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September 27th, 2023

remember the titans spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Late last week I was doing some planning for what would need to be done at the office for this week, and in the midst of that planning, something I was somewhat struggling with was what I would write about for this week here. But, as often happens, inspiration hit me shortly before I prepared to go to bed over this past weekend and with athletic seasons starting this week, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite sports-themed movies I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. 

As always, these are just my opinions, I am not trying to slight any movie or other work of art. So let’s play ball. 


Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

I first saw this movie, which follows a misfit dodgeball team (led by Vince Vaughn) entering a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament so they can save their local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain (led by Ben Stiller) at a pre-game party before a volleyball tournament when I was in high school. I initially didn’t have too high hopes for it (it honestly looked like it was just going to be full of “ball” jokes and not much else) but to my surprise, I ended up laughing through it all and legitimately enjoying it. There is some crude humor throughout, but the movie also manages to have some heart in it too as the players go on their own journeys throughout the movie. Overall, if you’re looking for something goofy, this would be a good one to check out. 

Coach Carter (2005)

This was another movie I got introduced to while in high school and follows the real-life story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson, in an awesome performance), who made headlines in 1999 for suspending his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic performance. Admittedly, the story plays out somewhat generically, but the overall point the movie (and Carter) make throughout the film is extremely important – education must come first in order for there to be a chance for a successful future, and there must be a life for student athletes outside athletics. I loved all the acting performances in the movie, especially Jackson, who I would swear is physically unable to put forth a bad acting performance. Overall, it’s a solid movie and I think it’s worth a view for any young athlete. 


Cool Runnings (1993)

This is a movie I’ve been familiar with since I was very young and follows the formation of the first-ever Jamaican bobsled team before the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I loved it then, and love it now because not only is it just a cool movie (pun intended) but the performances from everyone (including John Candy as the team’s coach) are fantastic. Also the scene near the end when the team is carrying the sled and everyone in the crowd starts clapping gets me and brings be to tears EVERY. TIME. So if you’re looking for something funny but with plenty of heft and heart, this is a good film to check out. 


Moneyball (2011)

This movie was another surprise to me as I was watching it. The movie follows the Oakland Athletics baseball team's 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane's (played by Brad Pitt) attempts to assemble a competitive team by taking different approaches to scouting and recruiting. I borrowed this from the library not long after I moved to Liberal and to my intense surprise, I ended up enjoying it even though I’m not really a fan of baseball. The story’s actually interesting and while it’s primarily a biopic/drama, it also has enough humor and heart to keep things interesting. Brad Pitt also does a great job in his role as Beane and has great chemistry with Jonah Hill, who portrays one of the Oakland A’s staff working to help him with the new system. If you’re a baseball fan and looking for a movie to watch, this should be one of the movies on the list of choices. 


Remember the Titans (2000)

This movie came out when I was in elementary school and I have loved it ever since. The movie follows the story of African-American coach Herman Boone, (played by Denzel Washington) as he works to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Va., in 1971. Like “Coach Carter,” the overall story plays out somewhat generically, but that can actually be overlooked because of the solid performances of all the actors, particularly Washington and a very young Hayden Panettiere, who plays Sheryl Yoast, the daughter of Boone’s assistant coach or that season. Also, the ending always gets to me because of how sad it ultimately ends. Overall, it’s a great football movie and well worth the watch.