Run Away From Your LA Problems

As I sit in an endless line of traffic to merge on to the 405, I find myself looking out longingly to the mountains ahead. The mind-numbing hell scape that is Los Angeles’s gridlocked streets and freeways seems to test me in new ways every day of my life. And while finding alternative means of transportation may sometimes partially abate this disdain for congestion, occasionally you have to escape the city itself to find peace.

And how do I do that? I run.

What makes LA so tolerable and in truth extremely enjoyable is how easily you can sneak off into nature before that 9am meeting in West Hollywood. Beaches, trails, mountains, and endless stairs wait for you to attack them with the fury that only bumper to bumper traffic can bring.

So, if you are looking for new spots to run, hike, or walk, look no further for you have found David’s BEST spots to run in LA.

Runyon Canyon:

Image Via: City of LA

This is without a doubt the most popular hike in LA, and possibly southern California. Runyon Canyon is tucked up in the hills above West Hollywood and snakes through the canyon for a 3-mile roundtrip excursion. While the crowds here somewhat defeat the purpose of escaping the buzz of the city, the hike’s many paths and trails allow people of all fitness levels to enjoy themselves.

Personally, I love to go to Runyon when I’m in a rush, the shorter loop makes it an efficient morning workout. This being a dog friendly zone, my dog and I take on the large asphalt hill that leads to the summit of the park. It’s not an easy run to the peak, but once you’re there the view of LA is unmatched. It’s truly the best way to see the city in its entirety. Side note, if you have friends coming to the city for the first time, take them here. It’s around a ton of other things to do and gives them the best view of their surroundings and lets you appreciate how truly MASSIVE this city is.

Hollywood Sign Hike:

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Image Via: Getty

The second most frequented hike in LA but still just as enjoyable is the Hollywood Sign Hike. There are many routes to get up behind LA’s iconic signage, personally, I like to start at Brush Canyon. Easily accessible and chalk full of parking, taking Canyon Dr. to the Brush Canyon trail, is the easiest way to start this journey.

Once you’ve parked, it’s a 6.4 mile trek to get up and down this well managed and somewhat strenuous Hike. To get a great workout in but not throw up, I like to run from the base to the first summit (about 1.25 miles up) and take a break as I enjoy the view. This first section is a beast to run and a nice stroll to hike. Once you’ve gotten here the next sloping section is an enjoyable and easy run full of horses, dogs, and since it’s LA… PEOPLE. Once you finish this section you arrive at an asphalt hill that can take you up behind the sign for a gorgeous view of the city, and a unique perspective on 9 letters. Be warned, this section is rough. Strenuous to walk and screw you I’m not running this. If you’re like me and have been behind the sign, I like to continue the sloping section and stop at a great view directly in front of the sign.

This hike is rad but can get packed in peak seasons. Wake up early and knock this one out before the tourists get there and the sun tries to kill you. SIDE NOTE. If your Dad is in town and you want to impress him cause your career isn’t, take him on the small side trail by the parking lot to show him the tunnel to the Batcave from the Adam West era Batman.

The Culver City Stairs:

Image Via: KCET

Fuck you Culver let me bring my dog with me.

Sorry, had to get that out there. ANYWAY…. The Culver City Stairs are a brutal ascent up the side of a 400 ft hill at the Baldwin Hills scenic overlook. Again, this location is crowded night and day, so you don’t get to escape those damn people, but if you want your legs feeling like jello in a short amount of time, this is your spot.

The stairs make for an awesome workout, with steps varying in size from 1 to 3 ft high, you get a BLAST to your lower appendages. And once at the top you can take in a new view of LA. With most popular hikes being on the northern side of LA, the Culver City Stairs provide you with a great and uncommon perspective of LA from downtown to the sea.

Personally, I like to take the stairs up and run down the backside trails to the start for each round. This keeps me from walking down these monster stairs which I’m sure I will one day fall on.

Escondido Falls:

Image Via: The Outdoor Project

Way up north, just off the PCH sits a small un assuming parking lot. After leaving your car here without knowing if this is the right spot or not you walk up an asphalt road. After meandering through palatial Malibu homes, you finally arrive at the entrance to Escondido Canyon Park. While the walk through the neighborhoods is not exactly a nature romp, it is an awesome look at the Malibu lifestyle that I will never be able to obtain.

Once you make it to the park entrance the hike in is easy, flat, and gorgeous. With the entire hike being 3.8 miles roundtrip, this hike is fun for all. When you reach the end, you find yourself at either a flat dry canyon wall, or if it’s the right time of year, a fantastic waterfall thundering down to earth.  And if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, you are able to climb up a difficult but doable hillside to get to the upper falls. This climb requires the use of roots, ropes, and your acceptance of getting dirty.

Escondido Falls is an easy hike or run with a terrific payoff at the end. The drive up PCH is a long one, but if you have to be driving, Highway 1 is the best place to do it.

Temescal Canyon Loop


Image Via: Peaks and Professors

Right of Sunset in the Pacific Palisades, Temescal Canyon beckons you away from the water with the promise of beautiful views and a satisfying workout…and what does she do? She delivers. This loop is one of my favorite hikes or runs in LA. Its terrain allows you to stretch this from a 2 mile trot all the way up to a 5 mile trek if you’re “feeling dangerous” – a quote by the savior of football, Baker Mayfield.

I like to park on sunset to avoid paying park fees, because I like keeping my money and the city of LA gets enough of it with their damn meters and tickets. From the street simply stroll your way through the parking lots and tuck into the canyon as soon as you see a trail. Once you land on the main trail it’s a steady climb to the peak. If you can run this whole thing I will take you out for a beer. If you’re like me and alternate between a jog and a run on hills like this, it will be an awesome challenge but one you can do.

Once at the top you will have a panorama view of Malibu and West LA. This hike gives you the best and most expansive view of the west side, since anything near Hollywood will be so drenched in smog that you can’t see past century city.

I highly recommend this hike to novice LA explorers who are trying to break out of their Runyon Canyon ruts. This spot is not too far out of the city, not too difficult, but will prepare you for the more advanced Angelino adventures.


Ocean Front Run

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Image Via: Getty

Now this next one is pretty obvious, but necessary if you are an LA runner. Directly down the street from Temescal Canyon is the parking lot for Will Rodgers State Beach. You can park your car here for a small fee and pull up directly to the Ocean Front Walk, a curving, flat, paved walkway that ambles its way from the Palisades all the way to Marina Del Rey.

Why I like to come all the way up to the top of this path to start this run, is that it provides you with the entire scenery of LA’s beaches. Obviously, this doesn’t include Malibu and Hermosa and all the fantastic So Cal beaches nearby. But here, as you run you go from the state beach, to Santa Monica, under the pier, through Main street’s beaches, you dodge in and out of performers and scared tourists in Venice Beach. It’s a snapshot of LA’s beach culture and you get to take it all in just by running.

I like to stop in Venice Beach and run back, anymore and you are pushing 10 miles. And since I have the knees of an 80 year old baseball catcher I am not doing that shit.


Mount Baldy


MOUNT BALDY MOTHER FUCKER! This hike is intense with a capital I. Wait, should I have just capitalized the i? Who cares we’ll let my editor Jared deal with that mess. Mount Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and will kick your ass from top to bottom. Since I am not insane like some people, I merely hiked this daunting mountain (which is also just a ski resort in winter? So, you are hiking a ski resort…super easy). The picturesque hillsides and stunning greenery make you almost forget about your burning quads.

Mount Baldy is about an hour drive from LA with no traffic, so leave early. I left at 6:30am and pulled up to parking lot packed to the gills. Luckily, we got a spot and the hike is so huge that groups space out, allowing for you to hike without the annoyance of others (side note, if you are one of those people that hike with a speaker so everyone else can hear your music, please stop it). Make sure to get a nature permit for the day at the Ranger station in town, if you don’t you’re going to need to drive allllll the way back down a long circuitous hill to get it. Which I would have had to do if it wasn’t for a random woman that provided me with an extra, you are my angel and I will never forget you.

Baldy is an 11 mile hike that should take you 7 to 8 hours. There are death defying narrow trails, views unmatched by any other peak in So Cal, and trees so pretty you’ll want to kiss them. Also, if you skip the loop and double back the way you came, you can stop off at the ski lodge for some beers, which after a hike this hard will be well deserved.


Baldy is my favorite hike in LA County. It’s a tough one, and somewhat of a drive to get to, but if you are craving an escape, this is the place to get it.


West Ridge Trail Head


Mount Baldy may be my favorite hike in the county, but this is the best run in the city.

The West Ridge Trailhead leads to a rollercoaster of undulating trails over and back the tops of mountainsides that cascade through the Westridge-Canyonback wilderness. These trails and views are almost unbelievable in their grandiose beauty. And the best part about it, only true locals seem to know about this hike. I always park on the street as the lot is tiny, but it’s free either way.

This hike has everything you want from an LA escape. Its easily accessible through a short drive up the Brentwood Hills, it’s dog friendly, there are routes difficult and easy, it’s gorgeous, and best of all… it’s quiet. Unlike all other hikes I have found in LA, this one is the most consistently empty. While you run the trails and explore each new ridge, you find yourself sinking into relaxation. Every curse word yelled at you by drivers on your way here seem to dissolve from your mind, all the stress of the city below seems to melt away. This is the place to truly get away from the rat race that is LA. This trail is more than a great run, it’s a reset button for you.


The Cinema Bar

I took a week off from drinking last week. And while this hindered my ability to create a column about consuming alcohol in public, it really made me feel terrific… this is a lie, breaks are for quitters, AND I AINT NO QUITER.

Good, now that that’s out of the way let’s get to what I did the other night after three glasses of Rosé (I got that box wine at Trader Joe’s thinking it was a cab and didn’t read the label L)

Image Via: LA Weekly

A childhood friend of mine had a show happening in LA and after plugging in the address I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was less than a mile from my home! Thank god because I have quickly discovered that getting anywhere in LA from Culver takes 30 minutes or the entirety of your mid 20s.

The exterior of The Cinema Bar looks like an old country saloon that the city stole from the Sony lot around the corner and stuck in between two buildings on Sepulveda. It’s wooden paneling and old neon sign were a welcome sight in a city so in love with modernization.

After successfully not being hit on my bird scooter, I met with my friend and headed inside. Once you pass through the gateway of the bar you are struck by the sheer regularity of the décor. While there is nothing wrong with a straight forward vibe, The Cinema bar makes you feel like you just stepped into every single dive bar in the mid-west. But this commonality is quickly abated by the tiny stage in the corner of the bar and the soothing music coming off of it. While I assume the genres differ by the day of the week, I loved to hear the folk music being performed. The sad soothing tunes seemed to meld with the surroundings to create an environment like none I have found in LA. And the discovery of the back patio made me resend my initial judgement of The Cinema Bar’s ordinary setting.

Image Via: LA Weekly

The bartender at CB (THAT’S RIGHT. I ABREVIATED THE CINEMA BAR. DEAL WITH IT) was straightforward and had the necessary tools to open the beer I ordered. With the show going on and the wine in my system, I had no need to focus on the service or order a cocktail. So lucky you CB, you get a 10/10 on service by default.

The prices were LA prices. No crazy costs, but definitely no cheap deals either. Yet nothing reminds you that you aren’t in a quaint Nebraska bar like paying $6 for a beer. I’m serious, go to any mid-western state and order a beer, you will think you’re in a 3rdworld country when they tell you it’s $2.

The bar is perfect for a small show. Once you get your drinks and sit down in the back, you can take in the great music and watch the locals. And when I mean locals I mean grumpy old men who call out requests and take down beers like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs.

The Cinema Bar is a lax dive with no frills but no issues. Without the live band it would be middle of the road. But with the incorporation of the music and the eclectic locals, this standard spot transforms to somewhat of a hidden gem. If you are looking for a new place to hear up and coming bands, or want to find a venue where a drunk 60 year old man might yell “play free bird” like he coined the phrase, then I highly suggest you make a stop here.

(All rankings out of 5)

Décor: **

Bartenders: ****

Bar Flies: *****

Price: $$

Overall score: 80/100

The Tattle Tale Room

What’s that you’re reading? The musings of your 234thfavorite writer? Can it be? Yes folks, I have returned. After a long hiatus I have jumped back on my journey of discovering my city through it’s watering holes, endless bars, and countless clubs.

My life has had a series of twists and turns over my multi-month break, but one that directly affects this column is the fact that I have moved to the beautiful city of Culver. No longer do I side step trash and avoid getting hit by cars at every corner, now it’s just calm tree lined streets… oh and brand new places to drink.

Culver City has a cornucopia of exciting restaurants, fancy bars, happy hours, and fantastic pubs. But what better way to get to know your neighborhood then by going to your local dive bar. And with it being a Monday night and my terrible San Francisco 49ers playing my good friend’s also terrible Green Bay Packers, we decided to head over to The Tattle Tale Room.

Photo Via: SmartPricer

The Tattle Tale Room sits at the edge of a strip mall in South Culver, and this spot pulls no punches in letting you know it’s there. The bright blue building with screaming red trim beacons you in from Sepulveda, and the Packers flag outside lets you know what this place is ALL about. The second we stepped inside we were met by a ferocious roar as Aaron Rodgers threw for a first down against my porous and sad defense. While I normally don’t indulge in sports bars that are directly rooting against my team (“The Tattle Tale is an official Green Bay Packers bar”), The Tattle Tale will always be an exception. Dimly lit, and sporadically decorated, the small bar hits all the bench marks for what you want your dive to be. This no-frills spot with posters, signs, and mirrors plastered on every wall, makes you feel like you have briefly escaped the superficial and material world that is LA.

The energy inside the bar was electric to say the least. Packed from wall to wall with green jerseys and a couple cheese heads, the patrons were having the time of their life. And while navigating a crowded bar with liquored up adults can sometimes lead to rude exchanges and even fights, it could not have been more opposite here. As we pushed our way through the congested entrance to find a spot to watch the game, people moved aside, ushered us through, and shepherded us to a fantastic position (maybe people are just nicer over here or maybe it’s because my buddy Stokes was in his Packers jersey). As the game progressed it was amazing to see this community come together in support of their team. Say what you will about football’s clear and undeniable danger to the health and well-being of its players… nothing brings strangers together like one man laying out another on national TV.

The Bartenders at Tattle Tale were quick, kind, and efficient. With over 75 people packed into the tight space and a very limited countertop, it was fantastic to see no one waiting more than one to two minutes to get their drink. While I like to experiment with my cocktail orders to get the feel for a bar, this night called for beer. And my long day called for a tall can. So with my tall boy in hand and my #1 Packers friend having the same, we leaned back and relaxed as I lost money on yet another bad Niners game. But it wasn’t all bad, just like the patrons and the bartenders, other people working the bar made the night fantastic. Employees kept the vibe up with DJ sets during commercials and raffles during time outs. Every staff member at this bar worked cohesively to keep the energy up and the party going.

The prices were wonderful. Standard cheap beers/well cocktails and $7 tall cans, what more could you ask for? Tattle Tale also has drink specials for the Packers and free pool on Tuesdays, so if you’re looking for a fun evening that won’t break the bank, this is your spot.

While I didn’t see a menu anywhere at the bar, pizza was everywhere. Tattle Tale seems to have free or cheap food at different times throughout the week. And if you need something more, there is a kebab shop one door down and plenty of fast food within walking distance.

Tattle Tale is a fantastic dive bar, and with 10 TVs it’s also a perfect sports bar for any team (unless they have a strict “No Vikings Game” policy, which wouldn’t surprise me). This local gem has been going strong for over 45 years, and once you get inside you will see why. So do yourself a favor and get over to Culver City, there’s plenty waiting for you at The Tattle Tale Room.

(All rankings out of 5)

Décor: ****

Bartenders: *****

Bar Flies: *****

Price: $

Overall score: 90/100

Sassafras Saloon

There are only a few phrases that I will always say yes to; do you want the rest of my food? I’m buying the next round, do you want a drink? And, let’s go to Sassafras, you down? Sassafras saloon is one of my favorite bars in Los Angeles, and with so many unexplored neighborhoods and establishments, it’s a good sign when a bar can bring me back time and time again.

Photo via:

Located right off Fountain and Vine, this Hollywood saloon lives up to the old timey vibe its name suggests. Bottles of whiskey hanging from a rotating conveyer belt, decorations looking like a scene straight from Westworld, and a stage two stories up for live music. Sassafras goes all out to capture the bar of the past, and while most establishment’s attempts at this seem tacky, they hit the nail on the head.

Photo via:

While music and décor are important, the crowning achievement of this bar is the alcohol and the people who serve it. Friendly and fast bartenders churn out craft cocktails and beers like a well-oiled assembly line. I normally get nervous watching a man with mustache wax work on my whiskey sour like it’s his dissertation. Yet, here they perform with such speed and precision I would trust them with an open heart surgery…if I was in a pinch. The cocktails aren’t cheap, but if you are like me and believe that Miller high life is the answer to all your problems, then order some of these $5 babies and enjoy yourself.

If money is really tight, then I suggest you hit this spot on Tax Day. While this day of misery and despair (shouts out all you freelancers out there) comes once a year to wreck our bank accounts and our lives, you can offset your pain with a trip to Sassafras. “$1 old fashions for as long as supplies lasts”. That’s all I needed to hear last year and I was off like a bat out of hell. And after this past Tax Day I am batting 1.000 with getting absolutely wrecked on my 9th favorite cocktail.

The Managing Editor of Lowupside, Craig Horlbeck enjoying his first Tax Day at Sassafras

The patrons of this bar seem to rotate like the whiskey bottles dangling above their heads. One night you have ex-frat stars showing off their money from their first paycheck at Paramount, the next the dance floor is a minefield of swing dancers boogying to the loudest music you have ever heard (sometimes it is legitimately too loud. Maybe I’m getting to the age yet where every bar is too loud, but it can get RIDICULOUS). But all in all, the people of Sassafras are there to get drunk and have a good time. I have yet to have a bad experience with a fellow costumer, but I also have never been on a Monday, so maybe I will have to try that out.

© Sassafras

Sassafras is the perfect bar for a fun evening with friends, or a great 2nd or 3rd date spot. Also, if you are new to the area and your buddy from college told you about this awesome bar called Davey Wayne’s, you are most likely going to spend 45 minutes in a seeminlgy stationay line. When that happens, try walking down Vine to Sassafras. The longest wait is 5 minutes, and you’ll look like a seasoned Angelino for knowing this hidden gem in plain site.

(All rankings out of 5)

Décor: *****

Bartenders: *****

Bar Flies: ***

Price: $$$

Overall score: 98/100

The Five Best Golf Movies of All Time

Imagine yourself out in the world. A gentle breeze caresses your face, the feeling of grass below your feet carries each one of your steps to the next like you are walking on clouds. Your friends are there, your stress is gone, heck, you might even have a beer in your hand. And then bang! You hit your 3rd tee shot into the fucking woods.

Welcome to golf. Easily the most fun and infuriating sport or activity to ever grace Earth. A sport that gets you excited, yet leaves you frustrated and confused on why you ever started with it in the first place. I am assuming this is how most of my past relationships have felt but that’s neither here nor there.

And with a sport this exasperating, this vexing, this mind-numbingly maddening, why play at all when you can just kick back and watch a beautiful film about other people doing it? Golf movies have been an underrated past time in sports cinema since the dawn of the moving picture. That’s clearly an exaggeration. Let’s say they have been since Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis starred in The Caddy. Well, not really, truly there are only a handful of films that seem to get it right. And so, below you will find the indisputable list of the five best golf movies of all time. (Spoilers ahead.)

  1. The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Image Via Touchstone copy
Photo: © Touchstone

The Greatest Game Ever Played starring Shia LeBeouf and Stephan Dillane portrays the true story of Francis Ouimet (LeBeouf), a young amateur beating the great Harry Vardon (Dillane) in the 1913 US open. A heart-warming tale about a boy following his dreams, meeting and facing his idol, and overcoming adversity. Which is exactly why this film barely squeaks into the top five. How many films can we see where a boy’s father (in this case played by Elias Koteas, who does a fantastic job of being one hell of a hard ass) tells him his hopes and goals are dumb and that he should be working hard manual labor like him and all those before him have done. And then what?! He becomes great and also earns his father’s love?! #Disney. But what this film loses in its clichés it makes up for in pure fun. It’s always a joy to see the poor underdog fight his way up from the trenches, or for the sake of this article, the bunkers, and win. Both Ouimet and Vardon fight personal demons within them and class battles around them to get to where they are. We see growth in both men, both on and off the course. And while they battle each other on the links, the antagonist of the film is Lord Northcliffe. Northcliffe, played by Peter Firth, represents the upper class society that has kept Ouimet and Vardon down their whole lives. And when Ouimet, a poor caddy wins, he shows that “he’s the best, because of who he is. Not who his father was, not how much money he’s got, because of who he bloody is!” But let’s get to the best part of this film. Peyton List. Oh good Lord. List portrays Sarah Wallis, a rich girl headed off to college who has had passing eyes with Ouimet since their younger years. The fact that she didn’t explode on to the Hollywood scene after this movie is a travesty.

  1. Caddy Shack
Image Via Getty Images
Photo: © Getty Images

If you think Caddy Shack should be number one, then fucking @ me (@DLEDWITH42). Don’t get me wrong, this 1980 classic is just that, a classic. With a cast including Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield, this film leaves you laughing on your first, second, and 18th time through it. But while this movie holds up as one of the funniest films to come out of that decade, it lacks what true GREAT sports movies have, suspense, drama, and a plot line that has more going for it than Danny’s scholarship. While the plot bounces around a bit, the story mainly focuses on Caddy, Danny Noonan’s (Michael O’Keefe) quest to earn a scholarship from his home club’s leader, Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight). But this takes a backseat for Smails who can’t get away from Al Czervik’s (Dangerfield) invasion of the country club. His loud, brash, and hilarious antics anger Smails to no end and leads to a final showdown. And don’t forget the patron saint of mediocre golfers everywhere; Bill Murray plays a groundskeeper hell bent on ridding the country club of a devilishly destructive and cuddly cute gopher. And there’s the umpteenth subplot about Chevy Chase’s character, Ty Webb, an uber-confident yet fumbling club member whose wealth and advice dip in and out of the story like me reaching into my bag for another beer every time the round seems a little dull.

  1. Happy Gilmore
Photo: Via Youtube

Back before Click, Adam Sandler used to be a comedy god. I’m serious, look at his IMDB, before Click, Adam Sandler was great, after that, BOOM nothing (other than Funny People, but whatever shut up, my point has been made). And one of his crowning achievements is without a doubt the 1996 classic, Happy Gilmore. Sandler stars as Happy Gilmore, a down on his luck hockey player who can do just about two things: fight and slap the shit out of a puck. When he discovers that the IRS is repossessing his loving Grandma’s house, he quickly needs to find a way to earn the money needed to buy it back. Through dumb luck, he discovers he can hit a golf ball a country mile. After hustling at the driving range earning small change towards his lofty goal, a golf pro by the name of Chubbs (Carl Weathers) sees Happy and convinces him to compete in the Waterbury Open. One thing leads to another, and wouldn’t you know it, Happy finds himself on the pro tour. His everyman’s personality and crazy (sometimes violent) antics attract loads of new fans but get him in hot water with the tour as well as the antagonist of the story, Shooter McGavin. Shooter, played by Christopher McDonald (he will never escape this role, I don’t care who you play or even if you win the Oscar, McDonald, you will ALWAYS be Shooter McGavin *finger guns*), embodies the D-Bag rich golfer that we’ve all seen at the course. And if you haven’t seen this type of guy at the course, sorry but you are probably him. The film focuses on Happy’s battle to win back his Grandmother’s house, his battle with Shooter, and his inner struggle to find his “Happy Place.” This film is stocked top to bottom with memorable quotes, fantastic scenes, and true fun-to-watch golf matches. And that’s exactly why it takes the number three spot on the list. So, sorry Caddy Shack fans, but “Somebody’s cloooooser.”

Photo: Via Imgur

Also, the PR rep from the tour and Happy’s later-on girlfriend Virginia Venit is also the mom from Modern Family?! How did I not know this!? You didn’t know either so don’t act like you’re not surprised.

  1. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Actors Matt Damon, Will Smith, J Michael Moncrief
Photo: © Getty Images

“Matt Damon is in a golf movie!?” you say as you discover this film scrolling through your Netflix options. “Well surely no one else is in it, cause I have never heard of this before. What?! Will Smith! They must have had no money left for the love interest, they probably just casted some nobody. Charlize Theron! What?!” Well, you beautiful reader you, you are surely in for a treat. The turn-of-the-century classic known as The Legend of Bagger Vance follows Rannulph Juna (Damon), a once-great golf player who had everything: his skill, the admiration and respect of his town, and the love of a great woman (Theron). But after he leaves to fight in WWI, he can’t bring himself to return to the life he once knew. And just like all those who stayed awake in their high school history classes know, a little while after the war to end all wars ended, the great depression swallowed up our country whole. And little ole Savannah Georgia wasn’t safe either. Juna’s love, Adele Invergordon, belonged to the wealthiest family in Savannah, and after her father’s suicide she does everything she can to save the course she owns and the town she loves. To do so, she starts a tournament with the world’s best golfers to compete, drawing the attention and interest of sports fans nationwide. And when the town needs one of their own to compete, who happens to return but Juna himself. After much convincing he agrees to participate. But his demons from the war have taken his “true swing” away. He can’t hit the ball straight to save his life, but Bagger Vance appears early on and proves to be just the guiding light Juna needs. This film is fantastic, the acting is fun, the set design and writing are excellent, and the golf feels real. I watch this movie till the end from wherever I pick it up on TV. If you haven’t seen it before, tee it up immediately and if you have, watch it again.

  1. Tin Cup
Photo: Via Golf Digest

Kevin Costner. You gorgeous man you.

1996 must have been the year for golf because not only did Tiger Woods turn professional but coming in at NUMBER ONE the brilliant film that is Tin Cup was also released. Costner stars as Roy McAvoy, a golf pro running a driving range in Salome, Texas. His life is filled with boring days at the range, bets with friends, and not much else. That is until Dr. Molly Griswold (Rene Russo) shows up for her first lesson. McAvoy (nicknamed Tin Cup) immediately falls for her, but soon realizes his old college friend, and current nemesis, pro golfer David Simms (Don Johnson) currently has her heart. The plot goes on to follow McAvoy’s quest to win the Doc’s love, and through careful planning and deliberation (not really) he comes to the conclusion that winning the US open and beating Simms will surely bring him and Molly together. Next comes a fun and frustrating journey of qualifying rounds, bets big and small, and good ole-fashioned golf, all accented by the amazing performance of Cheech Marin who plays Romeo, McAvoy’s caddy and best friend. This film takes the top spot because it has it all: great writing, drinking, betting, strippers, love, missed putts, long drives, and the good guy coming out on top. But the real reason Tin Cup finds itself on the top of the list is because it is the truest depiction of golf there is. McAvoy doesn’t win the US open. He blows up on the last hole, all while trying to prove that he can just make this ONE shot. Golf is the hardest game there is, because no matter how much you practice, or how much you work out, if you can’t get out of your own head… you’re fucked. But Costner’s character isn’t lost or distraught after the loss, he proved himself in a different way, he got the girl, he has his friends, and he loves the hell out of the game.

And that’s what golf is, you hit it into the woods and shank left and right all day, but it’s that one perfect shot that keeps you coming back every time. And each one of these movies are those shots, great in their own ways, and will continue to be re-watched by others and myself time and time again.