have Keira Knightley playing for us during our brief go at the title. As this 2002 flick proved, Knightley kicked balls about with all the conviction of a sporting Mata Hari.
What Went Wrong? Trying to address issues of upbringing, family tradition, arranged marriage and homosexuality, director Gurinda Chadha couldn't even manage football. At no point did Keira look anything other than disturbed on the football pitch, and the excessive training montages and laughable match scenes didn't wash. Don't even mention that final free-kick...
Could Be Better? Hard to dial down the football side of a film with Beckham in the title, but trying to persuade the audience that Keira Knightley was a football genius was surely misplaced. A few less close-ups of women dribbling wouldn't have hurt either.
The Legend Of Bagger Vance (2000)
The Sport : Robert Redord directed a mouthwatering cast in the shape of Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron for this sporting epic. The sport? Golf in the 1930s...
What Went Wrong? Anyone who's ever watched golf on television will know that it would take more than Will Smith's wise words to improve Matt Damon's golf swing. A lot, lot more.
Could Be Better? Short of suggesting a new sport, era, and plot, a little less tiresome Will Smith wisdom would be much appreciated: "Yeah... The rhythm of the game... Just like the rhythm of life..." Nope.
She's The Man (2006)
The Sport : Channing Tatum's come a long way since starring opposite Amanda Bynes in this story of a girl (somehow) pretending to be her own brother in making the boys' team.
What Went Wrong? Amanda Bynes made Keira Knightley look decent. Never came close to looking, sounding, running or kicking a ball like a boy. Vinnie Jones is in it as well.
Could Be Better? Bynes perhaps could have gone beyond lowering her voice and the occasional shoulder punch to try to appear convincing. You can only imagine what lengths Daniel Day-Lewis would go to if the roles were reversed...
The Sport : Paul Bettany went all Hugh Grant in combining two paradoxical English assets: Wimbledon and winning.
What Went Wrong? The decision to act out the epic tennis rallies before doctoring in a CGI tennis ball seemed inspired. That was before Bettany started diving for balls coming straight at him.
Could Be Better? Conceding that CGI was the only way to provide convincing tennis action was a good start, but the decision to cast Bettany was questionable. Granted, it's supposed to be his last tournament, but there's a limit...
The Sport : Matt Damon inspires a divided nation as he leads South Africa to rugby glory in Clint Eastwood's made-for-awards feature.
What Went Wrong? Eastwood faced a difficult challenge of both selling rugby to an american audience and making the footage look convincing. He ultimately failed on both fronts. He certainly highlighted the heroicism involved in tackling. On Jonah Lomu, Matt Damon gives this advise: "Just hold on - help will come!" Or just get both legs...
Could Be Better? Part Mandela biopic, part sporting story, a focus on one or the other might have yielded a more engaging result.
The Sport : George Clooney directed himself in this whimsical look at the origins of America's favourite game.
What Went Wrong? Clooney went for 1920s funny - and nailed it, crucially forgetting that the film was released in 2008. As for the American Football action, perhaps we'd forgive such a lightweight attempt at sporting action had Any Given Sunday and Friday Night Lights not shown us what could be done.
Could Be Better? Apart from making American Football appear mindnumbingly dull, Clooney's other mistake was to take John Krasinski of The Office fame down with him in constructing the most unappetizing of love triangles: Clooney, Krasinski and Zellweger.
Speed Racer (2008)
The Sport : The Wachowski brothers' change of scene left behind the anarchy of the Matrix trilogy and V For Vendetta , and produced this family-friendly film based on the Japanese anime series.
What Went Wrong? The intention was clear enough - transfer the frenetic energy of the cartoon to the big screen. However, the brothers weren't told that exhuberant colour, camp dialogue and an over-reliance on dodgy CGI doesn't produce exciting racing. It just looks weird. And all for a budget of $120 million...
Could Be Better? If this comedy highlighted anything, it was the Wachowskis' comparative talent for darker genres. Toning down the pastel colours and removing the monkey would have been a start.
The Sport : Fine, so it wasn't a sports film, but vampire baseball fully deserves its place on this list.
What Went Wrong? Everything seemed to be going so well. Bella and Edward had fallen in love, she'd met the family, they'd even climbed some trees together - then this game of thunderous baseball flipped the film upside down. Nasty vampires arrive, Bella has to flee, she gets bitten... And it looked ridiculous.
Could Be Better? The baseball game (aka Muse music video) looked off, but it's hard to argue with a worldwide gross of more than $1 billion.
Blades Of Glory (2007)
The Sport : Will Ferrell and John Heder enter the World Championships together in this bromance on ice.
What Went Wrong? Heder looked decent enough, but Will Ferrell never looked right - reduced as he was to dancing on ice, not in a metaphorical, graceful way, but with an ugly, unsteady and last-resortish style.
Could Be Better? Depending on how much you like Will Ferrell, this was arguably the last time he appeared without being annoying. What he lacked in manourverability, though, he made up for in other areas: "Personal Philosophy? Clothing Optional..."
Escape To Victory (1981)
The Sport : Pele, Bobby Moore and Michael Caine take to the field with Sylvester Stallone in goal as an Allied Prisoner camp take on the Germans.
What Went Wrong? Slyvester Stallone undid 90 minutes of hard-earned football authenticity through a hugely out-of-sync and misguided celebration to his last-minute penalty save. If you've just saved a penalty, don't kick it straight back to the other team in a fit of joy...
Could Be Better? What with Pele, Moore and Ardiles on board, as well as a host of other professionals, the action sequences actually looked pretty good. It's also hard to argue with the bulldog spirit - 4-1 down at half-time, but faced with an opportunity to escape, the choice seems simple. "But we can win this..."
Balls Of Fury (2007)
The Sport : Dan Fogler and Christopher Walken do battle in this warped look at the world of table tennis.
What Went Wrong? Dan Fogler hasn't really been seen since, which speaks volumes about how funny this sports comedy turned out. As for the action, extended scenes of a ball being returned unalterably, forehand to forehand, didn't hit any right notes.
Could Be Better? It's hard to think of a way in which table tennis could ever become hilarious, but Christopher Walken's appearance at least provided an attempt to make up for the shortage on Fogler's end.