8 great foot­ball movies to get you psyched for Su­per Bowl LI

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - CLINT O’CON­NOR Akron Bea­con Jour­nal

Su­per Bowl LI kicks off Sun­day night. Here are eight great foot­ball films to get you prop­erly psyched for game time. 1. Re­mem­ber the Ti­tans (2000) Not only is this a fab­u­lous movie, with Den­zel Wash­ing­ton as a coach strug­gling to in­te­grate a Vir­ginia high school team in 1971, but it lends it­self to a ridicu­lous num­ber of re­peat view­ings. Heart­felt, funny and sig­nif­i­cant. “We are the Ti­tans! Mighty Mighty Ti­tans!” Look for 19-year-old Ryan Gosling and 10-year-old Hay­den Panet­tiere. 2. Fri­day Night Lights (2004) A triple treat. The film is ter­rific, so was the book it’s based on (by Buzz Bissinger), and they both led to one of the best TV shows of the new mil­len­nium. A coach (Billy Bob Thorn­ton) and his team des­per­ately try to sat­isfy the crazed fan base of Odessa, Texas, where foot­ball is a re­li­gion. 3. Brian’s Song (1971) It’s OK, guys, go ahead and cry. The deep friend­ship be­tween Chicago Bears team­mates Brian Pic­colo and Gale Say­ers (James Caan and Billy Dee Wil­liams) takes a turn when we learn Brian is dy­ing of can­cer. What? You don’t like cheesy, made-for-TV movies? (Bonus cast­ing: Dick Butkus plays Dick Butkus.) 4. The Long­est Yard (1974) Who knew felons could be so lov­able? Burt Reynolds stars as for­mer pro quar­ter­back Paul Crewe, who or­ga­nizes a mot­ley team of pris­on­ers to chal­lenge the guards on the field in this funny, and tear­ful, film. Do not — I re­peat, DO NOT — watch the Adam San­dler re­make by mis­take. 5. North Dal­las Forty (1979) Peter Gent played for the Dal­las Cow­boys and the film based on his book, with Nick Nolte and Mac Davis as “Dal­las Bulls,” is one of the most re­al­is­tic pro foot­ball films ever made. Sex and drugs and con­tract dis­putes. The Cow­boys weren’t happy about the book. Or the movie. 6. Heaven Can Wait (1978) Packed with laughs and heart, this com­edy-drama spot­lights the tal­ents of co-di­rec­tor, cowriter and star War­ren Beatty, who plays a pro quar­ter­back “rein­car­nated” as a re­cently mur­dered blowhard. The ex­cel­lent cast in­cludes Julie Christie, Buck Henry and James Ma­son. Based on “Here Comes Mr. Jor­dan” from 1941. 7. In­vin­ci­ble (2006) A 30-year-old teacher, coach and part-time bar­tender tries out for the Philadel­phia Ea­gles in the mid-1970s and makes the team. No way? Way! Mark Wahlberg is won­der­ful in the based-on-a-true-story tale of Vince Pa­pale. For the dreamer in all of us. 8. Rudy (1993) Long be­fore Sean Astin played Sam, a lit­tle guy buck­ing the odds in “The Lord of the Rings” tril­ogy, he played a real-life lit­tle guy named Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruet­tiger, buck­ing the odds of col­lege foot­ball. Proof that un­re­lent­ing, dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion can get you places. Even at Notre Dame. Di­rected by David Anspaugh, who also made, ar­guably, the great­est sports movie ever: “Hoosiers.”

Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, as coach Her­man Boone, in the drama “Re­mem­ber the Ti­tans.”

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