Friday Night Lights

  • Directors: Peter Berg
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Writers: H G Bissinger, Peter Berg, David Aaron Cohen
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Tim McGraw

Bissinger followed the team for the entire 1988 season, which culminated in a loss in the State semi-finals against Carter High School from Dallas, who eventually went on to win the championship game but would have their title stripped for playing an ineligible player. However, the book also deals with — or alludes to — a number of secondary political and social issues existing in Odessa, all of which share ties to the Permian Panthers football team. These include socioeconomic disparity; racism; segregation (and desegregation); and poverty.

The coach, Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton), is constantly on the hot seat. Tied into the successes and failure of the coach and the team in general are the conflicts the players struggle with on and off the gridiron. The coach overuses his star player, running back James “Boobie” Miles (Derek Luke), who gets seriously injured (Miles tore his ACL, missed the playoffs, and had a limp for the rest of his life). When this happens, sports radios are flooded with calls for his resignation. Miles’ once-arrogant attitude vanishes as he sees his once promising chance of playing big-time college football disappear and starts to question his future after he notices his not-so promising academic standing. Quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black) struggles with being able to play consistently, and his inability to make decisions for himself. Fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) has a rocky relationship with his father (Tim McGraw), who won a state championship at Permian and carries on a feud with his son for not performing on the level he’d like to see, despite the fact that Don doesn’t do anything to light his father’s temper. Third-string running back Chris Comer (Lee Thompson Young), who takes the spot of Miles after his injury, attempts to get rid of his fear of being hit and getting injured, especially when the player who last occupied his spot suffered a season ending injury. His obsession with fame and recognition also comes at a high price that he is at first not ready to play. Safety Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) is easily the smartest player on the team, and the most confident in his future after high school football. One of the themes of the movie depicts the coach as a father-type figure for the players.

Coach Gaines triumphs and struggles with winning football games and connecting with his players a number of times during their tremulous season. His job depends on the Panthers making the playoffs, and his team is in a three-way tie with two other teams at the end of the regular season. Under Texas rules for ties, the tiebreaker is a coin-toss. In an effort to prevent a riot, the location of the coin-toss is kept under wraps. Permian gets a spot. They make it to the finals, where they narrowly lose to a powerhouse Dallas high school team.The movie ends with the coach removing the departing seniors from the depth chart on his wall. Notably, the depth chart has “Case” at quarterback. This refers to Permian’s real-life backup quarterback in 1988, Stoney Case, who would go on to lead Permian, along with Chris Comer, to the 5A state title the following year, and still later made it to the NFL. The final scene consists of Winchell throwing a football to a bunch of pee-wees playing pick-up football before leaving with Billingsley and Chavez.

Cool Runnings

  • Directors: Jon Turteltaub
  • Producers: Susan B Landau, Christopher Meledandri, Jeffrey Bydalek
  • Writers: Lynn Siefert
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Sport
  • Actors: Leon Robinson, John Candy, Doug E Doug, Malik Yoba, Rawle D Lewis

Irving “Irv” Blitzer is an American bobsled double gold medalist at the 1968 Winter Olympics, who finished first in two events again in 1972 but was disqualified for cheating and retired in disgrace to Jamaica, where he leads a destitute life as a bookie. He is approached by top 100m runner Derice Bannock, who failed to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympics when another opponent, Junior Bevil, tripped at the trials, and pushcart driving champion Sanka Coffie, who both wish to use his previous experience as a coach in order to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics as bobsledders. Irv had been good friends with Derice’s father, Ben, a former sprinter whom Irv had tried to recruit for the bobsled team years ago. Yul Brenner, another runner who was tripped at the qualifier by Junior, also joins the team. After Irv is convinced to coach the team, the three months of practice begins, initially resulting in embarrassment. However, the four men acclimate to the sport and travel to Calgary and the Olympics.

The Jamaicans’ first day on the track results in, once more, embarrassment, and a last-place finish. The second day proves better; the Jamaican team finishes with a fast time which puts them in eighth position. For the first half of the final day’s race it looks as though they will break the world bobsled speed record, until tragedy strikes; their sled, due to one of the blades falling off, flips on its side coming out of a turn towards the end of their run, leaving them meters short of the finish line. However, the team lifts their sled up and walks across the finish line to rousing applause from onlookers. The team, at the end, feels accomplished enough to return in four years to the next winter Olympics. A brief epilogue states the team returned to Jamaica as heroes, and upon their return to the Winter Olympics four years later, they were treated as equals.

The Longest Yard

  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Producers: Albert S Ruddy
  • Writers: Albert S Ruddy, Tracy Keenan Wynn
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Burt Reynolds, And Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Harry Caesar, John Steadman, Charles Tyner, Mike Henry, Jim Nicholson, And Bernadette Peters, as The Warden s Secretary, With Pervis Atkins, Tony Cacciotti, Anitra Ford, Michael Fox, Joe Kapp, Richard Kiel, Pepper Martin, Mort Marshall, Ray Nitschke

The protagonist is Paul “Wrecking” Crewe (Burt Reynolds), former star pro football quarterback living with his wealthy girlfriend (Anitra Ford) in Palm Beach, Florida. After a fight with her, he gets drunk and “steals” her expensive Citroen SM automobile. He is surprised when a fleet of police cars follow him. Briefly evading them, he exits the vehicle and sends it over an open drawbridge into a canal; he is caught and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Crewe has difficulty getting along with the guards as well as with his fellow inmates. The convicts despise him because he was dismissed from the National Football League for point shaving. As his only friend, an inmate nicknamed Caretaker (James Hampton) put it, “Most of these boys have nothin’, never had anything to start with. But you, you had it all. You could have robbed banks, sold dope or stole your grandma’s pension checks and none of us would have minded. But shaving points off of a football game, man, that’s un-American!” (a similar line in the 2005 remake is spoken by the same character, this time played by Chris Rock). Moreover, the sadistic, power-hungry warden Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert), a football fanatic who manages a semi-pro team made up of the prison’s guards (most of whom are big and fast enough to play professional football), wants Crewe to help coach the team. Responding to pressure from the guard’s leader and coach, Captain Wilhelm Knauer (Ed Lauter), Crewe refuses. He is harassed by the guards and given backbreaking work as punishment. Following a scuffle with the guards, Crewe’s sentence is increased to 2–5 years.

As the prisoners and the crowd celebrate, Warden Hazen is furious. Crewe walks across the field in what appears to be an attempt to mingle with the crowd and escape. Hazen sees this and orders Knauer to shoot Crewe. Knauer calls out to Crewe several times as Hazen barks for him to shoot. At the last moment, Crewe picks up the game ball and walks back towards Hazen. Crewe then hands the ball to Hazen, telling him, “Stick this in your trophy case.”

Forever Strong

  • Directors: Ryan Little
  • Producers: Adam Abel, Ryan Little, Steven A Lee, Brian Peck, Brad Pelo
  • Writers: David Pliler
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Sean Faris, Gary Cole, Penn Badgley, Arielle Kebbel, with Sean Astin, Neal McDonough, Olesya Rulin

Talented but troubled high school rugby player Rick Penning (Sean Faris) loses his position as the star of an Arizona rugby union team when he is sentenced to a boys’ Juvenile Detention Center in Salt Lake City.[1] Rick ends up playing for Salt Lake’s notable Highland High School rugby team, coached by Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole), in the national championships – against his old team, who is coached by his father, Richard Penning (Neal McDonough). Emily (Arielle Kebbel) is Rick’s love interest, and Marcus (Sean Astin) is his guidance counselor.

The Comebacks

  • Directors: Tom Brady
  • Producers: Adam F Goldberg
  • Writers: Joey Gutierrez, Ed Yeager
  • Genres: Comedy, Sport
  • Actors: David Koechner, Carl Weathers, Matthew Lawrence

Coach Lambeau Fields (David Koechner) is pathetic. He has the distinction of being the worst coach in the history of sports anyone can recall. A loser of enormous proportions, the incompetent and seemingly hopeless coach is convinced by fellow coach Freddie Wiseman (Carl Weathers) to return to the field for one last shot. Assuring his long suffering wife (Melora Hardin) that he will not ignore his family, Coach moves them to Plainfolk, Texas where he hopes to redeem himself and his reputation. Here he begins yet another attempt to improve his abysmal record – this time as the coach of the football team at Heartland State University. But he is saddled with a team of misfits – most of whom don’t know the difference between a line of scrimmage and a line at the cafeteria. Although the team and townsfolk are leery of the newcomer’s approach, the Coach uses his unorthodox methods to whip this group of rag-tags into shape – both on and off the field. While the audience follows their winding road to the playoffs, the film pokes fun at the clichés and conventions of other sports flicks. And the team does make progress, so much so that they actually make it to the South-Southwest Conference Championship at the 2nd Annual Toilet Bowl. Facing their fiercest opponents yet and yearning to win the big game, The Comebacks face off with the Lone Star State Unbeatables. And as every great sports team has always done, The Comebacks use ingenuity and unorthodox measures in the final showdown where the best team win. The Comebacks are victorious, but Lambeau is subsequently knocked down in a surprise attack by a bus with Freddie driving it, who laughs manically as Lambeau is in pain . Lambeau groans in agony.

Bring It On In It to Win It

  • Directors: Steve Rash
  • Producers: Wayne Morris, Charlie Lyons, Armyan Bernstein
  • Writers: Alyson Fouse, Elena Song
  • Genres: Comedy, Sport
  • Actors: Ashley Benson, Michael Copon, Cassie Scerbo, Jennifer Tisdale

The West Coast Sharks Cheerleading Squad, led by Carson (Ashley Benson), are attending Camp Spirit-Thunder where they’re confronted by their arch-rivals, the East Coast Jets Cheerleading Squad, led by Brooke (Cassie Scerbo). Both squads are fierce rivals because each is the best on its respective coast; however, the Jets have beaten the Sharks at the annual Cheer Camp Championships for the previous three years in a row.

On her first day at camp, Carson meets and hits it off with Penn (Michael Copon). They trade phone numbers, neither knowing the other is a member of their arch-rival squad. When Carson eventually does find out that Penn is a Jet, she gives him up although she really likes him. This is an allusion to the 1961 film West Side Story. Penn is like Tony, belonging to a gang called the Jets. Carson is like Maria, belonging to a gang called the Sharks.

As part of the Camp Spirit-Thunder ritual, the West Coast Sharks are given the Spirit Stick, a “special” cheerleading item that they have to guard fiercely. Carson agrees to watch the Spirit Stick when her friends leave for a poker game, but she forgets about it when Penn arrives to ask her out. They go to a nearby amusement park and spend time together, notably riding the Double Dragons (Dueling Dragons) at Universal’s Islands of Adventure) rollercoaster. At this time, Penn confesses his darkest secret to Carson: he forced his team to raise money for him to go to the camp so that his father wouldn’t find out he is a cheerleader.

The end credits feature clips of the cast dancing “all over the world”, while the singer Ashley Tisdale, who is sister of Jennifer Tisdale, performs her single “He Said She Said”.

The Sandlot

  • Directors: David Mickey Evans
  • Producers: Mark Burg, Chris Zarpas
  • Writers: David M Evans, Robert Gunter
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, James Earl Jones

The film is told through the perspective of Scott Smalls, who is reminiscing on his first summer in Los Angeles. In 1962, Smalls moves with his mother and stepfather to a new neighborhood, and struggles to make new friends. One afternoon, he decides to follow a group of neighborhood boys, and watches them play an improvised game of baseball at a small field, which they call the “sandlot.” Smalls is reluctant to join their game because he fears he will be ridiculed on account of his inexperience. Nevertheless, he chooses to play with them, but fails to catch a simple fly ball and properly throw the ball back to his infielders. All the other players, except for Benny Rodriguez, begin to jeer Smalls for committing defensive miscues, prompting him to leave the sandlot in embarrassment. Benny, who is the best player in the neighborhood, shields Smalls from the insults of his peers, and invites him to rejoin their game. He proceeds to give Smalls advice and helps him earn the respect of the other players. In time, Smalls is accepted and becomes an integral part of the team.

As Smalls continues to play with the team, he begins to learn many of the customs of the sandlot, while experiencing many misadventures with his new friends. He learns that players avoid hitting home runs over the sandlot’s fences, as the property is guarded by a ferocious dog, called “the beast.” One day, Benny hits a ball so hard, that he ruptures its leather, causing the balls entrails to come out. The group cannot afford to buy another baseball, and is forced to retire for the afternoon. However, Smalls runs to his step-father’s trophy room, and steals an autographed baseball, in hopes of preserving the game. The team is impressed with Smalls’ gesture, and allows him to have the first at bat with the ball. He proceeds to hit the ball out of the sandlot, but is shortly enveloped by fear once he realizes that he has lost his stepfather’s ball. The situation is further worsened when Smalls realizes that the ball was autographed by Babe Ruth, and is almost irreplaceable.

While his stepfather is still mad at him, they eventually get over the issue. He then goes on to explain what became of all his friends, and the future careers they pursued. The film then jumps twenty years into the future, where Smalls is a radio commentator for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez is one of the team’s star players. While he is in the twilight of his career, Benny manages to steal home in the movie’s final comments, before flashing a thumbs-up to Smalls in the press box.

Gracie

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Davis Guggenheim, Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, John Shue
  • Writers: Lisa Marie Petersen, Karen Janszen, Andrew Shue, Davis Guggenheim, Ken Himmelman
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Jesse Lee Soffer, Andrew Shue, Trevor Heins

It is 1978 and 15-year-old Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder), who lives in South Orange, New Jersey, is crazy about soccer, as are her three brothers, neighbor, and former soccer star father (Dermot Mulroney). Although Gracie wants to join her brothers and father in the nightly practices, she is discouraged by everyone except her elder brother, Johnny (Jesse Lee Soffer).

Tragedy unexpectedly strikes when Johnny, the star of the Columbia High School varsity soccer team, is killed in a car accident. Struggling with grief over her family’s loss, Gracie decides that she wants to replace her brother on the team. Her father does not believe that girls should play soccer and tells her that she is neither tough enough nor talented enough to play with the boys team. He devotes most of his time and energies to Gracie’s brothers, particularly Johnny. Her mother, Lindsey Bowen (Elisabeth Shue), is a nurse who lacks the competitive drive of the rest of her family and who fears for Gracie’s safety. Lindsey later confesses to Gracie, in discussing gender inequities, that she would have liked to become a surgeon but that option was not available to her.

Feeling rejected by her father and depressed over the fact that her desire to play soccer is not taken seriously, Gracie begins to rebel. She stops doing her schoolwork, is caught cheating on an exam, and experiments with wild and self-destructive behavior. This serves as a “wake-up call” for her parents, particularly her father. He quits his job to coach her in soccer. When the school board rejects her request to play boy’s soccer, it is revealed that he wanted her to play women’s field hockey. Gracie files an appeal with the school board. Citing the newly passed Title IX, Gracie argues that since a girl’s soccer team does not exist, she should be allowed to play on the boy’s varsity soccer team. The school board allows her to try out for the team. After very rough tryouts, she makes the junior varsity squad and has to decide if she is willing to play at that level.

The Blind Side

  • Directors: John Lee Hancock
  • Producers: Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove, Gil Netter
  • Writers: Screenplay, John Lee Hancock, Book, Michael Lewis
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, and Kathy Bates

The Blind Side depicts the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless 18 year old from a broken home. He enrolls in a private Christian School and struggles to fit in because he is woefully underprepared. Eventually, he is taken in by the Tuohys, a well-to-do family who helps him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Tuohys’ lives leads them to some self-discoveries of their own. Recognizing his potential talent as a football player, they encourage him. Living in his new environment, the 18-year-old faces a completely different set of challenges. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

Sommersturm

  • Directors: Marco Kreuzpaintner
  • Producers: Jakob Claussen
  • Writers: Thomas Bahmann, Marco Kreuzpaintner
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sport
  • Actors: Robert Stadlober, Kostja Ullmann, Miriam Morgenstern, Marlon Kittel, Hanno Koffler, Ludwig Blochberger, Tristano Casanova

Teams from all across Germany descend on a quiet camping ground for a week of training leading up to a final rowing competition. The plot follows the members of the RSC rowing club from southern Germany as they train for the regatta.

The boys are excited by the prospects of camping with a female rowing team from Berlin. However, by a stroke of fate, the Berlin girls’ team cancels and is replaced by Queerschlag (“Queerstrokes”), a gay youth rowing team, and these boys are out proud and camp it up to their full potential.

Amidst the sometimes tense interactions between the members of his team and those of Queerschlag, Tobi (Stadlober) is himself forced to confront his long-time feelings for his friend and team-mate Achim (Ullmann), who is already romantically involved with his girlfriend Sandra (Miriam Morgenstern). Spurned by Achim, Tobi is devastated, but is partly consoled by his new friendship with Queerschlag member Leo (Kittel).

The tension between the members of the two teams culminates in a scene set to the backdrop of a summer storm, during which Leo confronts Tobi about his homosexuality in front of his fellow team-mates. Tobi denies being gay, and, in an attempt to defend him, one of his team-mates tells Tobi’s girlfriend Anke (Bachleda-CuruÅ›) to tell the rest of his team-mates so. Anke, the only person to whom Tobi has confided his secret, remains silent.

Ultimately, Tobi comes out to his fellow team-mates, and his rowing team and Queerschlag go on to compete in the final regatta.