Ed Burns’ two favorite sports movies were set far from his hometown of Valley Stream: “Hoosiers’’ and “Rocky.’’
“I’m a basketball junkie,’’ the actor/writer/director/producer said of his love for “Hoosiers,’’ which came out in 1986, when he was a senior at Hewlett High School and “basketball was my life.”
But Burns’ sports flick knowledge also extends closer to home than Indiana or Philadelphia. Hence his inclusion on the judging panel for MSG’s “The Lineup: Best NY Movies.’’
Actually, it’s a 10-part series that began Monday and runs through March 14, but one of the lists to be considered for the series is New York-based sports films, for the episode that premieres March 12.
The contenders are two from boxing, two from baseball and one from basketball: “Cinderella Man,’’ “Pride of the Yankees,’’ “Bang the Drum Slowly,’’ "Raging Bull" and “He Got Game.’’
Fellow panelist Spike Lee had to recuse himself on that last one, since it’s his film, but Burns had no such problems. Even though he is a big sports fan, including of the Knicks – “I love Melo and just hope he decides to re-sign with us’’ – his personal sports film resume is lacking.
“If all goes well, I’m shooting my first one this spring,’’ he said, referring to a project based on the novel “A Theory of Great Men,’’ in which he would play a high school teacher and basketball coach and get to show off his 46-year-old game “before the skills totally deteriorate.’’
Burns briefly played at SUNY-Oneonta, but he said he since has “lost my ups, and my handle isn’t what it used to be.’’
The MSG show did not require any more of him than to watch and talk about films with fellow New Yorkers (and Knicks fans) such as Lee.
“Obviously it doesn’t look like we’re going to make the playoffs unless there’s a great, miraculous run here,’’ he said. “But I’m still a fan. I love the Knicks. Everybody thought this would be a very different kind of season for us.’’