Sports Movies about everything but sports

Today I’m offering a movie list for your entertainment.  I’m generous that way.

What kind of movies? SPORTS! (sort of)

I have an abiding affection for the plots driving “inspirational sports movies.” They all have these elements (among others)

  • spunky underdog facing off against a Big Name/has-been getting a second chance…
  • fraught family relationship of some kind
  • team loses faith in their leader
  • unappreciated partner sticks with/comes back to/forgives the protagonist over the course of all the conflicts and doubts
  •  Wacky Supporting Character(s) who deliver wisdom and put the protagonist’s head on straight at a critical moment
  • major setback that makes victory seem impossible
  • At last one training montage, usually two…

YOU know. Those kinds of movies. Bad News Bears, Slap Stick, League of Their Own, Rocky, The Replacements…I could rattle off a couple dozen. But that’s not what I decided to list. Me, I’ve collected all my favorite non-sport sport movies.

Why? Because I am not a sports fan. The practical aspects of sport movies leave me unmoved. Football training montage or long game tactics discussion = bathroom break. But the BEST thing about sports movie elements is how beautifully they bloom when they are taken off the playing field and planted elsewhere.*

So here’s a selection of titles complete with my skewed summaries of their plots.

  • Bottle Shock: upstart California winery enters snooty French wine competition
  • Blow Dry: “washed-up” hair dresser enters one last international competition.
  • Chef: talented culinary artist loses it all, starts over with a food truck.
  • Extract: struggling spice factory employees have to pull together to avoid being shut down
  • Kinky Boots: languishing British shoe manufacturer reinvents itself and enters big fashion show
  • Take The Lead: ballroom dance teacher takes problem students to the Big Contest
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Game show. Underdog. India. All the hearts and confetti.
  • Meatballs: rival summer camps competing for comedy and everything else
  • Today’s Special: son gets pulled into the family restaurant, has to make it succeed
  • Cutting Edge: I know figure skating is technically a sport, but it’s more a competitive art form. Also, TOE PICK!
  • Pitch Perfect: the sport of competitive singing. Sort of. Just watch it.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: small town beauty pageant turns deadly but remains hilarious.
  • The Hundred Foot Journey: another culinary one. Hm. This could be a sub-genre. Displaced Indian family settles in French village, opens up restaurant. A wondrous movie unfolds.

All those movies feed my sport-movie cravings without inflicting a sport on me, but it is by no means a comprehensive list. Do any of your favorite movies fit into this category? Shout ’em out. I’m always looking for new viewing.


*Aside from above my lack of interest isn’t an issue of ignorance. I enjoy spectating with fan-friends, and I have learned the basics for most sports because I always want to know how EVERYthing works. But knowledge does not passion make. I also know how toothpaste works too, but I have no interest in watching how toothpaste gets made…no, wait. Actually I would watch the hell out of a movie about toothpaste-making.


Does this post tie into my writing identity & help me promote my work?  Pfft, of course not. Only in the sense that everything comes out in the writing somehow. If you squint a little when you read my stories, you’re sure to spot some of the inspirational plot elements I listed above.

What do I write? I write Techno-adventure & Science Fantasy. You want links & excerpts? Sure Click right here. Or go straight to the 600-ton gorilla to purchase:  Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Sports Movies about everything but sports

  1. muffinsprettymom says:

    When I read your title, I immediately thought of sports movies that I don’t like for the sports (I don’t actually like watching sports): Necessary Roughness, Wildcats.

    Going by the theme, but not-sports, I’d have to include Protocol, Housesitter and Overboard. Goldie Hawn apparently favors that kind of movie. Sneakers could be seen that way, too. The same type of tropes are found in quite a few spy and underdog military-ish action movies. Reds, A-Team, even Mission Impossible.

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