The Christmas season begins this week. Thanksgiving always marks the day that we all start listening to our favorite Christmas songs, enjoy family favorites around the kitchen table, and, well, indulge in the many Christmas treats that only this time of year year can bring It’s also a good time to watch a movie.
With the family at home more than usual, streaming services and your favorite DVDs emerge from the collection. On a cold night of leftovers or hot chocolate by the fireplace, watching Christmas movies is the best on a cold winter night. Here are five great sports movies to kick back, turn on the flat screen, and enjoy.
5. Tin mug
Released on August 16, 1966, Tin Cup stars Kevin Costner as Roy McAvoy, a legendary “golf ball hitter” who owns and runs a dilapidated driving range in the dusty, windy, sleepy town of Salome, in West Texas.
“Cup,” as he is affectionately known by locals and friends, played college golf at the University of Houston with PGA pro and main antagonist David Simms, played by Don Johnson. Johnson is part of an all-star cast that includes Cheech Marin, who plays McAvoy’s best friend Romeo, Rene Russo as Dr. Molly Griswold, and various cameos that include PGA pros Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, John Cook, Johnny Miller, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, and Peter Jacobsen. The authenticity of the film is the golf sequences filmed on a course in North Carolina. With Jim Nance and Ken Veturi in Tower 18. Working on the production trailer are Lance Barrow, Peter Kostis, Jimmy Roberts, Brian Hammonds all playing themselves. A great line to pay attention to is Roy talking about the risky nature of his golf game, saying “greatness fails in the courts.”
Tin Cup is a great sports movie that you can’t miss.
If you haven’t seen Miracle, you need to too. This heartwarming film about the 1980 US men’s hockey team that was sent to the picturesque town of Lake Placid in upstate New York, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Nationwide, 1980 It was a tough time in the US with sky-high energy prices and long lines at the pump. But for two weeks in February, the Americans forgot about their problems at home and settled in to watch the fate of the US Olympic team.
The USA team in hockey didn’t have much of a chance to win a medal. Men’s hockey was dominated by the Soviet Union, where professional players were “amateurs” for two weeks. Their only mission was to bring home another gold medal, as the Soviet Union team would normally make quick work of nearly every nation. In hockey, the idea of competing, let alone beating them, was a pipe dream. With Kurt Russell playing coach Herb Brooks, Brooks set out to put together a team and a strategy to not only compete, but to beat the Soviets. In Oslo, against the Norwegian National Team, Team USA tied Norway 3-3 in an exhibition game. Brooks senses that the team isn’t trying hard and starts playing around with his roster. After the game, Team USA is back on the ice doing a “bag skating” drill. When they return to the United States and start playing, they play in their last exhibition match against the Soviet Union and are destroyed in the process, losing 10-3. From there, they would play Sweden, heavily favored Czechoslovakia, and minor powers Norway, Romania, and West Germany to earn a place in the medal round. From there, you know the rest of the story. Al Michaels was on the call along with Ken Dryden. As the clock ticks down to 00:10 remaining on the Gold Medal game clock, Michaels recreates the legendary call, “do you believe in miracles?”
Herb Brooks, who Kurt Russell plays in the film, would die during principal shooting. Be sure to score the closing credits.
3. Friday night lights
On October 8, 2004, the film Friday Night Lights was released in the US Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by HG Bissinger, it tells the story of high school in Odessa , TX.
In 1988, Permian High School was vying for a state championship with head coach Gary Gaines, played by Billy Bob Thornton, the driving force behind a team struggling against the great talent found in Texas. The film centers on a trio of players: quarterback Mike Winchell, fullback Don Billingsley and safety Brian Chavez are the players around whom the film is built, and tells their story that is incredibly personal but one that drives them to win a state championship for Permian.
The magic of Friday Night Lights is built around how high school football in Texas is a tradition and a family. Players are celebrated, coaches become deities, and a championship can sustain a people for a generation. As you watch this masterpiece, you’ll see how Permian, nicknamed “MOJO”, fights his way back to the final moments of a football game where absolute football nirvana is near and painfully out of reach, and how the small town of America prides itself on the team that is the heartbeat of a community.
Friday Night Lights is as good as the book. It’s a special read and an even better experience to watch.
2, ball of money
Released on September 9, 2011, Moneyball is based on the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball season. General Manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is tasked with rebuilding a team to compete not only in the West the American League, but also to win a pennant and a World Series after a loss to the New York Yankees in the 2001 American League Division Series. With the departure of star players Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Jason Isringhausen In free agency, Beane had to assemble a competitive team for 2002 on Oakland’s shoestring budget. His fortunes and his philosophy begin to change after he meets Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, a Yale graduate with an economics background and degree who takes an unorthodox approach to evaluating players. Sabermetrics, which according to Miriam-Webster, is the detailed statistical analysis of baseball data (for the purpose of evaluating player performance and developing game strategies). Sabermetrics posits that “traditional measures like batting average and RBIs are of limited use in predicting whether a player can actually help win ballgames.”
When Beane and Brand begin to assemble a team based on their statistical viability to help Oakland win, the very concept is ignored by manager Art Howe, who implements a traditional method of building his daily lineup. The acquisition of underrated players like Chad Bradford, Jeremy Giambi, Scott Hatteberg and a trade for David Justice are mostly ridiculed, as Howe believes this theory is ruining the A’s organization.
At the start of the 2002 season, Oakland was 10 games out of first place in the AL West. Beane convinces team owner Stephen Schott to stay the course with Brand. For help on defense, Beane trades Giambi to the Phillies for John Mabry and engineers a trade for would-be All-Star first baseman Carlos Peña to the Tigers, leaving Howe with no choice but to use the gear Beane and Brand have designed. In three short weeks, the A’s have rallied to within four games of the lead.
Oakland would go on to win the West, only to end up losing to the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series. As far as baseball movies go, this is the best there is. He talks to the underdog who is told he can’t do it. The rhythm, the strategy, the stories that emerge throughout a year that touches all the seasons of the calendar. It’s special and it’s romantic.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill give an amazing performance about breaking the rules in a quest to remake the game.
Released on November 14, 1986, Hoosiers is inspired by the story of 1954 Indiana state champions Milan High School, located in rural southern Indiana.
The cast is solid and has the kind of actors that don’t overshadow the roles they play in this movie. Veteran actor Gene Hackman plays head coach Norman Dale. Dennis Hopper, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the town drunk, plays Shooter. Shooter, who was a legend at Hickory, has a son who plays on the team. Actress Barbara Hershey rounds out the cast as Myra Fleener, a teacher who wants local shooting legend Jimmy Chitwood to graduate out of Hickory. Eventually, a town vote keeps Dale as head coach and, along with Chitwood, they take the small town of Hickory on the ride of a lifetime for him. It’s worth noting that unlike today where high school athletics is based on student enrollment. In 1954 Indiana was not. These days, smaller schools compete against other smaller schools, while much larger ones do the same within their rankings. When Hickory’s fictional team reaches the postseason, Indiana had a single state basketball tournament for all of its high schools. This practice continued until 1997. In 1954, it served as the backdrop for the quintessential David vs. Goliath matchup, most notably when Hickory arrived at Butler Fieldhouse before the championship game.
Few of today’s generation saw the Hoosiers on the big screen. That is truly unfortunate as the cinematography of rural Indiana in the fall is absolutely stunning for the viewer. It’s a slice of Americana.
When head coach Norman Dale takes the field for the first time, he can hear the cheers of the fans. He looks up as he heads to the court and says, “Welcome to Indiana Basketball.” A great movie for basketball fans, an absolute must see.