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The film industry is incredibly difficult to break into. A lot of movies follow a similar plot line with a common theme and then a side plot that has a romantic element to it. This is particularly true of sports films, regardless of the sport.

Movies that have a tie to the National Football League will sometimes offer free NFL picks in trades that make someone think automatic trade acceptance is on in a video game. The lack of realism is what makes the film industry money, but it can be frustrating to football purists.

That’s why a movie like “Draft Day” is problematic for some. The main character, played by Kevin Costner, makes multiple trades and somehow ends up with three first-round picks in a way that no NFL team would do business. But, again, it’s about the plot line and not the realism of the moves.

There are a lot of different football movies. Here is a breakdown of a few films worth watching, whether on your own or in a group setting.

High School Football

One of the classics is “Remember the Titans,” which has Denzel Washington and William Patton in starring roles. The Disney film has a clean script and is based on the first African-American coach of an integrated high school football team. The movie can be predictable at times, but the acting is solid.

“Friday Night Lights” is another film dealing with high school football. It’s about the Permian Panthers in Odessa, Texas, and is based on a true story about the life of high school football in the crazed state of Texas. Former legendary basketball coach Roy Williams makes an appearance. He is a Permian alum but appears as an opposing coach.

“Facing the Giants” also is geared toward a high school team. It has an iconic scene where a player is pushed to his limits after not believing in himself. It is disguised as a punishment but is a great teaching moment. This is a great movie for families with younger children.

Another great movie involving high school football is “Radio.” There are life lessons to be had as it does depict the main character as someone with special needs. It’s based on a true story regarding the T.L. Hanna High School team, and there was even a story written in Sports Illustrated about it in 1996. Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding Jr. are the stars, and Gooding is particularly great.

College Football

“The Express” is another based on a true story. Some players have spoken out against some inaccuracies, but it does a good job of chronicling the life of Ernie Davis, who was the first African-American player to win the Heisman Trophy.

Another historical movie is “We Are Marshall.” It details the true story of the plane crash that killed most of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team in the 1970s and how the program had a few survivors and eventually had to rebuild.

The classic “Rudy” details the life of Rudy Ruettiger, who overcame the odds to become a football player at Notre Dame. It does have an emotional pull and is a solid family movie.

Another geared toward Notre Dame fans is Knute Rockne, All-American, who is, of course, the Hall of Fame coach that led the Fighting Irish football program.

Comical Football

There are two versions of “The Longest Yard” that include the original and a remake. Adam Sandler plays in the remake as the former NFL quarterback who goes to jail. Once winning over his fellow prisoners, he and his team take on the guards.

He also stars in “Waterboy’ where he becomes the college team’s best defensive player. It’s not this writer’s cup of tea due to some crude language, but it is popular, and reruns are often on television.

“Jerry McGuire” is a movie that deals with stuff off the field. McGuire, played by Tom Cruise, is a sports agent who is struggling – to find athletes, make deals and find love. It’s the perfect romantic comedy to appease those in a relationship.

Another movie worth checking out is “The Blind Side,” which is based on the true story of former NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher. It is also family-friendly.


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