Our Top 5 Underdog Football Movies

… That Will Punch You in the Heart

BY S. DAVID ACUFF, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WIRED4FILM.COM

As we count down to THE big game on Sunday and the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration this Friday, we’ll be featuring a couple of blogs each day, highlighting a spiritual, sports or music theme. For more info on the event in Tempe, which will be televised in February, visit superbowlgospel.com.

Football. Testosterone. Epic Spartan battles on the Gridiron. Cleats digging into dirt and mud. Muscles straining through grass-stained, bloodied uniforms toward a goal line. Toward a victory. It’s a most visceral, gut-wrenching experience.

And those are just the Fans! Imagine what it’s like to actually play in the game!?

Well, you don’t have to. Someone else has imagined it for you. And you can watch from the safety of your comfy couch surrounded by family and hot wings and popcorn and pizza and your carbonated beverage of choice. Tomorrow you can go back to your Wheat Germ Kale Shakes and Oatmeal Asparagus Burgers, but tonight?

It’s MOVIE NIGHT!

Underdogs. The “little guy.” David and Goliath. Why do we love the underdog so much? I think because America is one of the biggest underdog stories ever. When we took on the British Empire and then Ben Franklin and the Wright Brothers flew their kites and invented electrical airplanes… you know what? My history is a little fuzzy, but we were talking about Underdogs! And there are no finer Underdog Sports stories than in Football.

So, we’ve rounded up the usual suspects… 5 great Underdog Football Movies that are great to watch with the whole family!

scene from the movie, We Are Marshall

“We Are Marshall” is one of the top underdog football movies on our must-watch list.

#5 Rudy – PG (1993) 114 min

Sean “Samwise” Astin, Jon “Ironman” Favreau and Ned “Lots-O’-Huggin Bear” Beatty star in this the oldest of the films we will recommend. Rudy Ruettiger has always been told that he was too little to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.

Why should you watch it? Because the same pluck and moxy that got Rudy into a Notre Dame uniform, later in life propelled him and Frodo Baggins to Mordor to destroy the Ring. Never give up. Never surrender. Watch out for Gollums. He learned that on the Football field, people!

#4 Invincible – PG (2006) 105 min

Mark “MarkyMark” Wahlberg, Greg “Little Mr. Sunshine” Kinnear, and Elizabeth “May the odds be ever in your favor” Banks star in this great film. Again, based on a true story, INVINCIBLE, follows Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

Why should you watch it? Because Marky Mark is all, “I don’t think I can make it” and then his brother Christian Bale is like “I’m batman and I know you can do it” and then Amy Adams — wait a sec. I might be thinking of “The Fighter”. Hm. Another great film, mind you, but INVINCIBLE is better.

#3 We Are Marshall – PG (2006) 131 min

Matthew “We Should Take Our Shirts Off” McConaughey and another Matthew “The Lost Guy” Fox star in this one.

Also based on a true story (you sense a common theme here?) this film is a downer up front because a plane crash wipes out most of the Marshall University Football team. And now the team’s new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.

Why should you watch it? Because you love underdogs and you love America and you’re not a communist! Quit asking questions and just go watch it, it’s McConaughey for crying out loud and he’s brilliant!

#2 Remember the Titans – PG (2000) 113 min

Denzel “My Man” Washington and Will “Doesn’t Really Have a Cool Nickname But You’d Know Him From A Lot Of Stuff If You Saw Him” Patton star in this film.
It’s the (you’ll never guess) true story (how did you guess?!) of a newly appointed African-American coach, Herman Boone, and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Why should you watch it? Because it gets to the heart of brotherhood and comradeship as well as any “Band of Brothers” military movie you’ve ever seen! It’s Army Strong. Only, you know, Football Strong.

#1 The Blind Side – PG-13 (2009) 129 min 

Sandra “America’s Sweetheart” Bullock, Quinton “I’m In 13 Movies That Will Come Out in 2015” Aaron and Tim “Faith Hill’s Husband” McGraw star in this film.

This one is not based on a true story. Ha! Gotcha! I lied! It is based on a true story! The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

Why should you watch it? Because SandyB is hilarious while she kicks butt and takes names. Because Big Mike is a phenomenon and it is a fascinating collision of destitution and wealth as he integrates into their family. And water will leak from your eye holes. But in a good way.

Available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, RedBox, not so much Hulu, Apple iTunes or in my personal DVD collection if you wanted to come over and watch it! Don’t forget the Hot Wings!

David Acuff currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Visionary. Filmmaker. Screenwriter. Lip Trumpeter. Character voices. Blogateer. All for one and one for all and 3 for a dollar! imdb.me/davidacuff  Twitter@davidacuff

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