During this seemingly-endless quarantine and hiatus from the sporting world, we continue our series on sports movies to watch while the sporting world is on hold.
In Part I, we went over football and basketball movies to watch during this time.
In Part II, we discussed baseball movies to watch.
In the third part of the series, we will cover movies that center around hockey and boxing.
The movie Miracle is based on a true story and was released in 2004. It centers around the United States hockey team’s journey accomplishing the seemingly improbable as they defeat the USSR team. Kurt Russell is cast as Herb Brooks, the head coach of the American team, and the story centers around his determination and grit to never give up on his dreams, even if that means altering them.
Brooks was cut from the Olympic Team in 1960 but was given the opportunity of a lifetime to coach the United States team in 1979. Brooks recruited a team mostly comprised of college athletes and worked on getting them fit and in shape, then decided a key to winning against the Russians was to adapt to the European style of playing the game. There wasn’t much hope this team would defeat the USSR as a team of NHL All-Stars wasn’t able to defeat them, but Brooks would not let his team give up hope. Their hard work and unique training paid off when the American team defeated the Soviet Union team by not allowing them to score in the last 10 minutes of the game. The Americans went on to win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympic Games.
After the game against the Soviet Union, a broadcaster asked Brooks, “Do you believe in Miracles?” To this, Brooks answered, “Yes!”
The Mighty Ducks
When talking about hockey-themed movies, this Disney classic has to be included in the list. The Mighty Ducks is the story of Gordon Bombay, portrayed by Emilio Estevez, a hotshot lawyer who was busted for drunk driving. As a result of this, he was sentenced to community service which entailed coaching a local youth hockey team. Bombay, a former college hockey player himself who missed a game-winning shot in his college years, is haunted by that moment and isn’t happy about having to coach the team.
Throughout the movie, however, Bombay becomes close with his players and teaches them the fundamentals of the game and teamwork. He names the team the “Ducks” and in the end, the Ducks end up facing a team coached by Bombay’s old coach. The Ducks win in the finals becomes even more important. Bombay was forced to make decisions based on moral principles when in ordinary circumstances he wouldn’t have given the moral aspect any thought. He taught the boys and at the same time, they taught him, too.
The Mighty Ducks also had two sequels following the original classic.
Goon is a hockey movie that revolves around the main character, Doug, a local bouncer at a bar who learns to play hockey and use his violent tendencies to the benefit of his game. Doug doesn’t feel as if he fits in anywhere, not with the path his adoptive family wants him to take nor the self-motivation path that his best friend is taking, which is hosting a radio hockey show. While attending a game with his best friend, Doug got into an altercation in the stands and caught the attention of the hockey team’s coach. Doug learned the basic fundamentals of the sport and gained a spot on the team.
It wasn’t long after Doug started playing for the Orangetown Assains team that the coach decided he would be a greater asset to his brother’s team, the Halifax Highlanders. It would be Doug’s job to protect and guard another teammate who was seriously injured in the NHL and doesn’t have the confidence he once had. The movie follows Doug through his transformation and maturation in his newly-founded career and also examines the relationships with those closest to him in life.
One simply can not discuss sports movies and movies that center around boxing in particular without putting this classic 1978 movie on the list. Sylvester Stallone stars in the title role of Rocky Balboa, a debt collector by day but fighter at heart whose true dream is to become a professional boxer.
The movie follows Rocky’s journey from the streets of Philadelphia, his training with a veteran boxer in order to beat big-shot professional fighter Appollo Creed, and his love story with Adrian. Rocky is an inspirational story that shows hard work and persistence can pay off when following dreams, even if the odds are stacked against you.
The movie had four sequels in addition to the movies Rocky Balboa and Creed.
Creed, released in 2015, is both a spinoff and a sequel to the Rocky movies. The movie stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis “Donnie” Creed, the son of Rocky Balboa’s late friend and former rival, Apollo Creed. The movie is centered around Donnie’s yearning to become a professional boxer like his father and his relationship with Rocky Balboa, who Donnie sought out to help improve his skills.
Rocky reluctantly agreed to train Donnie and along the way not only did Donnie gain great skills and earn the respect of many people in the industry, but he became a source of inspiration for Rocky as well when he fell ill. The movie ends with a touching scene between Donnie and Rocky walking up the stairs in front of the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Creed also had a sequel called Creed II.
Million Dollar Baby
It was a difficult choice between Fight Club and Million Dollar Baby, but the latter had the edge because of the unique story of a woman boxer. Hilary Swank is cast as the female lead, Maggie Fitzgerald, and Clint Eastwood is the tough and gruff gym owner and boxing trainer, Frank Dunn.
Maggie comes from a very low-income family and neighborhood while working as a waitress and she looks for an escape from the reality of her life by boxing. She approaches Frank to ask him to train her, but he declines the offer because she is a girl. Maggie decides she’s going to join his gym and hopefully her abilities will change his mind and her plan worked.
Although the relationship started off rocky and Maggie definitely had to prove herself, the two of them developed a relationship that mimicked that of father and daughter. Maggie didn’t have a father growing up and Frank and his daughter are estranged, so the bond and the connection filled a void inside both of them. The movie explores their relationship, how much they ended up meaning to each other, and the lessons of life and life lost.
We’ve gone without live sports for over a month now and most fans are getting very antsy. Watching re-airings of games just isn’t giving everyone the fix they need. As we continue to face the sporting hiatus and quarantine situations, take some time and watch a few of the different sports movies we have highlighted in this three-part series.