[Super Bowl 2014] My Top 5 Football Movies

Happy Super Bowl Weekend! Although my Carolina Panthers aren’t playing at Metlife Stadium tomorrow, I still love the game of football! I’m not sure who I will end up cheering for in the big game, but I do know some football movies that I love watching. [Edit: I’m cheering for the Seattle Seahawks!]

Cheerleading was my favorite hobby throughout my childhood and well into my teenage years. I cheered for eleven years. The roar of the crowd. The dirt on my sneakers. Stadium lights illuminating all the surroundings. I love it. There is this certain spirit about highschool football that still drives me to games even to this day, but professional football is on a whole new level. Fans are passionate. Fans are not just from the city the team is in, but from all over. It is a vast and undying community. I am so glad to be apart of it.

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Football movies are some of my favorite movies to watch – any sports movie, really. I feel the majority of them capture the spirit of the game and the fandom quite well. Because highschool football is what I can mostly relate to having been involved in it to some degree (cheering for football was my favorite), most of my list of favorite football movies are highschool related with the exception of one. Let’s get to the list.

5. The Waterboy – Released in 1998, this movie is the most hilarious football movie I have seen. Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher made for a delightful character that you just want to root for. Bobby becomes the Waterboy for the fictional South Central Louisiana State Mud Dogs. It is soon discovered that Bobby is a fearsome linebacker when he channels his anger into his tackles. Although the critical reception of these movie leaves much to be desired (with a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes and on Ebert’s “Most Hated” list), this film is a charming and comedic take on college football.

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4. Varsity Blues – This movie definitely makes me nostalgic for my small town roots with their football craze. I see my own small town as if it is a reflection of the fictional West Canaan, Texas. The lead character in this coming-of-age story is Mox (played by James Van Der Beek) as the quarterback of the football team. He and his fellow Coyotes endure much abuse from their overbearing coach Bud Kilmer. This movie’s depiction of the heavy pressure put on successful highschool football teams is thought-provoking and emotional.

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3. Friday Night Lights – This film is actually based on true events and was adapted from the non-fiction book Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream written by H. G. Bissinger. It follows the 1988 season of the Permian High School Panthers as they try to make it to the state championships. The school is located in Odessa, Texas. There is controversy around the book from the residents of Odessa and events from book to movie were changed. With an incredible cast led by Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gaines, the events in this film run a gauntlet of emotions that leave you cheering for the Panthers in their big game. The ending brings me to tears each time as the cinematography of the final game paired with the events afterwards touches my heart.

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2. The Blind Side – Adapted from the 2006 book by Michael Lewis, this film follows Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher. It showcases his difficult upbringing, his adoption by the Tuohy family, his years playing football at the Wingate Christian School (a fictional version of the real school he attended), and as a first-round NFL pick. This is such a heartwarming movie and it is even more so when you realize it is based on a true story.

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1. Remember the Titans – Yet another film based on a true story, this follows African-American coach Herman Boone as he coaches a racially divided team in the 1970s. I think I love this film so much because of the story it tells and how real the portrayal feels. My parents were in highschool in this era and the stories they have told me fit in with what is depicted during this film. It is such a motivational story that is still relevant today.

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