Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. With Sunday almost here, how are we supposed to sit patiently and wait to see that pigskin fly? While you sweat it out, check out some of these all-time great football movies. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and the rest will make you realize that not every football flick is made just for the guys.
The Blind Side (John Lee Hancock, 2009)
This movie, based on a true story, tells the tale of a stray kid who goes on to do great things on the gridiron. And of course, Sandra Bullock finally won Oscar gold for her stunning turn as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a no-holds-barred, ball-buster kind of Southern wife who takes a homeless teenage boy into her home and family. This heartwarming family film is a must-see for anyone in the mood for a feel-good evening.
Friday Night Lights (Peter Berg, 2004)
Based on the real life events of a high school football team's 1988 season, this at-times heartbreaking film has everything a good sports movie requires: motivation, passion, determination, heartbreak, loss and victory. Billy Bob Thornton comes alive as the coach and father-figure to his team. It was later turned into one of the greatest TV shows ever, also by Berg and also with Connie Britton as the coach's wife, and is now being redeveloped by Berg into a follow-up movie based on the TV series.
Big Fan (Robert Siegel, 2009)
This independent film follows the sad life of the self-appointed "world's biggest New York Giants fan," a parking garage attendant named Paul (Patton Oswalt) who is obsessed with the Giants and sits in the parking lot for every game. Through twists, turns, assaults and jail time, this fan will never let go of his passion.
Leatherheads (George Clooney, 2008)
Ever wonder how football gained its foothold in American culture? Then check out this chipper George Clooney film, based loosely on real life events, which tells the story of a sport that has no rules and is about to fall into a forgotten existence before one player turns it all around. With a little romance with Renee Zellweger, some comedy with rival John Krasinski, and the necessary player brawls, this movie has it all.
The Comebacks (Tom Brady, 2007)
A parody of sports films, cliches and plots, this satirical comedy watches the worst football coach ever (David Koechner) as he tries to make a comeback. Of course, as in any great sports movie, his team of misfits [SPOILER ALERT] wins!
Gridiron Gang (Phil Joanou, 2006)
Teamwork, adversity, hardship and understanding are all key themes in this drama loosely based on real events. Filmed at the actual Camp Kilpatrick juvenile detention center, the story shows how one person, Dwayne Johnson, can make a difference in the lives of troubled kids with a little faith and structure.
The Replacements (Howard Deutch, 2000)
What happens if an entire NFL team's players are on strike, with only four games left until playoffs and a need to win three to even make it? Well, of course comedy ensues as a slew of replacements, such as new coach Gene Hackman and new quarterback Keanu Reeves, take the field and need to learn to work together to succeed. And of course, being a football movie and all, this is loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike.
Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone, 1999)
With an all-star cast -- including Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J -- this drama depicts a constant problem in sports, especially football: sometimes you have to go with an inexperienced player when all the others are injured. This is the perfect movie to watch this year if you're a Jets fan -- a team with too many quarterbacks that are injured, have massive egos, or just can't get it together.
The Waterboy (Frank Coraci, 1998)
At the height of Adam Sandler's career -- when his movies were actually funny -- came along the story of a socially awkward kid who becomes a waterboy for a college football team after his mother, Kathy Bates, tells him his father died of dehydration. One thing leads to another, and Sandler becomes a linebacker that is a force to reckoned with. This movie is the epitome of classic Sandler.
Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe, 1996)
One of Tom Cruise's most well-known roles was that of powerhouse sports agent Jerry Maguire, a guy who could do no wrong -- that is, until he went all emotional and was fired. But Maguire is the ultimate comeback kid, and starts his own agency with future lover Renee Zellweger. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll want to dress in just a white dress shirt, socks, and sunglasses next year for Halloween.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (Tom Shadyac, 1994)
How on earth can a team win when their mascot is MIA? This is the predicament posed in this comedic cult film. After the Miami Dolphins' mascot, Snowflake, is stolen just before they're set to play in the Super Bowl, Detective Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey in his breakout role) shows up to save the day! Despite his unconventional methods, he solves the crime, and somehow hooks up with Courteney Cox.
Rudy (David Anspaugh, 1993)
Stop me if you've heard this before: Rudy is the inspirational true story of a college football player at Notre Dame who, despite great odds, achieved his goals. Sean Astin plays Rudy, a kid from a small town who is not a very successful student or athlete, but dreams of going to Notre Dame. Through the help of a TA at his junior college (Jon Favreau in his acting debut) Rudy overcomes huge obstacles and gets to play the final down in the final game of his senior year of college.
Everybody's All American (Taylor Hackford, 1988)
Gavin Grey (Dennis Quaid) had it all: admiration, athletic talent, friends, family and a great gal (Jessica Lange). But after leaving college and his hometown, fame and success don't come as easily in the professional football world. Misery in his career and marriage leave Quaid lost and depressed, and struggling to keep the pieces together.
Goldie Hawn kicks some serious butt as a football coach at a dangerous inner-city high school in this comedic drama. As the daughter of a famed football coach, Hawn loves football as much as the next person, and is willing to leave her cushy job as a girls' track coach at a prep school to coach a group of rowdy, inner-city boys. Despite discrimination, Hawn rallies the boys to victory!
All The Right Moves (Michael Chapman, 1983)
Hailing from a sleepy, small, Pennsylvania steel town, Stefan Djordjevic (Tom Cruise) works hard on and off the field in hopes of getting a full ride out of town and to college. Through a series of setbacks after losing a big game, Stefan realizes that to get what he wants he has to reconcile with his coach (Craig T. Nelson). Of course he does, and the two ride off into the college-bound sunset.
Heaven Can Wait (Warren Beatty/Buck Henry, 1978)
You'd think that football and fantasy didn't mix well, but this highly acclaimed comedy would beg to differ. Warren Beatty stars as a backup quarterback for the LA Rams who meets his untimely death, and is thus resurrected into another (rich) person's body by his guardian angel. He buys the Rams to get his second chance, and a series of events leads him to victory in a third body.
The Longest Yard (Robert Aldrich, 1974)
Here's a dilemma many will never have to deal with: get out of jail early, or win a football game? Burt Reynolds plays a former professional football quarterback who lands himself in jail. After pressure from the guards, the headstrong inmate organizes a team of prisoners to compete against the nearly pro-level guards. Though he nearly throws the game, [SPOILER ALERT] Reynolds comes back stronger than ever to pull off an astounding victory!