The League

THE QUESTION

Why Are Football Movies So Bad?

Of the four major sports, (and just about every minor one), why is the most popular one so lackluster in movie form?

Posted by Emil Steiner on June 15, 2009 7:50 AM
FEATURED COMMENTS

mrodifer: Another poster had one critical thing right: casting is a HUGE issue (pardon the pun). There aren't that many actors who fit the physical ...

dwiles: Friday Night Lights; Fine film, great television series and it's about football among other things. Both the movie and the series are among ...

dwiles: Friday Night Lights; Fine film, great television series and it's about football among other things. Both the movie and the series are among ...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (20)

ALL COMMENTS (20)
yellojkt Author Profile Page :

Best football movie of all time: Gus.

End of discussion.

nall92 Author Profile Page :

Any Given Sunday wasn't to bad

thingsthatshine Author Profile Page :

Football films are usually bad because great films require subtlety and too few football films bother portray the nature of the individual. Boxing is just as brutal a sport, but there are easily five great boxing films to every one decent football movie bc we are allowed to understand the individual boxer much more often than we allowed to know the individual player.

onestring Author Profile Page :

Its easy.

What makes football great is the strategy under pressure, the athletic defiance of gravity while fighting an opponent for the ball as the strategy is executed, and the fact that the guys doing it are wearing your town's name on their jerseys.

Its all real, dangerous, and skillfully done by some of the fastest and strongest individuals on earth.

You're never going to get that on film unless you're telling a true story. The second we understand that it is an imaginary team we're following in the story.... YYYYYYAAAAAWWWWNMNNNNNNNNNN

We just know Burt Reynolds, or Brad Pitt wouldn't make it through a single play. Not to put Reynolds down - but it isn't believable when you know anything about football.

You might squeeze a comedy like "Slapstick" out of football - we know it isn't even trying to be serious.

Not a drama.

Stop trying. Yes, they've been THAT bad.

mez_ Author Profile Page :

To the person commenting about Burt Reynolds being unbelievable as a football player: he attended Florida State on a football scholarship. So I find it highly believable he would make it through a play.

alex35332 Author Profile Page :

There are many reasons why I think football movies don't work that are unmentioned here.

First is the NFL's got problems with licensing their team's identities and stuff to films. When they made Invincible (an okay movie, not great) I remember the Philadelphia Film Office making a big deal about that, that is near impossible to get those rights. But, "Any Given Sunday" supposedly tried to get the rights and failed, as did "The Replacements".

Lets face it wouldn't it be 1,000,000 better if AGS was about a returning Miami dolphins team or if Replacements was a straight up historic movie about the Skins during the holdout.

The second is the issues of story lines. The best sports movies are not about what goes on, on the field so much as what goes on off the field. There are only a handful of sports movies that are good that involve wining a championship, most the time if thats your endgame its kinda lame and predictable.

WmarkW Author Profile Page :

Because football is an inherently team sport, while movies are usually about one person's struggles against adversity. Anyone being faced with the personal issues that drive a good movie, isn't thinking "team."

BDVienna Author Profile Page :

Friday Night Lights, Rudy, Remember the Titans ...

agapn9 Author Profile Page :

Burt Reynolds actually played college football for Florida or Florida State.

Just because he's a so-so actor doesn't mean he doesn't know what it means to hit somebody.

fan1 Author Profile Page :

We Are Marshall
Brian's Song
Rudy
Jerry Maguire
Radio

All are very well-written, directed and acted films. I think the critics mean that they can think of a couple football films that are not that good. wow.

howie14 Author Profile Page :

Greatest football movie of all time...Horse Feathers.

charley42 Author Profile Page :

Let's not forget Ace Ventura: Pet Detective! ;-)

xSamplex Author Profile Page :

What the heck is wrong with Invincible?

bs2004 Author Profile Page :

The reason why Hollywood films are so bad is because NFL Films is so good.

"The froooooozen tuuuuundra of LLLLLLLambeau Stadiummmm ...."

cookie714 Author Profile Page :

All of these opinions and not one of you mentioned Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty and Jack Warden. It is the greatest football movie of all time AND a great movie. It was nominated for 9 Oscars. Not even death, or at least cremation, could stop Joe Pendlton from playing in the Super Bowl!

delOH Author Profile Page :

There are just not that many story lines that you can go with, thence the remake of The Longest Yard. But Liz is right, North Dallas Forty was the best. There was a HBO series the the 80's with a then very HOT Delta Burke, First and Ten (the first First and Ten) that was can't miss TV. Man, Delta was smokin', thanks for reminding me.

mrodifer Author Profile Page :

Another poster had one critical thing right: casting is a HUGE issue (pardon the pun). There aren't that many actors who fit the physical profile of a pro football player, which creates an immediate problem with verisimilitude. NFL Films is partly to "blame" because of their pioneering work at getting under the skin of the game in extreme close-up; trying to convincingly imitate that with a bunch of actors is doomed to failure. There are some short memories here, or maybe I'm just old....I agree about North Dallas Forty being a great one; the original Longest Yard was excellent (starring Ray Nitschke as a linebacker, what a stretch!). Does anyone remember a late Sixties film with Charlton Heston called Number One? It's been many years since I've seen it, but as I recall, it was a pretty depressing but solid depiction of a beaten-up old star QB on the way down with some decent football footage. But the biggest omission so far, to me, is the movie I consider to be the best pro football film ever, hands down -- Paper Lion, which actually starred the Detroit Lions, Lombardi and other game figures as themselves and featured football action sequences filmed and provided for by -- wait for it -- NFL Films. Other films may have better stories, better acting, whatever -- but in terms of pure football, Paper Lion is it for me.

mrodifer Author Profile Page :

Another poster had one critical thing right: casting is a HUGE issue (pardon the pun). There aren't that many actors who fit the physical profile of a pro football player, which creates an immediate problem with verisimilitude. NFL Films is partly to "blame" because of their pioneering work at getting under the skin of the game in extreme close-up; trying to convincingly imitate that with a bunch of actors is doomed to failure. There are some short memories here, or maybe I'm just old....I agree about North Dallas Forty being a great one; the original Longest Yard was excellent (starring Ray Nitschke as a linebacker, what a stretch!). Does anyone remember a late Sixties film with Charlton Heston called Number One? It's been many years since I've seen it, but as I recall, it was a pretty depressing but solid depiction of a beaten-up old star QB on the way down with some decent football footage. But the biggest omission so far, to me, is the movie I consider to be the best pro football film ever, hands down -- Paper Lion, which actually starred the Detroit Lions, Lombardi and other game figures as themselves and featured football action sequences filmed and provided for by -- wait for it -- NFL Films. Other films may have better stories, better acting, whatever -- but in terms of pure football, Paper Lion is it for me.

dwiles Author Profile Page :

Friday Night Lights; Fine film, great television series and it's about football among other things. Both the movie and the series are among the few sports films I've seen of any kind that actually communicate why we care about sports and why we play.

dwiles Author Profile Page :

Friday Night Lights; Fine film, great television series and it's about football among other things. Both the movie and the series are among the few sports films I've seen of any kind that actually communicate why we care about sports and why we play.

 
 
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