Beyond entertain us, a real good film has to make us feel something. A comedy has to make us laugh, a horror film has to scare us and when it comes to a sports film, the greatest ones are those who actually get us off our seats and roar out of excitement. For example, watching a boxing match and feeling every punch.
Today we will go throw five out of the greatest sports movie that has graced the big screen. Some can be somewhat predictable, while others not so much, and luckily, you will find some gems.
Sylvester Stallone’s arguably magnum opus – this film is the ultimate underdog story. This particular sport has been making waves on the screen since the early days of cinema, with some icons like Charlie Chaplin pulling some nice punches on the classic City Lights and some of the greatest directors like Stanley Kubrick started shooting some docs for some live matches, so the number of films where to pick from are quite extensive.
However, what makes this Oscar winning film the best out of the prominent, at least for me, it’s the fact that it really knows how to blend the romance, the humor and the actual fights with such a balance, where everything works. The camera work by Avildsen is incredible, the Academy Award winning editing work by Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad is as iconic as the film and the score itself. Stallone genuine and heartwarming performance as this golden boy always feels authentic and it often comes out very inspirational.
Just like Boxing, Football is the most respected sport in the US. Darn, some may say it’s the national sport of America. Just like Argentinians breath soccer and Dominicans can’t leave without Baseball – you can always bet on the NFL to draw the biggest audiences in the US soil (just look at those Super Bowl numbers).
Therefore, picking the best NFL movie was quite hard. Any Given Sunday, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights and the list keeps gets on and on. But there’s something about this Tom Cruise’s starrer, Cameron Crowe held film that makes it stand out, at least for me.
It could be its iconic lines (“Show Me The Money?!”) or overall incredible from performances from all its leads and supporting cast – this was Crowe at its peak, back when he was capable of taking this, at first sight, boring stories and fleshing out each of his characters, making us feel for each one of them and getting ourselves in their shoes.
There are a few romantic sports film out there, but none is as charming and funny as Bill Durham. The way how Susan Sarandon does play this Baseball religious borderline zealot it walks the thin line between freaky and lovely. Kevin Costner as this broken down, out of his luck but talented catcher that finds its way educating and helping bring the best out of this overly talented (one may call him a prodigy) pitcher but immature pitcher, wonderfully played by Tim Robbins.
The ups and down, as well as the screen chemistry by Robbins, Sarandon and Costner helps elevating what it could be a melodramatic, cliché romantic film to some higher grounds. The comedy timing blends perfectly with the whole love triangle, never feeling cringy nor forced.
Probably the most controversial pick out of all so far, one may rightfully say there are tons and tons of better Basketball-themed films out there.
However, call it nostalgia, but out of all of them, Space Jam reigns supreme. So many shots and set pieces on that movie have reached memorable levels, from the Pulp Fiction references to the pretty, say, welcoming kiss from Bunny to Jordan – aside from the animated characters, the human’s performances can look and sound God awful, yet, for me, it personally works. Especially because, besides Michael, who plays the lead, all the other characters that shared most of the spotlight such as Wayne Knight are pretty hilarious. The Meta tone also fits very well, with the whole film concept.
Here still waiting for that sequel!
Fists of Fury
If we go by Wiki standards, Martial Arts does fit in the whole Sports film category. By going with this logic, there are way too many exciting movies to choose from. Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen – there are so many actors that have built themselves a name on this particular genre.
However, at the end of the day, the king of them all is the one and only Bruce Lee. And with Enter The Dragon, Way of the Dragon, Chinese Connection – I really had to go with The Big Boss aka Fistsof Fury.
The blend of crazy stunts and fight choreography by Lee along with a pretty gruesome Thriller plotline, makes this such an exciting and mostly entertaining film to watch. This debut by the master of the Kung Fu showcases most of the things that will become part of the whole Bruce Lee’s filmography structure – campy humor, romance and treason that often borderlines into the melodramatic, mind boggling fight stunts that shows the talent and skills from its star and so much more.
If you aren’t that familiar with this icon’s work, this would be a great way to start.