The Top 10 Best Football Movies
Let’s get real. We don’t need polls. We know football and we know what a true top 10 list should consist of. With that in mind, here’s a list of gridiron flicks that should be on every sports lover’s movie shelf.
Zac: If this list were based on movies that make guys cry, this would have to be #1 right? How many times have you flipped across this while watching TV with a girl, started watching, then frantically tried to change the channel before they cut to Rudy’s dad in the stands at the end? Uh, yeah, me neither.
Nic D: Somewhere between Micky from the Goonies and Frodo’s best bud, Samwise Gamgee, the young man named Sean Astin played Daniel E. ‘Rudy’ Reuttiger. IF anything can be learned here it’s that size has nothing to do with football…it’s all about hard work and most of all, heart…
“Prove what?!…You’re five foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’ and hardly a speck of athletic ability…In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself… you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”
2. Varsity Blues
Nic D: I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve yelled, “Come on Mox, you skinny ass bitch, LET’S ROLL aha ha!” This was a contender for the number one spot…Hits, tits and plenty of “get you PUMPED” situations.
Zac: I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but it seems like Bud Kilmer should get more credit than he does. Sure he was a pain in the ass and a tyrant on the sidelines, but the guy delivered 2 state championships, and 22, count ‘em, 22 district titles! Would you rather have fun every day, or win championships? Exactly.
(As for the whole cortisone shot scandal, the truth is that most of these kids aren’t going to play beyond high school anyway, might as well go down in a blaze of glory, right?)
“In America, we have laws. Laws against killing, laws against stealing. And it is just accepted that as a member of American society, you will live by these laws. In West Canaan, Texas, there is another society which has its own laws. Football is a way of life.”
3. Remember the Titans
Zac: The only thing that bothered me about this movie was the scene at the end where Julius chases down the Marshall running back and causes the fumble to set up the game winning play. Didn’t it seem like Julian was chasing him for 200 yards or so? Other than that, solid flick.
Nic D: I liked Remember the Titans MORE before our high school football team was put on display as the ‘mighty, mighty Bulldogs’ during a pep assembly, BUT that’s neither here nor there. The Titans faced a lot of diversity, aka racism, but put that aside and played the game. Great soundtrack too! Swear to god.
“You will wear a jacket, shirt, and tie…if you don’t have one, buy one. Can’t afford one; borrow one from your old man. If you don’t have an old man, then find a drunk, trade him for his. ‘Cause I guarantee you there isn’t a bum on the street that looks as raggedy and ridiculous as what I’m looking at right now.”
4. Little Giants
Nic D: Face it, Little Giants makes the #4 spot because of how AWESOME it is. Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neill are great in this movie and are perfect head to head coaches. Just because Moranis ran the class projector didn’t mean he couldn’t give one hell of a pep talk to pull his team of misfits together. “One time” (That and the Ice Box coming back to lay some hat)
Zac: Perfect head to head coaches? Ed O’Neill coached Moranis off the field. The game was only close because the crazy dad with a buzz cut told his kid to play dirty, which ignited a Giants rally. Plus, Moranis wasn’t even calling the plays, it was the chess nerd (sadly, this was before Moneyball…he was just a little ahead of his time). And while we’re at it, I like Ed O’Neill as much as the next guy, but was I the only one who had trouble buying him as a HEISMAN-FREAKING-TROPHY WINNER?! Come on now. And I don’t care how good of a guy you are, if you’re a Heisman winner you’re making money as a network analyst or coach or motivational speaker or living off your NFL earnings…you’re aren’t slinging used Chevys in small town America.
“What the hell’s that? Cheetos. Crunchy or puffed? Puffed….Wimp.”
5. Any Given Sunday
Zac: It’s hard to decide how to properly rate this movie, because so much of it was so unrealistic. A guy cutting a car in half with a chainsaw? A head coach who gets drunk and winds up with hookers every night, yet the big story on sports news is him yelling at a reporter? A guy losing his eyeball on the field?! Then again, I own AND enjoy this movie, so what do I know…
Nic D: High speed and plenty of intense situations to get the blood pumpin’. I’m sure Pacino’s had a crush on Elizabeth Berkley since Saved by the Bell, so that worked out. Just think of it as an in depth look behind the scenes of the Atlanta Falcons, circa 1998? Or 2004?
“The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing!”
6. The Replacements
Zac: If you had to pick real players to play the characters in this film, who plays Falco? The odds-on favorite has to be Tony Romo. They both kinda look similar, have a habit of shrinking in big moments, and don’t mind snagging the occasional kiss on the sidelines. Keith Brookings (real-life crazy linebacker) could play Danny Bateman (fictional crazy linebacker), and really, any number of guys could play the convict Free Safety who’s out on parole. And Braylon Edwards would definitely be the receiver who can’t catch anything…
Nic D: Glory does last forever. The Replacements is what should happen to the 2011-2012 NBA season. How awesome would that be? A bunch of city league fat guys on NBA on TNT! Coaches being interviewed on the sidelines, mic’d up 40 year olds catching bows! I’d watch. PS – You leave Braylon out of this!
“I know you’re tired. I know you’re hurting. And I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be our style. Pain heals, chicks love scars, glory lasts forever.”
7. The Program
Nic D: A lot of people will probably dispute this movie as a top 10 contender. Well guess what, it’s a top 7 contender! This movie was smart and ahead of it’s time. College football is full of Heisman contenders, recruiting tactics, juicers, guys who can’t pass a class, but think the NFL is their ticket to a better life and so is the ESU Timberwolves.
Zac: Meh. It’s not a bad movie, but not one I’m stopping on if I see it playing on TV. Next…
“Starting defense! Place at the table!”
8. Brian’s Song (Original 1971)
Nic D: This movie tops two lists. One, top 10 football movies of all time and two; saddest movies of all time. Why is there always dust in the air when this movie is on? Look past the sadness and let’s talk football is what I say. This movie is the definition of old school, back in the day men were men! (annddd that’s another story)
Zac: Seeing as how its sitting down here at #8, it’s hard to say that it “tops” two lists. Maybe “appears” on two lists would be more appropriate? Anyway, this is a good one, and a lot of people forget that it was a TV movie, so it should definitely get some extra points for having to go up against the big studio fare.
“Well, on uh, Fake Draw Screen Right I uh, pick up the linebacker if he’s comin, ‘less of course it’s Butkus, then I simply notify the quarterback to send for a preacher.”
9. The Longest Yard (Remake 2005)
Nic D: It’s a rarity to see a remake movie topping a list as prestigious as this, I know, but best casting performance ever? Let’s get the biggest guys you can find in the cinema world and have them go head to head. (Prisoners vs. Guards) Pretty damn epic!
Zac: And by “biggest guys” you mean the ones that are juicing the most, right? (A fact even the movie acknowledged). It was nice to see a nod to the original with the casting of Burt Reynolds, and Chris Rock is funny as Caretaker, but for me, the breakout star here was Dan Patrick, as the starstruck police officer who joins Crewe making fun of his partner. “Don’t get short with me Mr. Frodo”…
“Huddle up! Look, I’m sure you already know this, but I’ve never said it out loud. I did throw that game. I did it. I was in a bad way with some worse people. After I did it, I felt so shitty; I wish I would have just let them kill me instead. Now the warden wants to pin Caretaker’s murder on me if I don’t throw this game. So it looks like I’m going to get to know you guys a lot better because I aint doing that twice in a lifetime. We got a little time left. We can still do this. I’m begging you. Put your hands in here. Ok, thank you. Who are we?”
T10. The Blind Side
Zac: I know this movie has its critics, but I enjoyed it. However, I do wonder how successful it would have been if Mike Oher hadn’t become a top level NFL player. Would Sandra be toting around an Oscar right now if Mike had slid to the 6th round, gotten drafted by the Chargers, and then been dismissed from the team after knocking Phil Rivers out cold for whipping a ball at him? One of life’s mysteries…
(Originally I was going to write about how the racist coach in Remember the Titans and the redneck fan in The Blind Side are played by the same guy…and what a shitty agent he must have. As it turns out they’re 2 different people…however, the racist coach from Remember the Titans does appear in The Blind Side, as…wait for it…the drunk uncle who calls after a few beers and asks why there’s a black kid on the Christmas card…so, uh, I guess that’s better)
Nic D: I’m a critic.
“If you so much as set foot downtown, you will be sorry. I’m in a prayer group with the D.A., I’m a member of the NRA and I’m always packing.”
T10. Friday Night Lights
Nic D: This movie follows the Texas guidelines. Just like Varsity Blues, but an updated version. Let’s face it, its college football with high schoolers. A lot of people discarded this movie due to the final outcome of the championship game, but get over it. I just wish Boobie would have waited a little longer to get fully healthy…damn.
Zac: So Gary Gaines runs Boobie Miles into the ground and causes him to miss the remainder of the season, and it’s all okay. Bud Kilmer does the same thing and gets exiled from the community? What a double standard, Gaines didn’t have anywhere near Kilmer’s resume, and he certainly didn’t have a statue. Also, this movie should get extra credit for spawning a TV series that people absolutely go nuts over.
“Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didnt let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasnt one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentleman – you’re perfect.”
HM: Waterboy, Invincible, Windrunner, We Are Marshall, Wildcats, Radio
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