If you woke up today and lost your job as a taxi driver, came home to find your car repoed and learned your girlfriend was moving out, you could either join the army or unwind with some inspirational sports movies. Women might have The Joy Luck Club, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and a host of other feel-good movies, but guys get to choose between war movies, gangster flicks, porn and inspirational sports movies when they feel like they need a good cry. So if you’re a real man who just had a bad day, then grab a few beers, sit back and root for the underdog.
Most believe that Sean Astin’s career highlight was when he played the part of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While it may have been a cinematic masterpiece, who would want to be remembered for being a bungling barefoot hobbit? If he was Frodo Baggins perhaps but that coveted part went to Elijah Wood. No, Rudy is clearly the superior project for Sean Astin. True, it was a very similar role. Astin was small dude who experienced incredible trials and adversities, overcame great odds and came out victorious. The main difference is, instead of helping defeat the evil Dark Lord Sauron and preserving all of Middle-Earth, he gained admission into the prestigious University of Notre Dame, became a practice player, and managed to play a home game as a member of the regular Notre Dame football team. After achieving all of that and earning a college degree, the saving the Middle-Earth deal doesn’t seem too important, does it?
Yes, girls kick ass at making inspirational sports movies also, and Kate Bosworth as surfer chick Anne Marie is pretty hot in a bikini. There is some plot stuff in Blue Crush about a woman gaining status in society by marrying a wealthy man that draws on Edith Wharton novels, but we suggest you focus your attention on the ferocious waves of the North Shore Pipeline. Without spoiling the end, the inspirational part of this movie comes from Anne Marie finding the confidence within herself to beat the demon’s of her past, and that is what makes someone a winner.
The Karate Kid
Don’t even bother with the rehashed 2010 version. Although The Karate Kid of 1984 may have used the same Rocky formula where the underdog finds it within himself to achieve the unachievable, the film is unique in its own right and featured characters moviegoers loved and cared about. Who wouldn’t want to train under the venerable Mr. Miyagi? Who didn’t cheer for Daniel Larusso as he crane kicked the tar out of his bully adversary? And what warm-blooded guy didn’t think Elizabeth Shue was incredibly hot 27 years ago? That in itself is enough to earn this old gem a slot.
Set in rural Indiana, Hoosiers tells of an unlikely small-tow high school basketball squad that beats the odds and that makes the state finals in the 1950s. Gene Hackman is clearly in his element as the fiery, school head coach while Dennis Hopper lends his considerable talents playing the part of Shooter Hackman’s drunkard assistant coach. This film isn’t just inspirational, it is a true David versus Goliath tale. Do yourself a favor and purchase a copy to keep in your collection of manly, guy stuff.
Allied POWs agree to play soccer against the vaunted German National Team in wartime Paris. As the Allied players train for the exhibition match, the local resistance work with British officers to help the team escape. With the score tied at halftime, the ragtag team gets the chance to flee, but instead opts to play the entire match against the Nazi scum. Sportsmanship! A little dated if you ask me but it certainly deserving to be included in this inspirational sports movies for guys list. The movie even boasts a true all-star cast with film and soccer greats alike working hand-in-hand to make Victory a success.
Forget Rocky II through Rocky V. You can even forget about the relatively recent Rocky Balboa. If you want the best among inspirational sports movies, pick up the original Rocky. You have a small-time pugilist who gets a crack at a world title thanks to his monicker. To prepare for the fight, The Italian Stallion trains with an old-school gym owner who gets him into tip-top shape. He enters the ring and much to everyone’s surprise, goes the distance against the champion and loses only by a close, split decision. The ending is simply perfect. As the results are being read, Rocky and the love of his life embrace and profess their love for each other, not caring about the outcome of the fight. Rocky shows us success in life is not so much about winning, but in having the confidence to take a shot at life and give it all you have.