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Sport – It’s more than just a game
In the recent months we have witnessed a European championship competition, the Olympics, the Paralympics and a number of sporting achievements and shocks along the way. Who would have guessed Great Britain would produce their best display in an Olympic games? Or Leicester winning the English Premier League.
So with this in mind I thought about what makes a great sport movie?
Perhaps it’s a film inspired by true events? Maybe it’s a rags to riches storyline.. Or is much more than this? I investigate this in Five of the Best – Sport films.
Field of Dreams (Robinson, 1989)
Here we have Kevin Costner at the peak of his career playing the unflappable Ray Kinsella who, whilst out corn farming one night, hears voices telling him to build a baseball field. This film primarily uses baseball as a setting and plot device to draw on many deeper themes throughout. It’s not one for the baseball purists. However the result is a powerful piece that delves into ideas surrounding redemption and the fulfilment of ones dreams.
What if you were given the chance to make your dream(s) a reality?
Remember the Titans (Yakin, 2000)
Hollywood loves making a true story into a good old biopic and its no different with Remember the Titans. A high school American football team must overcome their differences in order to change its history and win!
Well we’ve all seen and heard this kind of story a million times and thats because it’s become a parable of modern life. This film is clear, concise and it challenges the audience to identify the good and bad, the pro’s and cons and the winners and losers in life.
Denzel Washington does what Denzel Washington does best in the movies lead role and the rest of the cast follow suit.
N.B. Look out for Ryan Gosling making his first major film appearance as one of the high school American football players – He’s the one that isn’t very good.
Rocky (Avildsen, 1976)
Yooo… Adrian… Rocky did it!
No list would be complete without the inclusion of Sly Stallone’s Rocky (apparently the actor wrote a first draft of the screenplay in three days) and thats because it set the benchmark for the traditional rags to riches story to supplement sport inspired movies. The film is simply summed up by its tagline “His whole life was a million-to-one shot”. Really it’s about overcoming the obstacles in order to achieve the unimaginable… That could be another tagline in itself!
N.B. Special mention to Creed (Coogler, 2015) which sets about reinvigorating the storyline of Rocky Balboa with an Oscar nominated performance from Sylvester Stallone.
Jerry Maguire (Crowe, 1996)
It’s the couch-jumping, egotistical scientologist that is Tom Cruise as sport agent Jerry Maguire. If you are not convinced that Cuba Gooding Jr. wants to be shown the money (and that is not a euphemism) then you should be convinced by Cruise’s turn as Jerry Maguire. This film looks at a different aspect of sport and shows the relationship between sport stars, their agents and the media. Cameron Crowe cliches aside, this film has become a classic mainly down to Cuba Gooding Jrs depiction of American football reject Rod Tidwell in the scene above.
N.B. Gooding Jr. won an oscar that year for best supporting actor and his acceptance speech is comedy gold.
Senna (Kapadia, 2010)
He was arguably the best driver ever to race in Formula One history but his life was tragically cut short at the age of 34, whilst racing in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. This documentary film on the life of Ayrton Senna is a moving piece that details the highs and lows of the F1 drivers career. It uses archive footage and commentary from the legend himself before his tragic death on the racetrack. Kapadia’s documentary is compelling and he does a good job of highlighting the pitfalls of sports stars fame.
The week leading up to his death, Senna was dissatisfied with the safety measures of the sport and made it known to his team that he no longer felt safe racing.
Do you agree? Were there any controversial choices you may have overlooked? Please feel free to comment on any films you may have included in the top five!