The acclaimed drama set in a high school in a small Texas town is not so much a sports drama as a drama about people whose lives were—for better and for worse—defined by sports.
Brad Pitt makes it look effortless in this a drama about the business of baseball in the era of multi-million dollar payrolls, which It earned six Academy Award nominations.
Men with Brooms (2002) – Think The Full Monty on ice: Canada’s most famous TV Mountie Paul Gross (Due South) puts tongue firmly in cheek as he applies the old underdog sports team formula to that great Northern obsession: curling. (You thought hockey was the national obsession? So did Canada.) Gross directs, co-writes, produces and stars […]
Whip It (2009), the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, is a grrrl power movie on wheels. Set in the funky DIY world of local roller derby leagues, it stars Elliot Page in their best role since Juno. Bliss Cavendar is neither as smart-ass nor as confident as the sardonic Juno MacGuff. This restless girl in […]
In the 2000s, Will Ferrell had an enviable run of hit comedies. To my mind, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) is the funniest of the batch. Set in the NASCAR culture, Ferrell plays a race car driver with two first names who outraces his own intellect in a comedy that features neither […]
Always one of America’s most undervalued directors, Clint Eastwood proved himself American cinema’s national treasure in the third act of his impressive career. Million Dollar Baby (2004), an understated, unpretentious, powerfully told drama, adapted from F.X. Toole stories by Paul Haggis, earned Eastwood his second round of Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture (his […]
Using sports as a metaphor for life and love is nothing new but filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood, a former college athlete, puts her spin on it with Love & Basketball (2000). Sanaa Lathan is the fiercely driven, hot tempered tomboy Monica, who gives her all for basketball. Omar Epps is Quincy, the son of an NBA […]
Anyone who believes that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to Hollywood superstar was a fluke needs to see Pumping Iron (1977), George Butler’s documentary on bodybuilding culture of the 1970s which did more to popularize the sport in the culture at large than anything before or since. The film follows a handful of bodybuilders preparing for the […]
Downhill Racer (1969) is the feature debut of Michael Ritchie, the first project that frustrated actor and future movie star Robert Redford developed for himself and the first of Redford’s proposed trilogy about the meaning of “winning” in American culture. That’s what gives such a riveting perspective to what would otherwise be called a “sports […]
Gary Cooper, that great Oak of an American actor, progresses from the awkward and naively shy rookie to the seasoned “Iron Man” first baseman of the New York Yankees without losing his idealism or modesty in The Pride of the Yankees (1942). Nominated for 11 Academy awards (winning one for film editing), this handsome biographical […]