Moviegoer: A Salute to Sports

Liev Schrieber and Seann William Scott in Goon.

Get your sports fix with a movie marathon 

It’s hard to take anyone out to the ballgame when you have to be six-feet apart. In the time of social distancing, sports has become another thing we’ve had to do without. Baseball is looking at starting its season in late July. Basketball has considered canceling their season. The Olympics have been postponed.  

Basically, if you’re a sports fan, you’re stuck with ESPN reruns or hopes that seasons can safely restart soon. While we wait, check out these five films that will take you from the gridiron to the Olympics and everywhere in between.  

Netflix: Goon 

Bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) gets a golden opportunity when he beats up a player while attending a hockey game. Impressed with Doug’s pugilistic tendencies, the coaches of a minor league Canadian hockey team offer Doug a spot as an enforcer. 

Doug learns pretty quickly it’s not his skill with a puck that gets him playing time, it’s his fighting skills. He gains a reputation as one of the best fighters in the league, protecting his teammates and dropping gloves whenever he can. But is there more to hockey than senseless violence? 

Violent, funny and surprisingly full of heart, Goon is the best hockey comedy since Slap Shot. It perfectly captures the bloody brawling spirit that keeps fans enraptured with the sport. Featuring great performances from Scott and Liev Schreiber, as a legendary hockey enforcer gunning for Doug, this movie has a lot of comic depth as well as a sweet message.  

Good Comedy * R * 90 mins. 

Hulu: I, Tonya 

Talented, tough, and voracious in her need to win, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) was determined to skate her way to Olympic gold. But winning a medal takes more than talent. Though she is one of the best skaters and jumpers in the sport, Tonya is disliked by most of the judges and competitors. They find Tonya too poor and garish to be part of their “refined” sport, and penalize her unfairly because of it.  

Eventually the pressures to perform and succeed against an unfair system get to Tonya and she becomes embroiled in a scandal that will forever change her life. 

A snappy take on the Olympic scandal that rocked the ’90s, I, Tonya is the perfect movie for anyone missing the Olympic games. Robbie is ferocious as Harding, who tells her story as a bitter has-been whose life is defined by one scandal. The movie is, in turn, surprising, hilarious, and disturbing when it looks at the environment Harding had to overcome to make it to a national skating title.  

Great Dramedy * R * 119 mins.  

Prime: A League of Their Own 

In 1943, the men went to war and the women went to work. They took up jobs in factories, in shops, and even on the field. As a publicity stunt, The All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League is formed. Handed short-skirts and told to pose prettily for the cameras, no one expected them to play ball.  

But they do, and they do it well.  

Soon, the league is drawing crowds and baseball is back as America’s pastime. But when the men begin coming home, the league is threatened. Is there room for women in baseball? 

A classic movie about the female baseball leagues of the 1940s, A League of Their Own is the perfect movie for anyone missing going to a Nats or O’s game. Director Penny Marshall outlines the prejudices faced by women in a man’s world and captures some truly thrilling baseball. Lead by glowing performances from Gina Davis, as the star catcher of her team, and Tom Hanks, as washed-up player-turned-coach Jimmy Dugan, this movie is well worth a view.  

Great Dramedy * PG * 128 mins.  

Kanopy: Hoop Dreams 

Two boys are recruited to join a basketball team in Westchester, Illinois. The school is known for its program and is seen as a direct line to the NBA. The boys, William Gates and Arthur Agee are from urban Chicago and must adjust to going to a predominantly white school.  

One of the best sports documentaries ever made, Hoop Dreams is about far more than basketball. The film examines the socio-economic inequalities in the American education system, as well as the racial disparities that hurt kids hoping to get a good education. Agee and Gates must do more than play great basketball, they have to rely on their families to financially and emotionally support them as they struggle for a piece of the American dream. If you’re missing regular NBA games, this movie about two kids chasing their dreams is the perfect antidote.  

Great documentary * PG-13 * 170 mins.   

Disney+: Remember the Titans 

When a southern high school is integrated in 1971, the football program is finally consolidated. Under the leadership of Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), an integrated team is formed. At first, the white kids don’t want to listen to a black coach or play with black teammates, but Boone won’t accept racist norms on his team.  

He pushes his team towards excellence, forcing the boys to work together and appreciate each other. As the boys form bonds, the team begins a historic winning season.  

Based on a true story, Remember the Titans is a feel-good sports movie for all the football fans. Washington is at his authoritarian best as a no-nonsense coach under tremendous pressure to perform in a prejudiced town. The film also features Ryan Gosling, Wood Harris, and Hayden Panettiere as young actors. If you’re looking for a feel-good movie that will remind you of why you miss Monday Night Football, Remember the Titans is well worth a look.  

Good Drama * PG * 113 mins.