Sunday, September 23, 2012


Welcome to another installment of Sunday Night Sports Flicks. For those of you who are new to SPORTOLOGY, I did my first round-up back on August 12 and reviewed 6 classics. Click here if you missed it. Tonight I give you 5 more sport movies favorites inspired by the fall season, back to school and the great outdoors. Click the images/movie titles for previews (ignore cheesy voiceovers).

Vision Quest is a coming of age drama about a high school wrestler named Louden Swain, played by Matthew Modine, who embarks on a mission to wrestle and beat a menacing undefeated 3-time state champion, and he must drop two weight classes to do so. All changes with the arrival of a boarder, played by Linda Fiorentino in the role that made her famous, who moves into his family's house. A love story follows and his committment is tested. For Madonna fans, the true movie highlight is her cameo as a club singer performing "Crazy For You" in her first screen roll.


This is the story of the Permian Panthers, a high-school football team in Texas, and their coach who strives to propel them to greatness through economic, racial, and emotional hardships. The film is based on the book by H.G. Bissinger and dramatizes the single minded focus of a town on the success of its high school football team and the toll that takes on its players. Billy Bob Thornton as the coach, Tim McGraw as an abusive alcoholic father, and Derek Luke as the star running back whose season takes a heartbreaking turn, are just some of the great performances in this movie.

This documentary follows the story of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two African-American inner city teens who dream of one day playing in the NBA. They are recruited by a predominantly white high school with an outstanding basketball program, St. Joseph High School, in Westchester, Illinois, from which NBA legend Isaiah Thomas graduated. Both face different struggles adjusting to the demands of the program and acclimatising to a new socio-economic environment. Originally intended to be a 30-minute short produced for PBS, the movie was filmed over a five year period and documents the lives of two young men, their families and communities from recruitment through to their college freshman year.

While some may argue that Breaking Away is the best cycling movie, my favorite is an 80's classic called American Flyers starring a mustached Kevin Costner and Rae Dawn Chong. Directed by John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), the film is about two brothers training to compete in a grueling bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains called "The Hell of the West". There is a family history of illness and the plot takes a twist when we see which brother is actually affilicted. Set in The Rockies and filmed during the Coors Classic, a now-defunct stage race that was one of the world's leading cycling events at the time, the movie features breathtaking scenery and action packed race photography. 

While one might not consider this a sports movie, Brad Pitt fly fishing is a major qualification for me. The film is the story of two sons of a Presbyterian minister growing up under the watchful eye of their father. One is a straitlaced scholar played by Craig Sheffer and the other a rebellious gambler played by Brad Pitt. The film chronicles their intertwining and often conflicting lives, and looks at the fierce ties that unite and divide families. It is the three mens' love of fly fishing for trout in Montana's rivers that ultimately brings and bonds them together. Directed by Robert Redford, the film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

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