For a football fan it can be hard to watch some football movies. Though, some are amazing. So we watch all of them. Since, as football junkies we get as much football as we can. And we hope that they will each be good the same way we hope our favorite team wins every time they play.
I have decided to divide them into three categories--High school Football, College Football and Pro Football movies. For each category I have chosen the best, the worst, the most under appreciated and the most overdone.
High school Football Movies:
The Best: Friday Night Lights--As a big fan of the book this movie was based on I resisted watching the movie for a few years. The book was so good and the way it was written I did not expect someone to be able to make a good movie out of it. Shockingly, they did make a good movie that is true to the book. Both the book and the movie will make you fall in love with high school football in Texas and the town of Odessa, Texas.
The Worst: Backfield in Motion--This bad movie, named after a bad song, stars Roseanne and Tom Arnold (while they were married) with Roseanne playing a single mother who wants to play in her kid's father-son football game. I think you get the point.
The Under appreciated: All the Right Moves--Very early Tom Cruise movie. He plays a hard-headed high school cornerback trying to get a college scholarship. Cruise clashes with his hard-headed coach played by the man who was born to play a football coach, Craig T Nelson. Set against the backdrop of a small rust-belt town with a dying economy this is a very good movie with a compelling plot.
The Overdone: Varsity Blues--This movie looks like they were trying to make a 90s version of All the Right Moves with inspiration from the book Friday Night Lights. We know people in small Texas towns go a little overboard for high school football. Just like small towns in many other states. They did not need to go so over the top to make their point. The coach, played by Jon Voight, and the overly-idealistic plot were too much. Voight played the role well, it is the character which is beyond belief. Still though, I did enjoy the movie. Just had to take it with a grain of salt.
College Football Movies:
The Best: The Program--It may not be a popular choice. Though I would say it is by far the most realistic college football movie made. The events of the movie are entirely realistic and compelling--the Freshman who is wooed before he signs and treated like crap after; the over the top Heisman PR campaign; the illiterate LB who is still smart enough to read complicated plays; the coach begging to have a player expelled for cheating reinstated. All of events are realistic. Similar events happen all the time.
The Worst: Rudy--This is one of the more polarizing movies ever made. You either love it or hate it. If you are a big Notre Dame homer then you probably love it. If you are not and you are a football fan then you probably hate it.
The Underappreciated: Junction Boys -- A movie about Bear Bryant about his time, not at Alabama, but at Texas A&M. It is made for TV so the budget is low. Still, the movie comes out well. Tom Berringer does a great job playing the legendary coach.
The Overdone: Necessary Roughness--It may not be fair to place this move here as it was overdone for the sake of comedy. The movie was inspired by the "death penalty" given to the SMU football program. It was not the old QB or the female kicker (There have been female kickers play college football) which was over the top. It was the fact that a big state university in Texas (Which the fictional school in this movie was portrayed to be) could not manage to get more than 13 players for their team.
Pro Football Movies
The Best: North Dallas 40--Ah, pro football in the 70s. Sex, drugs and playing through brutal injury. This movie had it all. It also was the first to expose what life in the NFL is really like.
The Worst: The Replacements--Pretentious and just bad. I thought it would be a pro version of Necessary Roughness. It wasn't. Probably seemed like a good idea for a movie at the time. It was made in the late 90s, a decade which saw a lot of work stoppages in North American sports. Trouble is that the NFL was the one league not to have a work stoppage in the 90s.
The Under appreciated: Leatherheads--This movie offered us a nice look at what pro football was like during its earliest days. As a history buff I could not resist this movie.
The Overdone: Any Given Sunday--Much like Varsity Blues, this movie took a bunch of stereotypes and piled them into a movie. It tries to be a newer North Dallas 40 but just comes off overdone. Still though, amazing cast which helps make the movie worth a watch. . . . with that all important grain of salt.