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Where Football And The Oscars Meet

Next weekend is the Oscars. However, this weekend is the Super Bowl, which is like the Oscars of football. I love both the Super Bowl and the Oscars, as somebody who loves football and film. However, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to combine the Academy Awards and the Big Game into one package? Well, in a way you can, because there are two football films that has been nominated for Best Picture.

To be fair, calling these movies “football” films is perhaps a bit of a stretch. They aren’t necessarily about football. They aren’t the gridiron equivalent of “Moneyball” or anything. That being said, football is prominently involved. The movies in question are “Heaven Can Wait” and Jerry Maguire.”

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First up we have “Heaven Can Wait,” which came out in 1978. The movie is a remake, in a way, of an older film called “Here Comes Mr. Jordan.” It was then also, in a way, remade again as the Chris Rock film “Down to Earth.” The connective tissue for all these films is that they are about a younger man who dies unexpectedly, and apparently “before their time,” so they are sent back down to Earth, but into the body of somebody else who had just died.

In “Heaven Can Wait,” Joe Pendleton is the backup quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams. When he is inadvertently taken away by his guardian angel, he is placed into the body of a rich old man, but Joe still wants to get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, so he seeks that goal out, despite his new body. It’s a comedy, but the rare one the Oscars seemed to enjoy. “Heaven Can Wait” got nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and also Best Actor for Warren Beatty.

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“Jerry Maguire” is about a sports agent with a name you can probably guess. Tom Cruise plays Jerry Maguire, an agent who quits his big job, has to get new clients, and also tries to date Renee Zellweger, who he would eventually have at “Hello.” Like “Heaven Can Wait,” this movie is a comedy as well, but more of a romantic comedy. Also, on the football front, Cuba Gooding Jr. played Rod Tidwell, a receiver for the Cardinals. He actually won an Oscar, taking home Best Supporting Actor. Then he made “Snow Dogs” and “Boat Trip.”

This weekend, you can watch the Super Bowl. Next weekend, it’s the Oscars. In between, though, you can bridge the difference by watching “Heaven Can Wait” and “Jerry Maguire.”

About Chris Morgan

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