Robert Green, World Cup, 2010
The Mistake: Goalkeeper Green let a weak shot by Team USA’s Clint Dempsey slip through his fingers. That tied the game and sent heavily favored England into an uproar (while Americans everywhere rejoiced in their non-defeat).
We’d Cast: Tim Roth as Green. Too old, you say? Not after you hear the twist: Roth plays a middle-aged Green in postapocalyptic 2030. Convinced that the dystopian state of society came directly from his mistake, Green builds a time machine and travels back to June 12, 2010, to try to correct history. He’s chased by his old arch-nemesis (and mutant overlord) Clint Dempsey, played by Ron Perlman.
Bill Buckner, World Series, 1986
The Mistake: Red Sox first baseman kept the Curse alive when a ground ball rolled through his legs in the 10th inning of game 6 vs. the N.Y. Mets.
We’d Cast: Since Tom Selleck is a little too old, we’ll go with Jason Lee and his My Name Is Earl mustache. —Suggested by Sarah
Jana Novotna, Wimbledon, 1993
The Mistake: At one point the third-ranked female tennis player in the world, Novotna is best remembered today for her championship fizzle, when she let a commanding lead disappear in a haze of double faults. Afterwards, she cried on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent.
We’d Cast: Anna Faris as Novotna, Amanda Seyfried as Steffi Graf, and Helen Mirren as the Duchess. —Suggested by Mark
Diego Maradona, World Cup, 1986
The Mistake: Argentinean Maradona broke the laws of soccer physics when he knocked the ball past the English goalie…with his hand. The referee didn’t see anything, and the play stood. The incident is now referred to as ”the Hand of God.”
We’d Cast: Gael García Bernal as Maradona, Morgan Freeman as God. —Suggested by nodnarb
Arte Cosby, Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss, 1983
The Mistake: Cosby, a great kicker for Mississippi State, knocked the ball through the uprights for the game-winning field goal…until a 40 mph gust of wind blew the ball back through the uprights.
We’d Cast: The story might need a bit of spicing up to fill a feature, so how about if Cosby has to face off against all the elements on his path to glory? We envision Sam Worthington as Cosby, trying to kick 50-yard field goals through earthquakes, typhoons, firestorms, and 40 mph gusts of wind. —Suggested by Anne
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Seahawks, 2007
The Mistake: Romo botched the snap on a 19-yard field goal, handing the Seahawks a victory. (Later that year, he started dating Jessica Simpson.)
We’d Cast: Kellan Lutz as Tony Romo, Jessica Simpson as Jessica Simpson. —Suggested by Mikey
The last three decades of Seattle male athletic history
The Mistake: The Mariners, the Huskies, the Seahawks, the late Seattle SuperSonics… all of the Emerald City’s major sports teams seem perpetually cursed with poor decisions, boneheaded plays, and sheer bad luck.
We’d Cast: Forget a movie! We see a weekly anthology series, Love Boat-style, where each week a new cast of fading B-list guest stars re-enact a terrible moment from Seattle sports history. Call it Seattle Sports Snafus. (If the format takes off, we propose a spinoff: Cleveland Chaos Chronicle.) —Suggested by Stacie
Trying to Make Soccer Big in America, 1975 and 2007
The Mistake: In 1975, the New York Cosmos backed a truck full of money into the semiretired soccer superstar Pele’s driveway. In 2007, the Los Angeles Galaxy did the same for David Beckham. Despite both attempts, soccer still pales in the American public consciousness next to football, baseball, basketball, hockey, NASCAR, swimming every four years, figure skating every four years, lacrosse if you’re from the East Coast, volleyball if you’re from the West Coast, ultimate Frisbee, and dodgeball. (This despite the fact that half the kids in America play on a club soccer team.)
We’d Cast: The story of the New York Cosmos already made for a great documentary. We envision a time-jumping story line that follows Pele in the ’70s and Beckham in the ’00s as both past-their-prime legends waltz through the curiously American intersection of big-money sports hucksterism and genuine adoration for a sport that, for whatever reason, seems perpetually in the background of our national sport-o-sphere. For actors, how about Jamie Foxx doing his perfect-imitation thing with Pele and Christian Bale doing his buff-god-of-war thing as David Beckham. —Suggested by Ames
Zinedine Zidane, World Cup, 2006
The Mistake: It was the final game of the World Cup. It was the final World Cup match in Zidane’s storied career. He had already been awarded the Golden Ball (the Cup MVP award). He had already scored a point off a penalty kick. And then, in extra time, with the game tied, Zidane head-butted Italian Marc Materazzi in the chest. (The reasons are still being debated, though Materazzi later claimed he’d made an ungentlemanly reference to Zidane’s sister.)
We’d Cast: Russell Crowe as Zidane and Vincent Cassel as Materazzi. (Yes, Cassel’s French, but the resemblance is uncanny.) —Suggested by KLC
Earnest Byner, AFC Championship Game, 1988
The Mistake: Browns running back Byner was just a few yards from a game-tying touchdown when he fumbled the ball. The Broncos won the game.
We’d Cast: Byner actually played an incredible game pre-fumble, so this could be an interesting twist on the sports-movie genre: A great player plays a great game, but a minor mistake in the closing minutes ends the team’s championship chances. We see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Byner. —Suggested by Byner
Steve Bartman, NLCS, 2003
The Mistake: Cubs fan Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul ball…and didn’t see that Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou was also trying to catch it. The missed catch didn’t lose the game, but it left a dark cloud over Chicago that followed Bartman for years.
We’d Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman as Bartman, wrapped in a web of Kafkaesque paranoia. —Suggested by Laura
Armando Galarraga, Tigers vs. Indians, two weeks ago
The Mistake: The Tigers pitcher was half an inning away from a perfect game when first-base umpire Jim Joyce made a historic bad call on a ground ball.
We’d Cast: The last time there was a movie about referees, it was 1995, and Forget Paris was unmemorable. We see Stacy Keach as Jim Joyce, a talented umpire caught up in a modern media hailstorm, plus Christopher Plummer as Bud Selig. —Suggested by John
Jean Van de Velde, British Open, 1999
The Mistake: With a three-shot lead going into the final hole of the tournament, Van de Velde’s game turned into a comedy of errors: One shot bounced off the grandstands, and another landed in an infamous strip of water called the Barry Burn. Van de Velde’s performance left him in a three-way playoff, which he lost.
We’d Cast: Mathieu Amalric as Van de Velde, and the film takes place in real time, with a brief flash-forward to when Amalric replayed the hole years later…with a putter.