I think it is fair to say that if you know me, or the (significantly cooler) version of myself that I put on the Internet, you’ll be able to tell that I’m not exactly the sporty type. I get a cold if I so much as look at a window, my spirit animal is most definitely a sloth, and the only marathon I’ll ever win is one that involves Netflix. So it comes as a surprise to me more than anyone that recently I have developed a strange love of sports films. The idea of watching football makes me want to rip my own skin off, but I’m sure if it was wrapped up in a predictable plot, with quirky one liners, and a loveable protagonist– I’d be all over it.
I’m pretty sure the first film that lead me down this dark and dangerous path of clichéd film plots was Disney’s Ice Princess. I am definitely one of those people who will wiki the entire filmography of an actor I like and make it my mission to watch everything they have ever been in. In this case it was Michelle Trachtenberg. But she was Georgina Sparks! She was Dawn Summers! It was a Disney film! I thought I had it pretty much justified. It was ridiculously predictable, but I grew attached to the character. I wanted her to prove her mother wrong, I wanted her to discover who she truly was, and when that mean lady tries to sabotage her performance– it was personal. But mainly I just wanted to watch her do pretty spins and wear glittery dresses.
Once I realised what it was that I liked: watching the underdog achieve their dream, whilst being able to vegetate for a few minutes when the training montages started, I was sold. And thus began the movement. The movement of living my life vicariously through sporting movies, exclaiming ‘I wish I could do that’, whilst lying in my bed and eating a whole packet of Oreos. By now I’d like to think I’m a bit of a sports film connoisseur, and that if there was an Olympics for watching this genre, I’d take home the gold medals. So this is my list of enjoyable sports themed movies by a person who still flails whenever a ball is thrown anywhere near her.
(Consider Ice Princess the number five slot).
4. Bring It On: In It To Win It: 3/5
Before you begin obsessively clicking backspace for my apparent terrible taste in movies, let me justify myself. Bring It On is a great movie! And I do not watch sports films to add them to my list of highly esteemed movies– they are supposed to be terrible. This isn’t even the worst of the Bring It On sequels (that title easily goes to Bring It On: Fight To The Finish). Again, I might have only originally watched this movie because it stars Ashley Benson and I have some strange obsession with Pretty Little Liars. But I’m glad I did, it includes everything I want in a trashy sports movie! An over-exaggerated plot, really ridiculous and kind of offensive character stereotypes, and people getting tossed in the air and doing amazing flips and loops and other things I couldn’t even dream of doing.
3. Stick It: 4/5
Since I already knew that I liked watching people contort their body à la Regan from The Exorcist, gymnastics seemed like the obvious next step for me. It’s got all the makings of a terrible movie, angst-filled teenage protagonist, witty and wise old man mentor, and an edgy double entendre for a title. It also has Jeff Bridges, who I loved in True Grit. It’s not really a stand out film in terms of plot, but it has some endearing moments and some great character development, and it’s less perfect-looking than the Bring It On films, which makes a welcomed change in the genre.
2. Bring It On: All or Nothing: 4/5
My controversial opinion of this film is that it is better than the original. It’s the third in the series and it stars the Cheerleader from Heroes (Hayden Panettiere) and Beyonce’s little sister (Solange Knowles). In true Bring It On fashion, it has some pretty questionable stereotypes, including everybody’s favourite head cheerleader and star quarterback romance. But it also has forbidden love, and girl power, and Rihanna! It’s a major cheese-fest and I love it. It’s definitely one of my go-to feeling bleeeeh movies. Even if it doesn’t have as memorable an opening cheer as the first movie does, it’ll forever be the winner in my heart.
1. Whip It: 5/5
Whip It isn’t related to Stick It in any way, the names and their places on this list are just coincidences. But even if they were related, the latter could never compare to Whip It. In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m definitely really invested into the casting of these movies, and like to imagine that they are still the same characters that I know and love. So if Whip It wasn’t amazing enough already, it’s made even better when I imagine that it stars the pedophile-stopping heroine from Hard Candy and Arrested Development‘s Maeby ‘Across From Where?’ Fünke (Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat). All of these other films that I’ve mentioned are great and everything, but they’ve never made me wanna actually go out and be a cheerleader or a gymnast… but Whip It seriously made me consider joining a roller derby team. And if you’ve ever looked at me before you’d know how hilarious that is and what a terrible idea it would be. My nine year old cousin can beat me up. The script is great, the protagonist is likeable, and unlike the other films on this list it sheds the lame/cheesey/predictable stuff within the first ten minutes. It’s the only one of these movies that I’d say is not just a good sports film, but a great film over all. FIVE STARS WOO.
A post on my blog about sport. Heh. Who would have thought it? Maybe we’ve had it all wrong and 2014 is the true apocalypse. It’s starting. They’re heeeeere.