The Longest Yard (1974)
If you've only ever seen the horrible 2005 remake of this film, see this 40-year-old classic. One of a string of anti-authoritarian films from a 1970s Hollywood willing to re-examine America, it's smart, funny, and gripping, with fantastic performances from Burt Reynolds, Michael Conrad, and even native Detroiter Richard Kiel. Watch it if only for one more reason to hate today's Hollywood for ass-fucking classics like this with shitty remakes.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Jerry Maguire had people shouting, "Show me the money!" and affectionately picking each other up in bars with "You had me at hello" for nearly a decade. Catchphrases aside, this tale of a disgruntled sports agent who broke the rules, fell hard, and went out on his own, is a classic. Co-starring Renée Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr., and inspired by a true story, the flick offers a view off the field and into the business world of professional football.
Remember the Titans (2000)
This feel-good Disney flick tells the true story of a black football coach who gets assigned to a newly integrated school in southern Virginia. Of course, tensions run high at first, but thanks to some inspirational pep talks, lots of team-building, and a few sing-alongs, the players soon become the best of friends. Spot the young faces of Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, and Kate Bosworth in the cast alongside Denzel Washington.
The Replacements (2000)
Man, Keanu Reeves has some bangers. Between The Matrix, My Own Private Idaho, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the dude has some flicks to take pride in. Reeves strapped on a football helmet to play former Ohio State University quarterback Shane Falco in this rollercoaster ride of rom-com fun. Reeves goes up, he goes down, and he finishes strong.
Little Giants (1994)
There's a whole genre of dumb kids sports movies like this: A referee, consulting a rulebook, declares "There ain't no rule that says a [blank] can't play football!" Then a dog, gorilla, dolphin, or a girl is able to lead a team of losers to victory. This one pits Rick Moranis against Ed O'Neill as rival brothers coaching pee-wee football, and the secret weapon is Moranis' character's daughter, a tomboy who's also the best football player in town. It might make a funny "spot the cliché" drinking game, or if you saw this as a kid when it came out, try watching it stoned. Inexplicably, this screenplay is attributed to four writers. — mt