Sometimes thecan be as dramatic as a great film, and other times the big game's a massive blowout or giant bore. (At least the movie trailers and are worth watching.)
While waiting to see what the LA Rams-New England Patriots matchup will deliver on Sunday, Feb. 3, huddle up with a tried-and-true football film, available to watch from the couch in your own living-room stadium.
If you're disillusioned by the big bucks and cynicism of professional sports, take a breather by watching 1993's inspiring Rudy, based on the true story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin), who fulfilled his dream of playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against all odds. Heartwarming without being corny.
Adam Sandler's The Waterboy is kind of like a Saturday Night Live skit version of Rudy, with Sandler playing a hapless waterboy who discovers a hidden talent for tackling. Not saying it's brilliant -- Sandler was nominated for a Razzie Award for worst actor -- but viewers liked it a lot more than critics.
Where to stream: Netflix with subscription, or rent from You Tube, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu
Friday Night Lights
First, there was H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger's 1990 nonfiction book, Friday Night Lights, about the Permian High School Panthers run for the 1988 Texas high school football championship. Much later, there was the acclaimed 2006-2011 TV series of the same name, starring Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor. And in between there was the 2004 Friday Night Lights feature film, with Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gary Gaines. Watch it. It's one of those movies that says a lot about sports, growing up, and America -- and the highs and lows of each.
Where to stream: Hulu with subscription, or rent from You Tube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu
We Are Marshall
It's been called "the greatest disaster in college sports history." In 1970, a chartered plane carrying the football team from West Virginia's Marshall University crashed, killing all 75 people on board. In the 2006 film We Are Marshall, Matthew McConaughey plays the new coach who must try to rebuild a program sunk in grief.
Where to stream: Hulu with subscription, or rent from You Tube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu
The Blind Side
It was hard to avoid The Blind Side in 2009. The film was nominated for best-picture Oscar, and star Sandra Bullock won for best actress for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took in impoverished Michael Oher and helped him find his way in life, football, and eventually to the NFL.
Where to stream: HBO with subscription, or rent from You Tube, Google Play, iTunes
Remember the Titans
Sometimes the games aren't won on the field. In the 2000 Disney film Remember the Titans, Denzel Washington plays the African-American football coach who leads his team through integration struggles in 1971. While those who were there say not all the details are true, the film is based on a true story involving T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
Where to stream: Showtime with subscription, or rent from You Tube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu
Any Given Sunday
From Platoon to Wall Street to JFK, director Oliver Stone doesn't do anything halfway, and he tackles another enormous part of American life -- football -- with 1999's Any Given Sunday. No less an actor than Al Pacino plays the veteran coach, who clashes with a young team owner played by Cameron Diaz. From Dennis Quaid to Jamie Foxx to LL Cool J to Ann-Margret, this is a powerhouse cast that will rival any group spotted at a glamorous Super Bowl party.
Where to stream: Vudu or Cinemax, or rent from You Tube, iTunes, Google Play
The 1970s were the king-daddy decade of disaster movies, from The Poseidon Adventure (overturned ship!) to The Towering Inferno (skyscraper fire!) to The Swarm (killer bees!). 1977's Black Sunday threw in a whole playbook of 1970s hot-button issues, as a troubled Vietnam vet teams up with a terrorist to use the Goodyear blimp to kill Super Bowl watchers. Goodyear let the filmmakers show its real blimps, and the NFL let them use actual footage from Super Bowl X.
Where to stream: Rent on Amazon, iTunes, You Tube, Google Play, Vudu
The catchphrases from 1996's Jerry Maguire are well-known, especially "Show me the money!" and "You had me at hello." But don't overlook the rest of this five-time Oscar-nominated film, starring Tom Cruise as a sports agent who has an epiphany about his job, Cuba Gooding Jr. as his football-playing client, and Renée Zellweger as the woman who believes in him.
Where to stream: Hulu with subscription, or rent on Amazon, iTunes, You Tube, Google Play, Vudu
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