Monday, August 19, 2013

What’s Football without a Good Movie or Two

Football 2013
Story by Andy Petty


It's that time of year again where we hit our local stadiums and cheer for our favorite teams, football style. The boys of fall have trained all summer long to give us that adrenaline pumping ride that brings friends and family together - and memories that last a lifetime. So with all that excitement in our own backyards, Hollywood studios have been trying for decades to bring us the most human, unique or hilarious moments on that gridiron field. Taking a look at the surprisingly small list of films that do exist, I was surprised to find that there are only two genres for a football film; comedy or drama. So here are 3 films that stand out for me when I smell that fresh green this fall.

Remember The Titans - The film takes place circa 1971 in a segregated high school in an ever changing America. I'm 30 years old and it's a hard pill to swallow that our football fields were divided once, but through the common love for the game we came together and played as one. We have come a long way since but with racial tension still in the air today, "Remember The Titans" title says it all. Remember what the kids and coaches and their families went through to break the racial wall down. I would say that this is quintessential viewing for kids today. Watch this as a family and have a Q&A with them about all the things that still exist today and what they can do for our future. You'll be surprised of the magic a well-made movie will do for sculpting minds. Denzel Washington plays coach Herman Boone, a black man hired to take over a white coach's (Will Patton as Coach Bill Yoast) position that is nominated for the Virginia High School Hall of Fame. Seeing the reactions of boycott and racism emerge from the high school's decision of hiring Coach Boone, Coach Yoast decides the right thing to do in bringing his team together is taking an assistant coach job alongside Boone. An all-star supporting cast (including a young Hayden Panettiere & Ryan Gosling) contributes to an excellent true story about friendships made and community brought together through an all-American sport.

Rudy - The best movies in life aren't the ones that gross a billion dollars or become overnight household names. If you were to ask what the best Christmas movie of all time in 1984, more than likely you wouldn't say 1983's "A Christmas Story" was the best holiday movie ever made. But in 2013, that is the status that little Xmas movie has. So when it comes to sports movies, especially football - "Rudy" takes it's trophy to the hall of fame. Before even reading this article you probably guessed this one would be discussed, and honestly I think I would do you a disservice not to mention it's cult status it now has earned. The message this film has for it's audience is that no matter what your passion or dream, you can achieve it. Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger has a dream of playing football at The University of Notre Dame, but has to overcome obstacles that push him to the very limit. When we're looking back on our lives would we rather see our dreams when we lay our head down on the pillow at night or see them in the history books. So this fall when you see that determined kid/teenager or a signed player who doesn't look the part of the titans that rule the field, just think of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

The Blind Side - Another tale of overcoming all obstacles life throws your way. Everything happens for a reason and Michael Oher was mean't to be seen on the field. How he got there is history, written in the Hollywood history books of course. Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by the incomparable Sandra Bullock) plays a southern woman who decides to take in a new student to her home that has just enrolled in her kids private school. That student happens to be Michael Oher who has been in and out of foster homes and has little to look forward to in life. Hope comes from the most unexpected places and that salvation comes from The Tuohy Family. It's looking beyond the field and changing one's life that makes this a timeless tale. 
Although the 3 films I touched on were heavy dramas with messages, there is no reason not to take the game more lightly. I do have to mention that one of my favorite family football comedies is "Little Giants" with Rick Moranis & Ed'Oneil. Everyone knows that you have to start out at that early age to become the athlete of tomorrow. One truly hilarious comedy that deserves more viewing treatment. Also don't forget some of those hilarious comedies of yesteryear that deserve dusting off for viewing - The Longest Yard (1974), North Dallas Forty (1979) and Wildcats (1986). The last great football comedy was "The Replacements" that is hard to believe came out 13 years ago. So go out this fall and cheer for your team, because you never know what local will be our hero tomorrow.


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