With the NFL draft starting soon, I'm in the mood to draft! And what better subject than the sport of the hour? But these rankings only include movies where the majority of the story revolves around the game of football. Something like Jerry Maguire, a movie about a sports agent's road to redemption that features football, doesn't count. And no documentaries. Here are my top 10 football movie draft picks.
10. Remember the Titans
The best of the Disney football movies that includes The Blind Side and Invincible, Remember the Titans is dubious about race relations but it gets the game of football mostly right. Denzel Washington brings credibility and the movie has some fantastic on field camera work.
9. Varsity Blues
"I don't want your life!" The manly words of James Van Der Beek echo in football movie eternity, don't they?
8. Any Given Sunday
Oliver Stone's tabloid-fueled look at a fictional NFL-type league and one storied franchise is one of my favorite football movies. This movie made Jamie Foxx, whose amazing rap video as Willie Beamon still lives in film lore:
7. The Program
At the time of its release, The Program was huge. Every youth football player in the country flocked to this movie and producers had to remove one scene that showed players having "fun" by lying in the middle of a busy road because fans were copying the scene in real life. That kind of controversy lives forever.
6. All the Right Moves
This is a surprisingly strong movie thanks to an ending you don't see coming and a depiction of a great rust belt football town. Plus, it also has an all-time great nude scene featuring the hottest actress of the '80s: Lea Thompson.
5. Brian's Song
This TV movie is the classic story of unfulfilled promise. Based on a true story, Chicago Bear teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers formed a great friendship off the field and proved a powerful tandem on it, but cancer would end Piccolo's career, and his life, soon after. A true tearjerker.
4. Friday Night Lights
People remember the TV show of the same name, but the movie came first and laid the groundwork for the series. More than anything, Friday Night Lights paints an intimidating portrait of life as a Texas football star, a glamour position that's not so glamourous.
3. North Dallas Forty
It's not like the novel, with contained intense violence, but North Dallas Forty is still impactful. It was the first film to try to show football as a business, which has been repeated many times since. Nick Nolte's fading hero wide receiver, Phil Elliot, is a classic sports movie tragic figure and the debauchery is eye-opening.
2. Big Fan
If you love football and haven't seen this film, get on it. Patton Oswalt stars as the title "big fan," Paul from Staten Island, a blue collar worker who lives at home and obsesses over his New York Giants to insane lengths. It's an all-time great movie about a loser and the ending is amazing.
The clear-cut number one overall pick, Rudy is a true rarity: a great football movie. The story of a lifelong Notre Dame fan who walks on to the team and inspires his fellow players and coaches with hard work and fortitude is the ultimate underdog story.
Apologies to: The Longest Yard, Everybody's All American, The Express, Invincible, The Blind Side, Necessary Roughness, The Replacements, We Are Marshall, Gridiron Gang, The Best of Times, Wildcats, Air Bud: Golden Receiver, Draft Day, Little Giants, The Waterboy, The Slaughter Rule, Semi-Tough, Paper Lion