Sports

7 more sports movies to keep you busy!

Written by Omair Alavi

Flicks that you might have missed or could re-watch to defeat boredom during the lockdown

Coronavirus has hit the sports world very hard, so hard that there is nothing happening anywhere in the world. However, thanks to digital platforms, you can have your very own sports festival at home, which can be controlled by a remote. Last week we suggested as many as seven sports films to kill boredom with the promise to bring you seven more sports films this week. The wait is now over and you can read about a few more sports flicks that you might have missed, or could re-watch to defeat boredom. Read on:

Rocky (1976)

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

Forty four years ago, a young actor named Sylvester Stallone wrote a screenplay and wanted producers to invest in it, casting him in the role of a small-time club fighter who suddenly gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. However, no producer was interested in doing that until Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff accepted the challenge. Director John G Avildsen executed a perfect film that gave a new direction to Stallone’s career. It went on to become a massive hit, spawning as many as five sequels and one spin-off (with its own sequel). Everyone from Burgess Meredith as Rocky’s trainer Mickey, Carl Weathers as his adversary Apollo Creed to Stallone gave the movie all they got, and it went on to be nominated for as many as ten Oscars, winning Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing!

Fun Fact: Rocky’s opponent Apollo Creed went on to become his trainer in the third film, and Stallone returned the favour in Creed I and Creed II where he trained Appollo’s son

The Karate Kid (1984)

Cast: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove, William Zabka

With The Karate Kid, John G Avildsen returned to direct another underdog story. Unlike his previous sports film, here he went with young actors and came out with an interesting flick, which taught teenagers a lot of things including how to deal with bullies, the importance of being patient, and above all, the pros of listening to elderlies. The story revolves around the relationship Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) shares with his master Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita), and how the two join hands to win a local Karate Championship to prove a point.

Fun Fact: The film spawned three sequels and an animated TV series featuring Mr Miyagi and one live-action remake where Jackie Chan reprised the role.

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Cast: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers, Richard Kiel

What happens when a hot-headed ice hockey player finds golf to be his true calling? The answer is Happy Gilmore, the movie that helped Adam Sandler not only shock golfers all around the world, but also rule the golf course in the process. The Dennis Dugan directorial was full of sports action, in which Adam Sandler was outstanding as the ice-hockey player turned golfer. He was mentored by a one-armed Carl Weathers (the same actor as in Rocky), faced opposition from a manipulating Christopher McDonald and battled an alligator who was integral to the plot. The story may not be out-of-this-world but even after 24 years, it looks interesting.

Fun Fact: Bollywood remade the film as Freaky Ali with Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead role

Ali (2001)

Cast: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Jada Pinkett Smith

Any discussion about sports isn’t complete without the mention of the greatest boxer of all time – Muhammad Ali. In this Michael Mann directorial, Will Smith plays Ali, the man who left his religion to become a Muslim, a better fighter and above all a noted humanitarian. How Ali became all that when at first he was nothing but another African American looking for his place in his birth country is what this film focusses on. With Jon Voight, Jamie Foxx and wife Jada Pinkett Smith as co-stars, Will Smith managed to get nominated for Oscars because of his outstanding performance as one of the most famous sportspeople in the world. The movie dealt with a lot of things that are now forgotten such as Ali’s race, and the politics that divided white man from the non-white in 1960s America. The scenes within the boxing ring bring back the memories of Rumble in the Jungle, as well as other bouts that Ali won, to qualify as the Black Superman!

Fun Fact: Will Smith lost the Oscar race to Denzel Washington who won the Best Actor trophy that year.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hillary Swank, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena

Before Million Dollar Baby, Hollywood tough man Clint Eastwood had never cried on screen; when he finally weeps in the movie, he makes the entire world cry with him. That’s the beauty of this brilliant boxing drama that helped Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman and director Eastwood end up with Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture awards. It is an underdog story of a young waitress (Hilary Swank) who wants to become a boxer and asks an old trainer (Clint Eastwood) to help her out. After an initial refusal, the old man gives in and helps the young girl become a fighter, and when all seemed to go well, tragedy strikes their relationship.

Fun Fact: Marvel Cinematic Universe regulars Anthony Mackie and Michael Pena have minor roles in the movie.

Real Steel (2011)

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand

Ever wondered what would happen if robots replaced humans as boxers? Real Steel is about one such father-son duo who decide to join hands with their robot, and go on to qualify for World Robot Boxing, against the best in the business. The two display perfect co-ordination despite the father (Hugh Jackman) being estranged from the son (Dakota Goyo), and that teaches both of them a lot about life. Add people who don’t want them to succeed and you get a perfect sports flick that has a climax that will keep you glued to your screens. Does the father-son duo manage to win the tournament or does bad luck continue to haunt them? Watch the film to know. Don’t forget to experience the visual effects that were outstanding, and even better than many robotic films that came after this Shawn Levy flick.

Fun Fact: This flick was based on a short story written way back in 1956, and was first adapted for TV in Twilight Zone where Lee Marvin played the protagonist in 1963

Ford vs Ferrari (2019)

Cast: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Josh Lucas, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe

Ford vs Ferrari cast two outstanding actors – Christian Bale and Matt Damon – in lead roles and the result was magical. Like Rush (that we discussed last week), this James Mangold flick is based on a true story and due to its brilliant execution, makes you switch gears in your seat. The movie revolves around the relationship of a hot-headed British mechanic turned race car driver (Bale) and a former champion (Damon) who join hands to combat the domination of Ferrari, with a Ford. All the action takes place on the race track, with Bale’s Ken Miles taking care of the car, and Damon’s Carroll Shelby handling the politics in the Ford camp. The winner is the audience here that gets treated for the film’s entire duration of 150 minutes, with the Ford coming out as the winner, but not in the way you expect!

Fun Fact: The film was nominated for four (technical) Academy Awards and won two, but none of the lead actors was considered for a nomination!

About the author

Omair Alavi