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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

quick list: five great football movies that aren’t really about football

I don’t get football. I have no desire to get it, and feel no great loss in my life because of this. But there are a few great football movies aren’t really about football, far less so than the many great baseball movies are actually about baseball. And so these are movies I can love.
Invincible
A wonderful Cinderella story in which ordinary schmoe Mark Wahlberg gets a chance to try out for an NFL team… and makes the cut! (Even better, it’s based on a true story.) The always appealing Wahlberg exudes a passion for the sport that makes me at least temporarily empathize with it.

Horsefeathers
The Marx Brothers’ jape about college football that hilariously embodies how very silly football looks from afar, at least to my eye, as well as how the sport can be a battleground in a kind of warfare between rival schools.

Rudy
The adorable film in which Sean Astin’s runt of a kid gets the opportunity to overcome everything that’s holding him back and be a star.

Jerry Maguire
The football-player character is a clown; it’s left to Tom Cruise’s sports agent to get dreamy and idealistic… and that happens only when he decides to step away from the game.

Brain’s Song
No, not Brian’s Song — in which Billy Dee Williams and James Caan are bestest bros on the same team until one of them starts tragically dying — but the Pinky and the Brain short

(If you have a suggestion for a quick list — anything related to film, TV, or general pop culture — feel free to email me.)



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