Cinematic Sports Diversions

At this critical moment in the semester, with finals and term papers peeking out from around the corner, I have found myself utterly without academic ambition and looking to procrastinate. Naturally, this past week, as I always do when filled with such indolence, I found myself eye-deep in a stack of my favorite DVDs and consciously avoiding that pesky little gnat, CHEM 101. This in turn led me to the question that constantly echoes in the living rooms of bored teenagers: What to watch? In order to help you all with this timeless query, I have painstakingly constructed an all-star lineup of some of my favorite sports movies of all time, each one suited to a different mood and ideal for procrastination.

1: Remember the Titans. When your workload has left you with no faith in humanity, turn to this remarkable film. About far more than sports, Remember the Titans will make you laugh embarrassingly loudly, cheer (also at an embarrassing volume) and sob uncontrollably. It represents everything that a truly great about sports and even movies themselves. It is inspirational and tender, with captivating characters who, in the face of a great conflict, find solidarity and empowerment through sports. If you have never seen it (or, like me can recite the entire movie), drop that paper and enjoy this rich and impassioning film.

However, should you find that you simply cannot watch this movie again, having seen it recently, go for Invictus. While Matt Damon’s presence is justification enough to watch this movie, the remarkable story and superb acting provide other, equally valid reasons. Ideal as a break between cram sessions, this film will have you trying out for the rugby team next fall (and inspire you to go to/watch the World Cup in South Africa).

2 and 2A: 61* and A League of Their Own. To the burnt-out history student, baseball fan, or really anyone else, I recommend these two. Not only are they both brilliantly acted and extraordinarily funny (Tom Hanks is phenomenal as Jimmy Dugan in the latter film), but they bring a tangible sense of history to the screen. With impeccable attention to detail, these two films are both wonderful tributes to the players who lived their stories.

3: Miracle. This is an outrageously good movie to the extent that I can’t even describe it to you. It will make you both regret not paying more attention to the recent Olympics in Vancouver and fill you with an insatiable desire to grab a whistle and hit the ice. I recommend watching it just before tackling a particularly tough exam. With the national anthem and the gruff barks of Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks echoing in your head, you’re sure to ace any exam…or at least feel really patriotic while failing it.

4: She’s the Man. Sometimes everyone just needs to laugh. At such a time, I pull out this movie and get lost in its absurdities. Also, it doubles as a study guide for Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, from which it draws its inspiration. Just be sure to not take it too literally. If, for whatever reason, this isn’t your cup of tea, I also recommend Bring It On, Varsity Blues, The Bad News Bears, Stick It and Fired Up for a little comedic therapy.

5: Air Bud. Are you at that point where even watching a movie is almost too taxing for your school-wearied brain? Here’s your cure: watch the first (and only the first!) Air Bud movie. It’s a classic, it’s adorable and there are really cute puppies involved. Continuing on the theme of animal-related sports, I further advise hunting down a copy of National Velvet, another fantastic movie. In this film, Elizabeth Taylor is in fine form playing spunky, horse-obsessed Velvet Brown whose adventures will certainly convince you to forgo editing your Bio Lab and break out the popcorn.

6: Wimbledon. Given that no one looks their best in the middle of finals crunch, it’s nice to watch romance unfold from a safe distance. In this lovely movie, the ever-charming Paul Bettany puts in a stellar, adorably British, performance. Additionally, the almost palpable chemistry between he and Kirsten Dunst is (clearly) an acceptable substitute to actually

studying chemistry.

So there you go, six reasons to stop doing work, no matter your mental state, throw some popcorn in the microwave and go

watch a movie.