David Moseley

5 sports movies that deserve more love

2013-08-27 11:52

David Moseley

Mystery, Alaska

Before Gladiator, before The Insider, before A Beautiful Mind, beefy Russell Crowe was a down-on-his luck Alaskan sheriff and weekend ice hockey player, dropped from his small town’s annual "Saturday Game". Benched for a zippier upstart, gloomy Crowe is soon recalled after a town old boy, now a sports journalist in "proper" America, returns home with the New York Rangers in tow (this after writing a piece detailing his old town and it's devotion to the Saturday hockey game). Cue inspirational snowscape training montages, camaraderie-building deaths and a rousing performance by the backwater boys against the might of New York in a publicity match. Predictable, yes. Fun? The best kind.

Tug-at-heartstring-ometer: 6/10

Mystery, Alaska trailer

Friday Night Lights

I’ve read the book, watched the TV Series and seen the movie. All come out tops, even if this 2004 sports drama has been overshadowed by the success of the TV show. Featuring Billy Bob Thornton in slightly-less-than-totally-loony mode (and the antithesis of Jon Voight's win-at-all costs Varsity Blues coach), Friday Night Lights hits all the right buttons for sports fans; overbearing fathers, small town claustrophobia, injured match-winners and success-against-odds outcomes. The movie, while lacking the whipped-cream bikini of Blues, also has one of the best soundtracks ever put to film and subject matter.

Tug-at-heartstring-ometer: 9/10

Friday Night Lights

Theme song

The Rookie

Don’t let the cheese-factor in this "based on a true story" Disney number put you off. The Rookie is a flat out tearjerker. Nice-guy coach and science teacher "coulda been a contenda", but naturally injury curtails his dreams. A chance chuck at a catcher catches the eyes of the scouts and Quaid's character is off to the big leagues. Tears ensue and impossible dreams come true (it's a Disney movie, after all).

Tug-at-heartstring-ometer: 5/10

The Rookie


Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte play three men torn apart by violence who ultimately reconcile through a brutally violent sport. Labelled as the mixed martial arts cinematic answer to Rocky, the plot of Warrior is highly predictable, but the acting and action are top notch. The movie's worth watching for Hardy's fight scenes alone.

Tug-at-heartstring-ometer: 8/10

Tom Hardy fight scene

The Goon

The best description of this movie is "bonkers". Seann William Scott, Stifler to his early 2000 fans, stars as a sweet-natured hockey player that can't skate but who can take a hit (and dish them out with vicious aplomb). Called up by his local side after displaying superior pugilistic tendencies in the stands, Scott goes on to win the hearts of his new teammates with his basic, open and honest approach to the sport. An awkward relationship with a female fan adds to the bittersweet tone of the film, which is a winner from start to finish.

Tug-at-heartstring-ometer: 10/10

The Goon first fight

Bonus "sport" movie

The Last Boy Scout

American Football, guns, Bruce Willis and the best two minutes in cinema

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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