The shutdown isn’t going to end any time soon, and sport won’t be back for a good while, so here are five sports films currently on Netflix that are definitely worth a watch or a rewatch.
Warrior is a powerful film featuring excellent actors at the top of their game and a wonderful script. It is an MMA drama and the fight scenes are well-shot. However, the sport merely acts as a conduit to explore deeper issues amongst a family living with a difficult past. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star as estranged brothers training separately for Sparta, a massive MMA tournament being held in Atlantic City. Nick Nolte steals the show as the fighters’ alcoholic father battling his own personal demons. A gripping film.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83%
This biographical sports film centres on the rivalry between World Champions James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 season
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, the film charts the beginning of the pair’s rivalry back in 1970 when both men were racing in Formula Three. Hunt is a brash and self-confident character while Lauda is a lot more reserved which makes for compelling dialogue between the pair. Despite contrasting personalities, both men are tied by the fact that they are among the best drivers in the world.
The film explores Hunt’s tumultuous private life which was very public at the time while also giving an insight into Lauda’s infamous crash, which left the Ferrari driver scarred for life, and his miraculous return to the pit just a few months later. It’s at this point that mutual respect seeps through as Hunt begins to realise his adversary’s dedication to being the best.
A fantastic piece of film as both Hemsworth and Bruhl capture the idiosyncrasies of each character magnificently. If you are at a loose end having finished the incredible documentary, Formula 1: Drive to Survive, this is the perfect racing fix.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88%
The story of Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics and how a new and revolutionary style of statistical scouting changed the game of baseball forever.
Brad Pitt stars as the endearing but often cocky Beane with Jonah Hill’s fictional character, statistical genius and assistant GM, Peter Brand, acting as his brilliant right-hand man.
As far as sports movies go this has everything, with the near-collapse in their record-breaking game against the Kansas City Royals and Beane’s first encounter with Brand in the Cleveland Indians’ boardroom two of the films show-stealing scenes.
Moneyball explores two men and their quest to change what had for so long looked to be unchangeable and make it the norm. Despite it being, in essence, a baseball film, a knowledge of the sport is far from necessary.
This is a must-watch.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%
A cult classic and one of Adam Sandler’s most iconic performances but who the hell is Happy Gilmore? An ice-hockey fanatic hell-bent on making it to the big leagues, the only problem is Gilmore can’t skate. What he does possess, however, is a freakishly powerful shot.
With his NHL dreams blown to bits for another year, Gilmore learns that his grandmother’s home is about to be repossessed by the IRS. With his childhood home being cleared out, Gilmore attempts to stop those clearing the house from using his late grandfather’s golf clubs, it’s then that he discovers his freakishly powerful ice-hockey shot transfers well to the game of golf.
Under the tutelage of former pro, Chubbs Peterson, portrayed excellently by Carl Weathers, Gilmore embarks on a journey to go pro. With his foul-mouth and brash attitude not necessarily lending itself to the game of golf, Gilmore becomes a popular figure, much to the dismay of the game’s top brass, as well as one, Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), golf’s biggest star who later becomes Gilmore’s biggest rival for that highly coveted gold jacket.
One of those movies we’ve all seen before but have no problem watching again, Happy Gilmore is a sure-fire way to bring a smile to one’s face.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 61%
Christian Bale has put in so many excellent performances at this stage it is hard to pick a role the character actor has portrayed that stands out from the rest but his portrayal of Dicky Eklund in The Fighter did earn him an Academy Award.
The film centres on the relationship between Eklund and his half-brother ‘Irish’ Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who will be known to boxing fans around the globe for his thrilling trilogy of fights with late World Champion Arturo Gatti.
Ward looks up to his elder sibling, a decorated boxer in his own right who went the distance with boxing icon Sugar Ray Leonard, however, he wants to escape the shadow of the more famous Eklund who leads a troubled life as his crack addiction leads to various crimes.
A tough-family affair, Ward has become the families great white hope for a world boxing title with unreliable trainer, Dicky, and ballsy Boston mother, Alice, believing they hold a firm stake in Ward’s career. Ward freezes his family out on the advice of girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams) another typical Boston woman who doesn’t see eye to eye with any of his large family. As Micky attempts the fighter’s life without his family by his side, he moves up the ranks and secures a shot at a world title, however, it’s then that he realises he doesn’t stand much of a chance without his brother nearby.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%