Football fans across the country are gearing up for the excitement of Super Bowl. Perhaps Louisiana sports betting fans are most excited with the advances made in the past couple of years in the gambling industry.
What’s a better way to get into the spirit than by watching a classic football movie?
If you want to be a football movie hero, just playing football like a champ isn’t always enough. You may have to overcome adversity – serious illness, bigotry, questionable dialogue.
Here we look at some football movies you may want to catch in time for the Super Bowl in Louisiana.
#1 Brian’s Song, 1971
92% on Rotten Tomatoes
This movie pretty much launched the TV drama-movie-of-the-week genre, so be thankful for it when you watch Lifetime’s “My Psycho Cheerleader Husband With a Secret.” Spoiler: The secret is that he’s psycho.
James Caan plays real-life footballer Brian Piccolo, the Bears halfback stricken down at age 26 by a fatal illness. Billy Dee Williams plays his teammate, the legendary Gale Sayers. Brian is white; Gale is black. They become roommates on the road, which is a big deal at the time.
While very moving and seen as groundbreaking in its day for the depiction of a black and a white man as loving best friends, today the dialogue sometimes comes off a little cringe-worthy. Mainly because Brian shows he’s not racist by saying a lot of seemingly racist things which are supposedly “funny.”
“Brian’s Song” also launched the beginning of memorable TV/movie theme music and its theme song hit the pop charts. We never find out what the lyrics to Brian’s sad and haunting theme song are, although they’re probably something like, “We’re heartbroken at losing you, but please don’t say that.”
Still, have tissue handy for this Emmy and Peabody Award-winner. Two boxes if you’re a guy.
#2 Jerry Maguire, 1996
84% on Rotten Tomatoes
The movie that gave us the catchphrase “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” and never apologized for it.
Tom Cruise plays the titular character, a hyper sports agent who discovers he has a conscience and tries to inflict it on his colleagues by writing a screed about the ethics they should all have.
Thus, his colleagues realize he’s a pain, which causes him to get fired. One football player client, supporting actor Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., stays loyal to Jerry, as does Renee Zellwegger in a role that skyrocketed her career.
This movie gave us yet another ubiquitous catchphrase, spoken by Renee: “You had me at ‘hello.’”
#3 Remember the Titans, 2000
73% on Rotten Tomatoes
Do you really need to know more than that it stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Gosling? How good-looking can a football movie be?
Two Virginia high schools get combined and integrated and players must learn to, well, play together. Denzel coaches and schools the team intensely, and Ryan looks so pretty.
“Remember the Titans” is not unforgettable but makes for a decent watch.
#4 Rudy, 1993
78% on Rotten Tomatoes
A young man with a dream does the seemingly impossible: he becomes an actor and gets an actual paying lead role in a movie.
In the role, he plays a young man with a dream who does the seemingly impossible: overcoming financial, educational, and physical stature limitations to play in and win a big game for Notre Dame. Starring the immensely likable Sean Astin.
#5 Varsity Blues, 1999
43% on Rotten Tomatoes
An energetic film about high school football, horny Texas teens and father-son/ player-coach/ helmet-head relationships. There’s a guy who drinks syrup right out of the bottle, that’s how crazy these kids are, and plenty of beer gets consumed.
Starring James Van Der Beek, AKA Dawson of “Dawson’s Creek.” Jon Voight plays a coach who thinks he’s captaining the Bounty and not coaching a kids team. A good movie to watch before Feb. 13 if you don’t understand football but want to watch the Super Bowl with someone who does.
I came away from it understanding the game for the first time.
After the movie, you can catch up on everything that has gone down recently in LA gambling and be well-informed before the Super Bowl.