Lets be honest, we all have seen some movies in our time. Some have been great, and leave a lasting impression on us. Others….well….not so much. But within the genre of movies, sports movies are always inspirational. In this article you’ll find the first of a few sports movie genres that I’ll be touching on. The first is football. I’ll be rating 6 of my top football movies along with a little story behind it. Lets get started shall we?
#6: Varsity Blues
James Van Der Beek shifts from leading the way with Dawson’s Creek to take the lead for West Canaan High School Varsity team as Jonathan “Mox” Moxon. He’s the talented back up that has to now fill in for the injured Lance Harbor (played by Paul Walker) and tackle his verbally abusive and focused head coach Bud Kilmer (played by Jon Voight). While football may seem tough to deal with, especially while being a teenager, off field life is not easier. With a controlling father wanting what he feels is best for his son, to a supportive girlfriend (played by Amy smart) Mox has a lot to think about.
Aside from a young all star cast, this movie has a lot of heart. Include the popular pieces, such as the phrase “I don’t want your life” and including the whipped cream bikini, it’s a stand out for any football fan. It’s message speaks volumes within today’s society as well. With toxic pieces within someone’s life, Varsity Blues shows strength on how to overcome, and take back what you want. Your own life!
#5: Friday Night Lights
Moving from a Texas based story to…Texas? Odessa Texas to be exact! Friday Night Lights is a nonfictional movie based on Perriman High School Panthers, and their quest to win a state championship. It’s movie is based on the book “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team and a Dream” written by H.G. Bissinger. Here the story focuses on their star running back James “Boobie” Myles, their quarterback Mike Winchell, and fullback Don Billingsley. The players, along with their coach Gary Gaines (Played by Billy Bob Thornton) go through tough odds on and off the field, as they deal with pressure from the town to win that championship, to the players dealing with off field pressures from home.
Friday Night Lights is a pretty good drama that shows ups and downs, and what true grit and determination can be. It also shows what struggles and pressures young athletes can go thru not only to win, but to survive. I do enjoy the story arc on the movie. It’s detailed from the true facts of Odessa, Texas and their football team, with some touch ups tossed in. Billy Bob Thornton gives a stellar performance as the coach, and is a true stand out. To add to, if you look close, you can also see a young Amber Heard as Maria in one of her first movies.
Side note from this movie: Ty Law played Graf, a wide receiver for Dallas Carter. He is wearing #2 for the team, and he filmed this while in his last season as a Patriot.
#4: We Are Marshall
We Are Marshall is a true story based on the events of the Southern Airways flight 932 that went down on November 14th 1970. The crash killed all 75 members on board, all who were apart of the Marshall University Football program. The team, coaches and staff were flying home from North Carolina after a loss to the East Carolina University Pirates. This movie touches on the team from Huntington West Virginia after the loss of loved ones, and what to do with their football program. Their choice is to go forward and continue with a rebuild of the team, and to honor those they lost.
Filled with a stellar cast lead by Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Mackie, and David Strathairn. It brings forth the newly hired head coach Jack Lengyel (played by McConaughey) to rebuild the football program. The story shows with tragic loss, there can be hope, and rebirth. It also brings awareness to underdogs out there. Never count them out. You may get surprised. I did love this story cuz it shows a town’s compassion, and strength. Along with the football nature of the story, it shows what we all can do together.
The true underdog story. Rudy tells the story of Daniel Eugene “Rudy” Ruettiger and his dream to play football for Notre Dame. He doesn’t have the size to play, nor the academic qualification to get accepted into the school. That doesn’t stop Rudy. He befriends some people within campus, enrolls in another school, and is given a job by the head groundskeeper. His determination and passion is well noticed by others to complete his goal. His struggles from a disability to people overlooking him can be related by a lot of people, even to this day.
Based in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Rudy (played by Sean Astin) shows how hard it is to get by in a small town. With the loss of his friend, and being mocked by family, his dream is no easy task. With a strong supporting cast, and very well written, it’s understandable why Rudy was on ESPN’s top 25 sports movies. (was ranked 4th by ESPN.com users). Rudy is a well put together story and shows just what an underdog can do. It’s love of the game shows anyone can do anything, as long as they put their mind to it.
#2 Any Given Sunday
This one was a tough one to choose between this and our #1. Of course the power with Any Given Sunday is not only the charismatic writing, but the rock star cast that’s behind it. I mean, how do you expect anything less than amazing. Al Pachino. Dennis Quaid. LL Cool J. Cameron Diaz. Jamie Foxx. Matthew Modine. This movie even has Charlton Heston! DAMN! Just reading the headliners you know you will be in for a treat of a movie!
Based in 1999, the Miami Sharks are struggling to make it to the playoffs. Between a build up of issues on and off the field, the movie shows just how much anything can change. From injuries to cockiness to arguing behind the scenes, this one showcases it all. From problems with the ownership, to problems with players, coach Tony D’Amato (played by Pachino) is struggling more than his other 30 year coaching career. It’s the need to build it up and get over the arrogance that the team needs. Powered by this speech here:
That speech got me through some hard times. I’ve also seen that speech shown by teams in businesses as motivation. It is true. You fight as a team….Or die as individuals! Powerful stuff from an amazingly powerful movie. Now you’ll see why it’s number 2!
#1 Remember the Titans
Like I said in Any Given Sunday, this one was tough! Both movies are powerful, and have a strong message sent out between them. As much as Al Pachino motivated his team, he couldn’t hold the candle to Denzel Washington. Of course Al Pachino’s Tony D’Amato is a fictional coach on a fictional team. Washington however is playing Herman Boone, a coach trying to integrate T.C Williams High School in Alexandria Virginia. The movie is a strong message that not everything has to be one sided.
In Remember the Titans, Boone (played by Washington) is taking over as head coach for the team as the high school in integrating. The former head coach Bill Yoast (played by Will Patton) is against it at first, since he is attempting to get into the school’s hall of fame. Most importantly this movie shows what it takes to see people divided by color, only to come together and show what we all can do if we work together. Above all, it can show what we, as humanity can do to make things better for all.
This movie does pack an amazing punch, and with up and coming stars to boot from it’s time. With Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Ethan Suplee, and even Ryan Gosling, this movie had what it takes to be a Titan!
In addition to the list, there were some honorable mentions. The Replacements, Draft Day, Little Giants, The Longest Yard (the one with Burt Reynolds), Waterboy, Invincible, and many others. There is a poll below where you can agree with the #1, or even vote for your own. Let me know what you also think in the comments as well.
Toph- Twitter @angry_turnip80
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