8 Great Football Movies to Get You Psyched for Super Bowl LI

Clint O’Connor
Akron Beacon Journal (TNS)

Super Bowl LI kicks off Sunday night. Here are eight great football films to get you properly psyched for game time.

Super Bowl LI kicks off Sunday night. Here are eight great football films to get you properly psyched for game time.

1. Remember the Titans (2000).

Not only is this a fabulous movie, with Denzel Washington as a coach struggling to integrate a Virginia high school team in 1971, but it lends itself to a ridiculous number of repeat viewings. Heartfelt, funny and significant. “We are the Titans! Mighty Mighty Titans!” Look for 19-year-old Ryan Gosling and 10-year-old Hayden Panettiere.

2. Friday Night Lights (2004).

A triple treat. The film is terrific, so was the book it’s based on (by Buzz Bissinger), and they both led to one of the best TV shows of the new millennium. A coach (Billy Bob Thornton) and his team desperately try to satisfy the crazed fan base of Odessa, Texas, where football is a religion.

3. Brian’s Song (1971).

It’s OK, guys, go ahead and cry. The deep friendship between Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers (James Caan and Billy Dee Williams) takes a turn when we learn Brian is dying of cancer. What? You don’t like cheesy, made-for-TV movies? (Bonus casting: Dick Butkus plays Dick Butkus.)

4. The Longest Yard (1974).

Who knew felons could be so lovable? Burt Reynolds stars as former pro quarterback Paul Crewe, who organizes a motley team of prisoners to challenge the guards on the field in this funny, and tearful, film. Do not — I repeat, DO NOT — watch the Adam Sandler remake by mistake.

5. North Dallas Forty (1979).

Peter Gent played for the Dallas Cowboys and the film based on his book, with Nick Nolte and Mac Davis as “Dallas Bulls,” is one of the most realistic pro football films ever made. Sex and drugs and contract disputes. The Cowboys weren’t happy about the book. Or the movie.

6. Heaven Can Wait (1978).

Packed with laughs and heart, this comedy-drama spotlights the talents of co-director, co-writer and star Warren Beatty, who plays a pro quarterback “reincarnated” as a recently murdered blowhard. The excellent cast includes Julie Christie, Buck Henry and James Mason. Based on “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” from 1941.

7. Invincible (2006).

A 30-year-old teacher, coach and part-time bartender tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles in the mid-1970s and makes the team. No way? Way! Mark Wahlberg is wonderful in the based-on-a-true-story tale of Vince Papale. For the dreamer in all of us.

8. Rudy (1993).

Long before Sean Astin played Sam, a little guy bucking the odds in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he played a real-life little guy named Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger, bucking the odds of college football. Proof that unrelenting, dogged determination can get you places. Even at Notre Dame. Directed by David Anspaugh, who also made, arguably, the greatest sports movie ever: “Hoosiers.”

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.