It’s here already this Sunday, the Montreal Alouettes will play the Edmonton Eskimos in the 91st Grey Cup finals. Football fever is in the air, and unfortunately Concordians can no longer watch their Stingers dominate the football field, as their season ended on Saturday with a very respectable 8 – 2 record.
But what better way to pay tribute to the Stinger’s great season and prepare for the CFL finals than to watch a good football movie? Before Sunday’s game you and some friends can pick up a case or two of beer, a few pizzas, and one of these essential football flicks:
Brian’s Song (1970) -Being that it was made for television, this film succeeds against great odds in creating a stimulating and involving story about friendship and the struggles of the sport. Lando Calrissean (a.k.a. Billy Dee Williams) and Sonny Corleone (a.k.a. James Caan) star in this emotional football movie.
The Longest Yard (1974) -The Slap Shot of football films, Burt Reynolds stars as an ex-quarterback convict who leads a team of inmates in a game against the guards. Full of classic comedic and dramatic moments, it also inspired the recent British film Mean Machine.
North Dallas Forty (1979) -Obviously the pre-curser to most of the films that follow on this list, as the problems of drugs and big business in sports are both addressed. Nick Nolte is perfectly cast, as he always looks like he’s in pain anyway.
Rudy (1993) -Before Sean Astin was a hobbit, he was Rudy. An inspirational and touching family film about the underdog, if this movie doesn’t have you cheering for Rudy, then you have no soul.
The Program (1993) -The second football movie on the list from ’93 is the one you shouldn’t take the kids to see. The pressures of playing College ball are examined in this no holds barred though sometimes exaggerated story. *Original sequence of players lying in the street deleted from the video after a real-life death by imitation.
Varsity Blues (1999) -The perfect fantasy for anyone who ever played football in high school, it is as much a portrait of the small Texas town as it is about those who live in it. Although the storyline is conventional, the film is lots of fun and remains so even after multiple viewings.
Any Given Sunday (1999) -Oliver Stone’s intense look at professional football has an excellent ensemble cast and several great games. Stone tackles many of the issues involved in today’s pro ball, and in doing so, creates such an unsavory picture that he wasn’t able to get the rights from the NFL to use actual team names and logos.
Remember The Titans (2000) -Jerry Bruckheimer producing a Disney movie? I guess two wrongs can make a right. This true story addresses the issues of racism in 1971 Virginia when the high school football team becomes integrated. A touching and all-around good film.
Honorable Mention: Jerry Maguire (1997) -Definitely one of the all-time sports movies, though it doesn’t quite qualify as a football flick. Lots of cameos and some great scenes on the field.
Dishonorable Mention: The Replacements (2000) This film simply uses a series of gags collected from prior football movies to create a half-assed comedy. Keanu you should try another sport, like knitting!
First football movie ever: The Freshman (1925) In the wake of Chaplin and Keaton, there was Harold Lloyd, who plays the loveable loser in this silent football comedy.
The majority of these films are from the last decade, but the nineties had to make up for the total lack of good football movies from the 80’s. And for all the above listed films’ undeniable greatness, let’s hope next year at this time we’ll be able to watch the Stingers instead.