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.