Thursday Movie Picks: The Underdog

Yesterday, when I literally spent all day at work, I was wondering what movies should I recommend for this week’s theme and I came up with a very specific angle – sports movies! I love sports movies! I love almost all of them to some degree and most of them do have that element of being an underdog as well. So simple as that, here are four movies I’d recommend to anyone who’s even just a little curious about sports movies.

1. MYSTERY, ALASKA, 1999

This is a movie that might not be the best out there but it has a lot of heart and likability! Set in Alaska, the movie is about a little town that loves hockey, and they play hockey a lot because they simply enjoy it. But when a televised game between them and New York Rangers is organised, pressure to succeed causes some rifts between the men. Funny and sweet, Mystery, Alaska is one of those movies that is perfect for a cosy winter evening entertainment.

2. GLORY ROAD, 2006

Racism is a very heavy topic and it has been such for years and will continue to be a topic of conversation in Hollywood. But there are movies, such as Glory Road, that aim to showcase the acceptance and in this instance, the sportsmanship among athletes. Based on true events, Glory Road shares a story about the first all-black starting line up basketball team, lead by Don Haskins (Josh Lucas), who broke all odds in the late 60’s. Inspirational and all around enjoyable movie, Glory Road definitely has one of those moments where you’re at the edge of your seat, rooting heavily for the underdogs.

3. COACH CARTER, 2005

I don’t even watch basketball yet I’m listing two basketball movies here, who knew. But after mentioning Glory Road I can’t really skip Coach Carter because it’s just as good if not better. But rather than focusing on basketball skills, Coach Carter emphasises the importance of education. Also based on true events, coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) became a well-known name after benching his undefeated team because their grades weren’t good enough – they are viewed as underdogs here because nobody really expected any academic success from them. By the way, Coach Carter features Channing Tatum’s first movie role!

4. REMEMBER THE TITANS, 2000

Here is my last, technically number 1 recommendation in regards to underdogs in sports movies, Remember the Titans. Another true story brought on screen through many famous names including Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Ryan Hurst, Ethan Suplee, Donald Faison and fresh-faced Ryan Gosling. Taking place in the early 70’s, racial issues are again the main focus of the story, and the film is about a desegregated football team among the “all white” teams other high schools had at that time. This movie has some of my all time favourite movie moments, from the left-side-strong-side scene to the Titan’s warm up, plus that famous “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” song moment. And well, the ending is just… well, it actually just speaks for itself. It’s just really really good!


 THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: The Underdog”

    1. I think someone who doesn’t love Remember the Titans has something wrong with their brain, it’s just a great movie for all the right reasons!

  1. I like your sports theme! I didn’t see Glory Road, but I’ve seen the others. Mystery, Alaska is probably my favorite of the bunch.

    1. Mystery, Alaska is definitely one of those gems, I totally forgot Cool Runnings though!, which would have deserved to be on this list as well. Kicking myself for that one. But Remember the Titans is my favourite from here. 🙂

  2. Oh another theme within a theme which I always like to see, I shouldn’t be surprised it sports since they lend themselves to the underdog theme. I haven’t seen Coach Carter but I liked the other three, I used Mystery, Alaska on another theme before. I don’t watch actual sports unless I can go to the game, and rarely even then, but like movies about sports which I think is because they focus on the competition and underdog stories more than the actual sports.

    One of my picks this week is sports related but all deal with competition in one way or another. My third is one of my all time favorite films.

    Little Miss Sunshine (2006)-Young Olive (Abigail Breslin) has a dream shared by her grandfather (Alan Arkin). She wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine contest but that requires a road trip with her dysfunctional family, inventor dad Richard (Greg Kinnear), willfully mute brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), suicidal Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and flustered mom Sheryl (Toni Collette). At first it looks doubtful but then they all pile into the van and go on a bumpy road to give Olive her chance despite the odds. Just quirky enough to be charming without wearing out its welcome thanks to a great cast all doing terrific work. Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

    Miracle (2004)-The true story of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) the hockey coach who took the rough material that was the US hockey team and whipped them into Olympic gold medal winning shape. Wonderfully detailed with athletes rather than actors as the team mates, though they perform their lines well, and a powerfully convincing lead performance from Russell, one of his best. Despite the known outcome the film is quite involving and the end exciting.

    October Sky (1999)-Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is just another backwoods teen in a slowly dying coal town in the 50’s until he witnesses Sputnik flying by one night. Filled with the wonder of space and encouraged by his young teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern) he convinces his friends O’Dell & Roy Lee to work with him to try and build rockets. Enlisting the school outcast and brain Quentin they plunge in against many obstacles, including the stubborn resistance of Homer’s good but pigheaded father (Chris Cooper). Meeting with some success they determine to enter the national science competition in pursuit of college scholarships. A great film with tremendous performances full of determination to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds and all around American can-doism with one of the most beautifully evocative and fitting scores ever.

    1. I think is your most newest list of recommendations where I have seen one, heard of the second and somehow completely overlooked the third!? October Sky sounds very good and I have a thing for Gyllenhaal so I might watch it soon!!

      1. I don’t purposely set out to choose older films every time but I do like to shine a light on more obscure films that I enjoy and don’t get the love they deserve. There’s just so much quality out there waiting to be discovered. But I usually go with the first three that come to mind that fit the theme unless I’ve used them before, I don’t like to double dip, and these three though of more recent vintage came to me as soon as I read the topic.

        I think you’ll LOVE October Sky, I’ve never met anyone who has disliked it.

  3. I think I cried when I watched Remember the Titans. But I’m not sure, I’ve seen it years ago.

  4. Awesome picks! Remember the Titans is one of my childhood favorites. It’s so hard to believe how many ultra-famous actors came from that, like Ryan Gosling is so young!!!

    1. Thank you! I think Remember the Titans is one of those late discoveries for me because I remember watching it in university, I think.. but I did rewatch it numerous times after seeing it so I definitely made up for it. Gosling looks so tiny !!! Like, he looks so small compared to all the rest in there! 😀

  5. Sports movie are perfect places for underdogs. Everyone supports/loves an underdog. Haven’t seen any of your picks mostly because I’m not too into the sports (none of which are big in the UK) but that doesn’t really matter as I loved Moneyball.

    1. Oh I’m not into American Football at all and yet I love Remember the Titans to bits! I think it’s the fact that it makes it more about the people in the game than the game itself which is why these sports movies always get to me.. even though I rarely watch any sports myself.

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