breaking away

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition we take a look at some of the best underdog sports movies you’ve probably never seen.)

I’m not a big fan of sports films in general, and it’s due at least in part to my disinterest in the sports themselves. The only ones I actively participate in, as a player and/or spectator, are tennis and racquetball. Neither sport has exactly lit up the multiplex, and while I have a soft spot for the goofiness of Wimbledon the dearth of truly good tennis movies means I don’t see my sporting interests represented up on the screen.

That changes, though, when the subject is tweaked a bit into the form of underdog sports movies. That’s a subject even someone like me can fully get behind, and thankfully filmmakers are happy to oblige. Were this a “best of” list with no other qualifiers, it would include the two actual best, but I think enough of you have seen Breaking Away (1979) and Lucas (1986) that adding them to a list of movies you haven’t seen would be preposterous and unsportsmanlike. You have seen them right? Right?! Breaking Away is among the very best American films, period, and Lucas stands tall as an underdog sports tale that succeeds while subverting the myriad tropes of the sub-genre. Seriously, seek them out immediately if you haven’t already seen them as they will re-calibrate the meaning of pure joy for you.

Keep reading for a look at the best underdog sports movies you probably haven’t already seen.

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Battle of the Sexes Clips

Awards season is just around the corner, and soon the movies that will be vying for Academy Awards, Golden Globes and more will begin hitting theaters, trying to drum up acclaim and praise. One of the earlier films out of the gate that already has awards buzz from its debut on the festival circuit recently is a real life sports drama starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone.

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of the highly publicized tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) in 1973, a tennis match that pitted man versus woman and made waves for equality between the sexes. You can get a better glimpse at the true story in a batch of new footage that has arrived in a couple TV spots, clips and a featurette.

Watch the Battle of the Sexes clips and more footage below. Read More »

Major League Reunion

Just a few months ago, we heard Charlie Sheen was still hoping to return as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn and get back in the dugout with his old Cleveland Indians gang for Major League 3. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about an real development on the project that has supposedly been in the works for years, but there was a little Major League reunion that happened this past weekend that should make fans simultaneously happy and also aware that time is a cruel mistress.

In Iowa, there’s a celebrity softball game, meet and greet, and more that takes place at the real Field of Dreams from the movie of the same name starring Kevin Costner. Typically, the celebrities are former baseball players participating in the game, as well as Q&A sessions and autograph signings. But this year, MAB Celebrity Services and Prince Marketing Group rounded up Major League stars Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen and Tom Berenger for a photo session, and you can get a glimpse at the gang below. Read More »

Jay Baruchel interview

With Goon: Last of the Enforcers, actor and writer Jay Baruchel makes his feature directorial debut. He previously directed an episode of Trailer Park Boys and a short film, Edgar and Jane, but the very first Jay Baruchel film is the sequel to a beloved sports comedy he co-wrote. In the Goon sequel, which arrives five years after the first movie, the fights are bloodier, the fighters are more tired, and the future is less bright.

Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) finally found his calling in Goon. In the sequel, his days are numbered on the ice, so the lovable goon with a massive fist finds himself lost again. Baruchel doesn’t forget the laughs, of course, but as he pointed out in our interview, hockey is changing for the enforcers, with fights dropping in the NHL. That sea change is a part of Goon: Last of the Enforcers, which Baruchel was happy to discuss along with how the sequel evolved and died twice, writing the legendary Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), and all the well-deserved love for the first Goon.

Below, check out our Jay Baruchel interview.

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Trailer round-up McEnroe

In the hustle and bustle of covering breaking news every day, sometimes a few movie trailers manage to sneak by unnoticed. But they can’t hide forever. We’re vigilant, and we’ll catch up with them eventually. Here are a few recent trailers that we didn’t catch when they first dropped this week. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

goon sequels

The story of Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) and his mighty fists might not end with Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Co-writer/director Jay Baruchel‘s sequel comes five after the release of the first movie, which has a passionate fanbase in both movie and hockey fans. Hopefully, they’ll help make more than a single Goon sequel happen because Baruchel has more stories to tell about the Halifax Highlanders.

Below, the director shares an idea for one of the Goon sequels he has in mind.

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Criterion Collection Olympic Box Set

The Criterion Collection is a fantastic, continuing series of important films released across the history of cinema. From influential classics to contemporary masterpieces, the Criterion Collection creates definitive editions of films for cinephiles to pour over, and their next big collection is something that die hard sports fans will be drooling over as they wait for the next year of the Olympics.

Marking The Criterion Collection’s biggest box set ever, 100 Years of Olympic Films will span 53 movies from 41 editions of the Olympic games from both the summer and winter seasons. This is the culmination of a 20-year project collecting cinematic documentaries that captured some of the most amazing moments in sports history, from Jesse Owens shattering sprinting world records on the track in 1936 Berlin to Joan Benoit breaking away to win the first-ever women’s marathon on the streets of Los Angeles in 1984. Read More »

space jam 2

Justin Lin was on a Television Critics Association panel for the new CBS reboot of S.W.A.T., for which he directed the pilot. Afterwards, he spoke with reporters about his feature film projects. He said he will shoot an indie movie in the Spring, and that the studios responsible for the tentpole movies Space Jam 2 and Hot Wheels are giving both projects the time they need.

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Ivan Drago in Creed 2

Update: This past weekend, Sylvester Stallone posted a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #drago, which is yet another piece of confirmation that a member of the Drago family will be a character in Creed 2. Read our original article from July 5 below for speculation about how this might play out in the sequel.

Ever since Creed hit theaters in the fall of 2015, surprising us all with just how outstanding a spin-off of Rocky could be, fans have been wondering when/if a sequel would come together. Though MGM CEO Gary Barber once mentioned that he would like to get a Creed sequel together for release in November of this year, that’s certainly not happening. But that doesn’t mean the prospect of a sequel is dead altogether.

Sylvester Stallone has been taking to Instagram over the past couple of weeks with some interesting nostalgic posts that seem to hint at what’s in store for Creed 2. In fact, one of them seems to flat-out confirm what kind of territory the story could be heading, and it includes a face from the past who could really make things interesting. Read More »

Bill Murray ESPYs Speech

Yes, this is still a film blog. No, we’re not drunk. But when Bill Murray and Nick Offerman get together to continue celebrating the World Series victory that the Chicago Cubs earned back in the fall of 2016 after 108 years of waiting for the title, how can we ignore it?

Both the Ghostbusters star and the Parks and Recreation man for all seasons are lifelong Chicago Cubs fans, so it’s only appropriate that the two comedy stars were part of the acceptance speech when the baseball team won Best Moment at the 2017 ESPY Awards on ABC last night. After a touching recollection of that final play that happened in extra innings, presenter Nick Offerman giggles like an excited boy and hands the award off to Bill Murray, pretending (?) to be drunk while paying tribute to the team that he’s loved since he was a boy.

Watch the Bill Murray ESPYs speech below. Read More »