This is a bittersweet time of year for all football fans - the season is over, and the Super Bowl peaks over the horizon. Then comes the pain of football withdrawal. What will we do on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights? We've compiled a list of movies that we hope will ease the misery.
Some football films have rousing, rough-and-tumble-scream-at-the-TV football action. This is the "Football Factor." They're just like watching a game with two great defenses. Others have an interesting football story. This is the "Heart Factor." Often there are a lot of both factors in each movie. Here's how to effectively use this list: watch one movie a week - perhaps on a Sunday or Monday night - and it should take you to the start of training camp. Remember the Titans
True story of how Herman Boone, a black football coach (Denzel Washington
), molded and unified resistant black and white players into a championship team. As the team became one, the school and town became more accepting and tolerant, and even true friendships were forged. Great story.
Football Factor-5 Heart Factor-5
Watch for Scrubs
' Donald Faison
and a much younger Hayden Panettiere
) as a very knowledgeable, football-loving tomboy.The Program
A Big Ten college football team struggles to save its season. Not an easy task with a coach (James Caan
) who's dealing with pressure to reach a bowl game, a star quarterback in rehab, and a crazy defensive player on steroids, as well competitive in-fighting among the players.
Watch for early career performances by Omar Epps
, Craig Sheffer
, and Halle Berry
, and a cameo appearance by ESPN's Chris Berman.
Football Factor-3 Heart Factor-3 Gridiron Gang
Excellent true story about an ex-college football player-turned -social worker (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
) who pulls together an improbable group of teenaged juvenile detention gang-bangers into a competitive prison yard football team.
Cool line: (Sean to Willie) "What are you looking at? Don't look at them. They ain't gonna help you out here, Willie. You got no homeboys, you got no help, you d- - - sure ain't got no gun. You got nobody but yourself. But that's all you need. Believe in yourself and knock me on my a- -!"
Football Factor-5 Heart Factor-5 The Replacements
Silly movie about an unlikely group of guys who sign on as football players after a player's strike. Some of the characters are pretty goofy and annoying, but Keanu Reeves
is very likeable as the scrub, but talented, quarterback. Gene Hackman
is the calculating and fatherly coach. Predictable, but has a feel-good ending. John Madden and Pat Summerall play themselves as the announcers.
Football Factor-2 Heart Factor-3 Rudy
With some movies, you just gotta stand up and cheer and wipe the tears from your eyes. The true story of Daniel "Rudy" Reuttiger, the lovable, willful, and determined Notre dame football team underdog, will have the entire family jumping and clapping. You don't have to be a football fan to love this one.
Football Factor-4 Heart Factor-5 Invincible
is real-life Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, who earned a coveted spot on the team as a walk-on in 1976. Great local boy makes good story.
Football Factor-5 Heart Factor-4 We Are Marshall
Very compelling true story about a plane crash that killed a college football team, as well as some coaches and fans, and how that horrific event devastated a school and town. Matthew McConaughey
is the spirited new head coach who helps them all pick up the pieces and rebuild. The movie also contains excellent footage of actual events.
Football Factor-3 Heart Factor-5
Watch for Lost's Matthew Fox
as the reluctant and grief-struck assistant coach.Everybody's All-American
A 1950s college football star (Dennis Quaid
) basks in the glory of his Sugar Bowl days for 25 years after the game has been played. Jessica Lange
is his long-suffering, shoved-in-the-background wife who pushed her own dreams aside to support her self-serving husband.
Football Factor-3 Heart Factor-1 Chick Factor-4