The League

C.J. Holley
Sports Producer

C.J. Holley

ESPN.com web producer

Flooding the Zone

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The biggest problem with football movies is that there are too many of them.

There, I said it.

It seems like a ridiculous assertion but when you really stop and think about every movie that could be considered to have been about football you can go on for hours. As a result the entire market is diluted, at least in my mind.

For every Brian's Song, Rudy and We Are Marshall there's Necessary Roughness, Johnny Be Good and The Program.

The latter three fall more into the category of "entertaining" but not necessarily "good" (Anthony Michael Hall! Robert Downey Jr! Uma Thurman! Football movie?) I could literally go on all day listing football movies off the top of my head that somehow are overlooked (Everybody's All American, All the Right Moves, Little Giants, Lucas, North Dallas Forty, Wildcats, even the Last Boy Scout), the point being that there's a severe glut of films related to the topic.

As a result you just assume they all stink when you see a new one come to theaters. The reason so many of them fall into the "entertaining" category is because they often lack true character development or even serve as a true parable for life.

Part of this problem may be that too many football movies focus on the hodgepodge of characters on a team rather than delving into a specific player and what their struggle is like. It's easier to relate to one character (like in Rudy, Radio or Invincible) than an entire ensemble (see: Any Given Sunday) because with a full cast, the film tries to tell every story imaginable within football instead of just one good story.

That last facet is something baseball movies often handle very well. Some of the best baseball movies, from a dramatic standpoint, focus on one player's personal redemption or getting a second chance to do something great. The Natural, The Rookie and Field of Dreams all deal with this theme in one way or another, and thus are more compelling narratives.

Add to that the logistical nightmares of shooting game action and it's easy to see why so many football movies fall short of being great.

But for all the issues with football movies it could always be worse. I mean, can you think of a really good basketball movie aside from Hoosiers? And no Eddie and Juwanna Mann are not on the table.

By C.J. Holley  |  June 15, 2009; 3:12 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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