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Sport-fueled movies for the win!

Sport-fueled movies for the win!

            Sport, much like movies and music, is an integral part of many lives on this green Earth – yours truly included. Ever since I was a little girl, I was going with my dad and grandpa to watch speedway at our old stadium. And back then I thought – how are people able to capture this sport magic on screen?

Listen, he’s only a man. You can beat him because you’re a tank. You’re a greasy, fast, 200-pound Italian tank.

            But many people actually tried to capture the beauty of sport in many movies – and to my utter joy – concerning many disciplines. Not only football (or soccer, for my American readers), American football (football, for my American readers), basketball, baseball… There’s plenty to choose from. 

And since I am a week away from my vacation, I decided to do something light and maybe inspiring? Today the FIFA World Cup in Qatar starts. As I am preparing this post, I am watching a new documentary on Netflix called FIFA Uncovered about all the corruption, scandals and politics, dating back to the 70s. 

Via Netflix, source

For me, as for many other people as well, football is… Just is. I do not consider it as “my” national sport, as… Really, there is not much to celebrate. Our national team is not winning gold medals and usually is struggling to get into the tournaments. Packing all that money into this one particular sport seems unfair. 

Apollo Creed meets the Italian Stallion. Now that sounds like a damn monster movie.

            That bothers me most when I think about other extremely talented sportsmen and women – volleyball, handball, basketball players; speedway riders; ski jumpers; athletes… Swimmers, runners, bikers. Yet all the major money goes into football. 

Don’t get me wrong – funding classes for underprivileged youth, funding base camps and building football fields at schools is a valid effort. But why are people forgetting about other sports? Watching this documentary feels like putting a final nail in the “sport spirit” coffin. There is no sacrum in sport, not anymore. 

© Apple TV

The controversies around Qatar “hosting” the World Cup are out there and vocalized from the very beginning. And the more vocal people got, the faster they were silenced. It’s funny how a lot of countries are condemning things that happened to get Qatar there, and they are still sending their national teams to play.

            I still cannot believe that money can get you anything, anywhere, any time. It still amazes me how much people change under the influence of just a currency. Remarkable, in the worst possible way.

Maybe I can’t win. Maybe the only thing I can do is just take everything he’s got. But to beat me he’s gonna have to kill me, and to kill me he’s gotta have the guts to stand in front of me, and to do that he’s gotta be willin’ to die himself. I don’t know if he’s ready to do that. I don’t know. I don’t know.

            So, for today’s post, I decided to give you a list of wonderful great movies, series and documentaries to watch on the sport subject. Not football (soccer), but just sport – in the full colorful beauty of it. And as you have probably noticed, today’s headlines are quotes from my ultimate favorite sport-movie-series: Rocky.

Image courtesy gettyimages.com

With that in mind, I just wanted to give you a brief operational update: #twinpeaksSunday will be posted next week (Movie Journal autumn summary for September and October). 

Then I will take a two-week break from posting here on the website, as… Everyone deserves an uninterrupted break from “work”. Hey, don’t get me wrong – this is the best work in the world, but I feel the need. The need for recharging my creative batteries. Once I am back from my voyage, I’ll tell you everything. 

            Save these lists for later – and yes, we can agree that watching a sport-related movie counts as a workout. There, I said it. 

Best sports movies, chosen by Twin Peaks Café: 

  1. Rocky (1976-2006) – every single one from the “franchise” is fantastic and I consider them a Christmas movies. It’s a tradition for me to watch them around December, often when I am baking or cooking. An ultimate tale of never giving up, surviving and thriving. 
  2. Chariots of Fire (1981) – fantastic film based on the true story of two British athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams who runs to overcome bias. And oh, the soundtrack… 
  3. The Big Lebowski (1998) – don’t get me wrong: it’s an AWESOME BOWLING MOVIE. Want arguments? Just freaking watch it. 
  4. The Fighter (2010) – Based on the story of Micky Ward, with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale is one of my favorite sport-related movies of all time. It has this wonderful “Rocky-rise” angle but with a more dramatic line. 
  5. Ford v Ferrari (2019) – yet again Christian Bale takes the floor in a drastically different role, but with the same level of dedication (that accent!). I am not a big racing fan (speedway is a whole different thing, okay?) but that true story behind the famous 24-hour Le Mans of 1966 spoke to me.
  6. The Karate Kid (1984) – probably one of the first movies about a sport I actually trained as a kid, I’ve ever seen. And a good one – after all it inspired me to try it out. 
  7. The Blind Side (2009) – I consider it a guilty pleasure, as most of the movies with Sandy Bullock. But this one… Brought tears to my eyes, especially after I found out it was also based on a true story.  
  8. A League of Their Own (1992) – a female professional baseball team struggling to succeed in a man’s world? Sign me up. And Tom Hanks of course. It’s not only about the sport, it’s how it makes me feel: and it’s a Sunday with ice cream at my parents’. 
  9. Rush (2013) – I remember watching it for the first time back in the cinema, hearing the score (Hans Zimmer) and watching the merciless rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl)… It felt out of this world. 
  10. Million Dollar Baby (2004) – it was something else, for sure – but a damn good movie with an unpredicted ending. Heartbreaking, but so damn good. 
  11. I, Tonya (2017) – I will be honest – I did not enjoy it but as an impartial observer, I think this film was done very well. Besides, ice skating is damn hard and very underappreciated. And figure ice skating? Even more so. 
  12. Space Jam (1996) – I am here for the original, the one and only, the iconic mashup of live action and animation. I remember that one Sunday I had to go to church and my mum recorded it for me. Ahh, sweet childhood memories…
  13. 42 (2013) – Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson who became the first African-American to play in Major League baseball. Great movie and a great performance by the late Chadwick. 
  14. Invictus (2009) – first of all, my first crush Matt Damon is here but second – this movie was freaking awesome! It inspired me to write a scientific paper on apartheid and Mandela’s efforts to end it. With rugby involved. 
  15. Battle of the Sexes (2017) – once again based on a true story of the 1973 tennis “battle” between Billie Jean King (World number one) and Bobby Riggs (ex-champion). Great performances by Stone and Carell + one of the best tennis movies ever.
© 2004 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Best sports series and documentaries, chosen by Twin Peaks Café: 

  1. Ted Lasso (2022-) – now I personally have not yet watched it but it is on my list once I am back from vacation. And I only hear good, great things about it. So, once I’m back from my vacation, it will be my first order of business. Or who knows, maybe it will be available on the plane? 
  2. Cobra Kai (2018-) – NEVER DIES! It was, still is and will be a comfort show of mine. It’s not perfect and it’s far from excellent but the very fact of sudden dedication for karate – like literally every kid in town is doing karate – is something a lot of series lack. 
  3. GLOW (2017-2019) – funny, colorful and unexpected series about a group of women performing wrestling in LA in the 80s… I mean, do you need more? 
  4. Sports night (1998-2000) – you can never go wrong with a comedy taking place in a night cable television. Not amazingly wonderful but I would recommend you give it a try. 
  5. The Last Dance (2020) – a documentary released by Netflix, and they advertised it as an “event” – to which I am really leaning on. It tells a story of the Chicago Bulls rising, under and with Michael Jordan. A good one! 
  6. FIFA Uncovered (2022) – I must admit, it made an impression on me. It’s unbelievable that these things – corruption, schemes and lies – are happening right under our noses. Damn, it’s happening in plain sight. 
  7. Free Solo (2018) – it was sending chills down my spine all the way through. What a reckless but breathtaking point of view on life and sport. 
  8. Senna (2010) – a lot of boxing and Formula One propositions here, no? But this one I enjoyed a lot. It’s a documentary about a Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna, a three-time champion who died tragically. 
  9. Diego Maradona (2019) – oh, how the idol has fallen… Diego was considered a God by many people. This movie is a bitter-sweet card, filled with words of glory and regret. It was very insightful. 
  10. Muhammad Ali (2021) – another very good mini-series about one of the best, most talented boxer of all time. It’s an in-depth look at his life – personal and professional. 
Photo by Ali Goldstein/Netflix/Ali Goldstein/Netflix

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.

            I did not expect to create such an extended list but hey – these are some good stuff for you! There really is something magical in the “underdog story” classically associated with sport movies – maybe that is why I like watching them around Christmas?

Well, regardless. I do hope you enjoyed it and maybe you will watch some of it? Let me know and hey – what is on your sports list? 

Photo by Merrick Morton – © 20th Century Fox

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