Kapow! Talk About Payback!
Yes, it’s almost 100 degrees everywhere in the country, but guess what? It’s not only summer, it’s about to be time for FOOTBALL!
That’s right, we are in the middle of baseball season, but it is about time for more football! And that means it is also time to get in the mood for the NFL by watching some great football movies!
ANY team can end up at the Super Bowl – as I am writing this – but time will be cruel to most of the fans around the country…so now is the time to celebrate!
Since Alex doesn’t like sports on TV – but LOVES SPORTS MOVIES, I will watch a bit of football and plenty of football movies this fall – let’s look at the best ones!
They Are ALL Still POTENTIAL Super Bowl Champs!
To honor the upcoming hopes and dreams of every team, I wanted to look at a couple of great football movies!
This 2000 comedy is based on the 1987 professional football players’ strike. Just like last season’s ref strike debacle, the NFL had to go out and find replacements, and in this case they did a great job!
Gene Hackman plays the coach of the team, and Keanu Reeves is the “scab” who replaces the star QB. I have posted about Gene Hackman before, but his retirement from acting has really left a hole in film…he is so good at everything he does…
And I really like Keanu Reeves as well – he brings a natural likeability to his role here – a failed college QB who gets a shot, however briefly, at redemption…
The movie was loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike, specifically the Washington Redskins, who won all three replacement games that year without any of their regular players, going on to win Super Bowl XXII at the end of the season.
CHICKS DIG SCARS!
Keanu finally gets a chance to be a leader, even if it’s tough for him to motivate the guys in the huddle….
Shane Falco: I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be our style.
[pause while everybody is in the huddle]
Shane Falco: Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory… lasts forever.
Then you have replacement linebacker Danny Bateman – played by Jon Favreau — A reserved, almost reticent man during normal interaction with people, but when placed in an adversarial situation, goes completely berserk, particularly if he sees the color red.
[Danny has tackled Shane during practice]
Jimmy McGinty: Good hit. Danny, in practice we don’t hit the guys in the red shirts.
Daniel Bateman: I know, Coach, but I see that red and I just wanna go after it, like a bull, you know?
There are fun cameos in the field as well, like real NFL Sportscaster Pat Summerall and John Madden:
John Madden: I love to see a fat guy score.
Pat Summerall: Why?
John Madden: Because first you get a fat guy spike, then you get the fat guy dance.
Here’s the story of a guy who isn’t a replacement, but an inspiring walk on!
Here’s an uplifting film that celebrate the ability of anyone to succeed – and it’s based on a true story!
In the summer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He’s been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he’ll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. Cue Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrific performance as Papale.
When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Enter Greg Kinnear in another great performance, this time as the desperate coach…
Papale goes to the tryouts and amazingly, makes the team! Not that the stadium Janitor thinks it will last:
Vince Papale: Excuse me my name’s spelled wrong.
Locker Room Janitor: Nothin personal but by the time I’m through with this is it really gonna matter.
Although listed as Wide Receiver, Papale played almost exclusively on Special Teams. The only reception in his career came in 1977 on a 15 yard pass from Roman Gabriel.
Roman Gabriel was a four-time Pro Bowler and the 1969 NFL Most Valuable Player with the Los Angeles Rams.
Greg Kinnear researched his role by spending time with Dick Vermeil during his final year as the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
This is a great, uplifting story, and the film had the support of the Philadelphia Eagles and the National Football League. That’s not always the case, as you will soon see.
Any Given Sunday
“On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is – can you win or lose like a man?”
Leave it to Director Oliver Stone to take a look at the NFL-as-modern-day-Gladiators…
Oliver Stone of course also directed “Born On The Fourth Of July” and “Natural Born Killers”…what a surprise that the NFL had no interest in his take on their sport?
Aging NFL Coach Tony D’Amato – portrayed “at eleven” by Al Pacino – must overcome the injury to his star Quarterback by giving a shot to the coky young QB, Jamie Foxx.
This is a classic story, as Pacino must reevaluate his time-tested values and strategies and begin to confront the fact that the game, as well as post-modern life may be passing him by.
Adding to the pressure on D’Amato to win at any cost is the aggressive young President/Co-owner of the team, Christina Pagniacci, now coming into her own after her father’s death…yes, that’s Cameron Diaz as an NFL owner…
“Any Given Sunday” is a brutal, MASCULINE look at the world of pro football…I mean, look at this Gladiator shot from the film:
Now, about how much the NFL wanted Stone to tackle their game…I think these two pieces of trivia are connected, don’t you?
Director Oliver Stone tried and failed to get the National Football League’s permission to use real NFL team logos and stadiums for the film.
The word “fuck” is spoken about 117 times in the movie.
According to Oliver Stone, the NFL actively attempted to prevent players taking part in this project. Then San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens can be seen playing and scoring two touchdowns for the Miami Sharks. While the name on the back of his shirt is ‘Owens’, he wears the number 82 and not 81 as he does in real life.
Made up team names or not, this monologue tells you all you need to know about how Stone equates modern football players with warriors:
Tony D’Amato: You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!
Let’s celebrate the upcoming season by diving into these NFL film classics!