Football is back, damn it. So prepare to spend your entire weekend busy doing nothing but sinking lower and lower into your lazyboy -- so deep that your skin fuses to the leather and you need a spatula (grab the one you've been using to scoop nachos into your mouth) to separate yourself from it for a bathroom break.
We're fairly sure that the collective smarts of the country takes a massive dip during prime football watching hours on weekends. We don't have any proof, but try this: approach a male, 18 to 55, during a game, and ask him a question. Any question will do. We're pretty sure he'll either, 1. Ignore you completely, 2. Look at you with a confused expression as if to say, " Are you speaking human?" or 3. Fling nachos at you for making him miss valuable seconds of the game. Maybe the only thing that can detract your all American male from the game is a movie about the football. Here's our 10 favorites.
10. The Program (1993)
About a college football program rife with many of the real life issues
that still exist. Namely, steroids, cheating on tests, and preferential
treatment. James Caan is the coach, Omar Epps the up and coming running
back, and Craig Sheffer as the star quarterback. The film sparked plenty
of controversy when a scene depicting Sheffer laying down in the street
in the middle of traffic was copied by foolish kids who ended up being
killed. That scene was eventually cut from the movie.
9. Rudy (1993)
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Everybody knows of this movie, even if they didn't see it. Sean Astin
stars as the title character whose too small and feeble to play for
mighty Notre Dame. But he does anyway, working his puny ass off for
years just for the chance to participate in a couple of plays in his
last game ever. What a loser!
8. Brian's Song (1971)
Do not watch this after watching your team lose a game. The coupling of
this tear jerker with anger is enough to make you lose your shit. Brian
Piccolo was an average player with a big heart who died of cancer in
1970, at 26. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale (there's a park named after
him) and his story and friendship with Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are the
subject of this film.
7. North Dallas Forty (1979)
The first movie to give an inside look at the debauchery surrounding
football. A youthful Nick Nolte stars as an aging wide receiver abusing
painkillers to get through the season. It was based on a
semi-biographical novel written by a former Dallas Cowboys wide
6. Any Given Sunday (1999)
An Oliver Stone film with an ensemble cast including Al Pacino as head
coach of the Miami Sharks, Cameron Diaz as owner, Jamie Foxx as backup
quarterback given a chance to shine when starting quarterback Dennis
Quaid, James Woods as dirty team doctor and on and on. Truthfully, the
film was pretty sorry, but merits inclusion because of the big names and
fact that it was filmed locally in the Orange Bowl before it was
5. Against All Odds (1984)
Not really a football movie but it does center around an injured
football player played by Jeff Bridges as he takes a job for a creepy
bookie James Woods to find the lovely Rachel Ward. Film has some sexy
scenes between Bridges and Ward and is defined by Phil Collins's song
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Know).
4. Black Sunday (1977)
Again, not too heavy on the football but it was Thomas Harris' (of Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Lecter fame) first novel about a
terrorist plot to blow up the Super Bowl. Although the movie involves
the Super Bowl played in New Orleans, actual footage was taken from
Super Bowl X in 1976, played between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh
Steelers at the Orange Bowl. Check out the behind the scenes footage of filming at the Orange Bowl.
3. The Longest Yard (1974)
The original with Burt Reynolds, not the putrid Adam Sandler remake
earlier this decade. It's a prison drama mashed up with a football
comedy. And the results are splendid. Plus, the original has that gritty
feel of the One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and other period films of
the 1970s, which makes it entertaining but also a little unnerving. Uber sports nerd Bill Simmons calls it the best football movie ever made.
2. The Waterboy (1998)
This Adam Sandler flick was as hilarious as it was absurd, following
waterboy Bobby Boucher as he goes from purveyor of H20 to a star college
football linebacker. Great turns from Kathy Bates as Bobby's momma ("Little
Girls are the Devil") and Henry "the Fonz" Winkler" as a coach with an
Elvis tattoo on his ass.
1. The Best of Times (1986)
One of the most underrated comedies of all time about a couple of middle
aged nobodies trying to rewrite history by replaying a high school
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football game with a neighboring town.Robin Williams stars as the doofus who dropped the game winning touchdown pass and who is trying to make amends
while Kurt Russell is the former star quarterback who never quite could
recapture those glory days.