Staying on my football theme for the day... I think there are a lot of solid football movies out there to get you fired up for the season. I did notice going back over these that a whole lot of them are true stories (or "based" on true stories at least) so it's a game with a rich history and lately it's been getting it's due in Hollywood.
So here's a list of my 10 favorites and I've still left off some I really like such as The Waterboy, North Dallas Forty, The Replacements and Jerry MaGuire (a bit too chick flicky to make my list, although I love Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character).
10. Any Given Sunday
Yes, there are a lot of faults with this movie (too long for one) but Oliver Stone's look at pro football starts Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz among it's stellar cast and a slew of NFL personalities. It's feels very realistic and it's hard-hitting. Perhaps a bit over-the-top even.
9. Gridiron Gang
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays a Juvie Detention Camp Officer believes the common goal of winning football games, combined with the opportunity to showcase athletic ability will transform the outlook, attitude, and ambition of the teenagers confined to his camp. It's a fun film with a lot of football.
8. Friday Night Lights
I love the novel, but this film adaption almost did it justice. A picture of a small football crazy Texas town and the Permian Panthers football program back in the late 80s. I come from a small town so this hits that much more close to home.
7. All the Right Moves
A young, pre-Scientolgy, couch bouncing Tom Cruise plays a high school football player desperate to earn a college scholarship as a way out of his dying Pennsylvania steel-belt town. Craig T. Nelson plays a perfect hard-nosed coach.
Mark Wahlberg stars in this true story on the incredible Cinderella tale of Vince Papale, a part time bartender who loved football yet never dared to dream of playing in the NFL. Until he tried out.
5. The Longest Yard
Burt Reynolds owned this 1974 comedy/drama as a former pro football player who lands in a prison lorded over by a sadistic warden. There was a remake recently with Adam Sandler that I actually liked, but nothing compares to this classic.
4. We Are Marshall
The true story of how Marshall University, its students, teachers, and members of the community were able to fight back after a horrible plane crash took the lives of their football team and supporters on November 14, 1970. Matthew McConaughey is outstanding.
3. Remember the Titans
Based on the true story of Herman Boone, Denzel Washington is awesome as a coach who forces integration on his football team and tries to make them colorblind.
2. Brian's Song
A tearjerker based on true events. James Caan (Brian Piccolo) and Billy Dee Williams (Gale Sayers) star as teammates who overcome obstacles to become best friends. It's as much about strength, cancer and courage as football.
Before Sean Astin was a hobbit, he was in the this story of 'the little guy who could.' If you are small of stature, not that bright and have limited skills... you too can be a Notre Dame football player. I kid, I kid. It's a football story that is more about making your dream come true. And you WILL chant "Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!" at the end.