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Interview: Dude Perfect’s Tyler Toney

posted by Nell Minow

Dude Perfect is the second largest sports channel on YouTube, with over 4.5 million subscribers and more than 556 million views.  They are a group of five best friends (plus a panda) from Texas who love sports, comedy and living […]

McFarland USA

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Movie Release Date:February 20, 2015
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language
Movie Release Date: February 20, 2015

In 1987, Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), who had never coached or even run cross country, took a team of kids from one of the poorest communities in California to a state championship. Of course that would have to become […]

Unbroken

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2015
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2015

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie breaks into the top ranks of American directors with “Unbroken,” showing an exceptional understanding not just of actors, but of tone, scale, and letting the camera tell the story. Working with the magnificent cinematography of Roger […]

Exclusive Clip: When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow

We are proud to be able to present this exclusive clip from the new DVD release “When the Game Stands Tall,” the extraordinary true story of the high school football team with the longest winning streak in the history of […]

Foxcatcher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date:November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date:March 2, 2015
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence
Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2015

John Eleuthère Du Pont was of the wealthiest men in the world. He was an ornithologist, a philatelist, a purchaser of military weapons (including a tank), a wrestling fan who set up a luxurious training facility for the US Olympic […]

23 Blast

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date:October 24, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some teen drinking
Movie Release Date: October 24, 2014

23 Blast is the name of a football play, and “23 Blast” is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed […]

When the Game Stands Tall — The Real Story

posted by Nell Minow

“When the Game Stands Tall” is based on the real-life story of the De La Salle High School Spartans football team, which had the longest winning streak of any team in any sport at any level 151 games in a […]

When the Game Stands Tall

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking
Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014

This dreary assemblage of every possible sports cliché has one thing in common with the game it portrays. Every time it seems to be going somewhere, it stops. More frustratingly, it wastes the opportunity to tell a good story by […]

Interview: Bo Svenson

posted by Nell Minow

Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was born in Sweden. His family emigrated to […]

Million Dollar Arm

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date:May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date:October 6, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and some suggestive content
Movie Release Date: May 16, 2014
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2014

The folks behind feel-good, based-on-a-true-sports-Cinderella-story, Disney movies “The Rookie” and “Miracle” are back with another.  This time it is the story of a real life Jerry Maguire sports agent named J.B. Bernstein (a terrific Jon Hamm) who has fallen on hard […]

The Real Story: Million Dollar Arm

posted by Nell Minow

It sounds like a movie.  No, it sounds like a fairy tale, but it really happened.  A sports agent named J.B. Bernstein found two cricket-playing Indian athletes named Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel by staging a reality television show and brought […]

Draft Day

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date:April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 2, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Movie Release Date: April 11, 2014
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2014

How do you choose? That is a critical and daunting question for anyone. And a defining one, too. How can we take what we know now and figure out what we will need in the future? In this film, set […]

Family Movies for the Olympics

posted by Nell Minow

The First Olympics: Athens 1896, one of my very favorite sports movies ever, is a made-for-TV miniseries about the first modern-day Olympics. We take the Olympics as a given now, but there were 1500 years between the time of the […]

This is Why I’m Rooting for the Seahawks

posted by Nell Minow

The first legally deaf NFL player surprises his two biggest fans.  P.S.  Did you know that the football huddle was invented by the deaf players at Gallaudet University so that the opposing team would not see their hand signals?

Exclusive Clips: The Gabby Douglas Story

posted by Nell Minow

Olympic champion Gabby Douglas plays herself in a new Lifetime movie called “The Gabby Douglas Story” premiering Friday, February 1 at 8 Eastern.  The superb cast includes Regina King, S. Epatha Merkerson, Imani Hakim, and Sydney Mikayla. A prodigy from a […]

P&G Thanks the Moms Who Raised the Kids Who Are Going to Sochi

posted by Nell Minow

1976: Hunt vs. Lauda

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2013
DVD Release Date:January 7, 2014
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2013
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014

Ron Howard’s “Rush” was the story of the Formula One rivalry between the reckless and handsome James Hunt from Great Britain and the cool, hyper-rational Niki Lauda from Austria. In the extraordinary season of 1976, Lauda was in a terrible […]

Trailer: Million Dollar Arm

posted by Nell Minow

A sports agent goes to India to recruit cricket players for major league baseball in “Million Dollar Arm,” starring Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi, and Alan Arkin.

Grudge Match

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date:December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date:April 8, 2014
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2014

Not that this is going to come as a surprise to anyone, but this movie is not just bad, it is sad.  The stars of two of the greatest boxing movies of all time are not just slumming here.  They […]

Trailer: The Need for Speed

posted by Nell Minow

DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” is a return to the great car culture films of the 1960’s and 70’s, when the authenticity of the world brought a new level of intensity to the action on-screen. Tapping into what makes the […]

Rush

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date:September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date:January 29, 2014
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
Movie Release Date: September 27, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2014

The immensely gifted screenwriter Peter Morgan reunites with his “Frost/Nixon” director Ron Howard and returns to his favorite theme, a real-life drama about the clash between two brilliantly talented but flawed figures. This time it is the bitter rivalry between […]

Interview: Maiken Baird and Michelle Major of “Venus and Serena”

posted by Nell Minow

“Venus and Serena” is an enthralling new documentary about two of the most acclaimed athletes of our time.  Their story is even more extraordinary because they are sisters.  Venus and Serena Williams have won world trophies and broken records since […]

42

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date:April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date:July 15, 2013
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language
Movie Release Date: April 12, 2013
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2013

Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league baseball. His number, 42, is worn by every player once a year to commemorate his achievements as a baseball player and as a man.  This version of the story […]

Beliefnet’s Movie of the Month: Field of Dreams

posted by Nell Minow

Be sure to check out my essay on our latest Movie of the Month, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster, and based on Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

Happy Opening Day! Visit The National Pastime Virtual Museum

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the baseball season’s opening day, visit the brand-new virtual museum of baseball history, The National Pastime.  It is an astonishing treasure trove, based on a collection of over 25,000 items, including equipment, contracts, photos, and artifacts.  Gaze […]

Smile of the Week: Go El Paso Thunderbirds!

posted by Nell Minow

This is a coach — and a team — who understand the score.  Many thanks to my friend Ann Horak for sharing this touching story.

Contest: Rowing Movie “Backwards” with James Van Der Beek

posted by Nell Minow

I’m thrilled to be able to give away a DVD of the new film, “Backwards, ” now available on iTunes, DirectTV, Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It’s the story of Abi Books [Sarah Megan Thomas], a fiercely competitive rower […]

Are You Ready for some Football? Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

posted by Nell Minow

Get ready with one of my favorite football movies: Or this one: Or this one: (Did you catch Ryan Gosling and Hayden Panitierre?) There’s more Ryan Gosling in this little-seen football movie gem: Or you could try this one, featuring […]

Contest: Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow

I’m delighted to have a copy of the brand-new DVD/Blu-Ray release, Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake.   Eastwood plays an old-school baseball scout, the opposite of the “Moneyball” guys with their computer models. […]

Here Comes the Boom

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor, and action
Movie Release Date:October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date:February 5, 2013
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for bouts of MMA sports violence, some rude humor, and action
Movie Release Date: October 12, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 5, 2013

Kevin James is so gosh-darned likable that he can make up for a lot of sub-par material, but not even he can make this tiresome effort work.  James co-wrote the story, an attempted feel-good saga of a lost-mojo high school […]

Trouble With the Curve

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date:September 21, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking
Movie Release Date: September 21, 2012

“Trouble with the Curve” pitches softballs to power hitters.  It has major league players and a bush league script. Clint Eastwood plays — surprise! — a grumpy old guy, a role he is too comfortable in, on and off screen. […]

Touchback

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date:April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:September 3, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements
Movie Release Date: April 13, 2012
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2012

Haven’t we all wished for a chance to live that one moment over again? Scott (Brian Presley, who also produced) has that opportunity in “Touchback,” the story of a man who wants to go back to his days as a […]

Thunderstruck

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date:August 24, 2012
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild language and rude humor
Movie Release Date: August 24, 2012

This “Freaky Friday” with basketball keeps throwing airballs. It’s the story of Brian (Taylor Gray) a sixteen-year-old kid who wishes he could have the skills of Olympic gold medalist and NBA star Kevin Durant playing himself, not very convincingly but […]

An Olympics Moment: Jesse Owens 1936

posted by Nell Minow

As we prepare for the memorable moments of the 2012 Olympics, let’s take another look at this one, when a black American competed in Hitler’s Berlin and, as the world watched, he put the lie to Hitler’s claims about Aryan […]

Interview: Jade Pettyjon of the New American Girls Movie: McKenna Shoots for the Stars

posted by Nell Minow

I absolutely loved the new American Girls movie, McKenna: Shoots For The Stars.  Based on the stories about the American Girl of the Year doll for 2012, a young gymnast. So it was a treat to get to interview the […]

For the London Olympics: A Movie Quiz

posted by Nell Minow

The Olympics have inspired a lot of great (and not-so-great) movies, both fact-based and fictional. Which ones can you identify? 1. A warm-weather country competed in a cold-weather sport in which fact-based Disney film? 2. Which Oscar-winning movie was the […]

Watch “The Jackie Robinson Story” on the Anniversary of His First Major League Game

posted by Nell Minow

Today Major League Baseball celebrates the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game as a Brooklyn Dodger.  Continuing a tradition begun in 2007, all uniformed personnel in the league wear Robinson’s number 42.  Branch Rickey (soon to be played by […]

Undefeated

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date:March 2, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language
Movie Release Date: March 2, 2012

Bill Courtney, a successful white businessman, coaches an underdog football team at an inner city high school in an Oscar-winning documentary that quickly transcends the risks of sports cliché and racially treacherous noblesse oblige.  Like the wonderful “The Heart of […]

A Mile in His Shoes

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:2011
DVD Release Date:January 18, 2012
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: 2011
DVD Release Date: January 18, 2012

“Do not just a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes,” we are told, and that is the message of this understated film about a gifted pitcher who is on the autism spectrum and the minor league […]

The Mighty Macs

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:October 21, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: October 21, 2011

Basketball coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino) arrived at tiny Immaculata College in 1972, at just the right moment for her, for the team, and for the game. Restrictive rules that had “protected” female players from a full-court game had just […]

Interview: Coach Cathy Rush of ‘The Mighty Macs’

posted by Nell Minow

Coach Cathy Rush arrived at tiny Immaculata College at a moment when there were big changes in women’s basketball.  The rules were changed to allow women for the first time to play the all-out game by the same rules as […]

Real Steel

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date:October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 24, 2012
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
Movie Release Date: October 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012

The robot has the heart and the human has to learn to feel again in this unabashedly cheesy but irresistible fairy tale about a father, a son, and robots who bash the heck out of each other in a boxing […]

Moneyball

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date:September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 9, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Movie Release Date: September 23, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 9, 2012

Brad Pitt is underrated as an actor.  But he is the best there is when it comes to calibrating the deployment of his onscreen star power, which he uses as expertly as Meryl Streep does accents.  Pitt can dial it […]

Warrior

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date:September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date:December 20, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense martial arts fighting, some language, and thematic material
Movie Release Date: September 9, 2011
DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Imagine if Rocky, instead of fighting Apollo Creed, got into the ring with another Rocky.  And they were brothers. I know, I know, but somehow it works in a surprisingly affecting story of the sons of an abusive alcoholic who […]

Family Movie Night: ‘Game Time — Tackling the Past’

posted by Nell Minow

The latest Family Movie Night, sponsored by Wal-Mart and P&G, is “Game Time: Tackling the Past,” about a pro football player named Jake (“Chuck’s” Ryan McPartlin) who has been estranged from his family.  He reluctantly returns home for the first […]

Seven Days in Utopia

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date:November 29. 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: September 2, 2011
DVD Release Date: November 29. 2011

Sports psychologist David L. Cook wrote a book called Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey about a young golfer who runs away after a meltdown at a big tournament, gets stuck in a small town, and meets a mentor who […]

Interview: David L. Cook of Seven Days in Utopia

posted by Nell Minow

Sometimes real life feels like a metaphor.  Sometimes it feels like a parable.  David L. Cook is the author of Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey.  He told me his story about his own time in the real-life town […]

Win Win

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language
Movie Release Date:March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 22, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language
Movie Release Date: March 25, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 22, 2011

Writer-director Tom McCarthy gives us stories of the families we choose.  In “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor” the main characters were loners who found themselves unexpectedly drawn into caring for people who were very far outside their usual circles. […]

Soul Surfer

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material
Movie Release Date:April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 2, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material
Movie Release Date: April 8, 2011
DVD Release Date: August 2, 2011

Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) tells us that as a child she spent more time wet than dry. She is the daughter of competitive surfers, home-schooled so that nothing would interfere with her training or her opportunity to go out into […]

Secretariat

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date:October 8, 2010
DVD Release Date:January 25, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language
Movie Release Date: October 8, 2010
DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011

This is the story of two champions. One is the most celebrated horse of the 20th century, the only non-human athlete to be included on Sport’s Illustrated’s 1999 list of the top 100 athletes of the last hundred years for […]

Legendary

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, brief partial nudity and some fighting scenes
Movie Release Date:September 10, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, brief partial nudity and some fighting scenes
Movie Release Date: September 10, 2010

A skinny teenager wants to wrestle in this unpretentious film with a predictable storyline (it even gives away the ending in the first minute) but benefits from some sharp dialog and the always watchable Patricia Clarkson. Cal Chetley (Devon Graye) […]

Celebrate the World Cup with Soccer Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Is this the year the US finally gets it about soccer, I mean football? The biggest sporting event on the planet is the World Cup, taking place this year in South Africa. Now is a great time to recognize the […]

Invictus

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date:December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date:May 11, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Movie Release Date: December 11, 2009
DVD Release Date: May 11, 2010

Clint Eastwood tells the story of South Africa’s triumph in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first World Cup after the end of apartheid. The title, “Invictus” comes from the inspiring poem that Nelson Mandela shared with the team’s captain, […]

The Perfect Game

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements
Movie Release Date:April 16, 2010
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements
Movie Release Date: April 16, 2010

Think of it as the “Good News Bears.” This sweet, sometimes sugary film is based on a real-life Little League team from Monterrey, Mexico who came to the United States to play in the Little League World Series of 1957 […]

Five Movies about College Basketball

posted by Nell Minow

Now that most people’s NCAA brackets are blown up and they’re getting ready to enjoy the final game, it might be a good time to take another look at some fictional college basketball teams in the movies. 1. The Absent […]

The Blind Side

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
Movie Release Date:November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date:March 23, 2010
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references
Movie Release Date: November 20, 2009
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010

“The Blind Side” is a movie about football that had its own broken field running challenge. It is the true story of Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher, a homeless black kid adopted by a wealthy white family. So, it […]

Blood, Sweat, and Cookies — Olympic Women’s Hockey

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Bob Elisberg recommends a great documentary about the women’s Olympic hockey team — and the great thing is that you can watch it online. Bob wrote in the Huffington Post: it’s the comradeship of the women, pushing, encouraging […]

List: Winter Sports

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of the Olympics, take a look at these classics about winter sports competitions: The Cutting Edge A spoiled figure skater (named Kate as in “Taming of the Shrew”) and a working class hockey player team up in this […]

The First Olympics

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:July 21, 2012
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2012

As we prepare for the London games, I highly recommend: The First Olympics: Athens 1896, one of my very favorite sports movies ever, is a made-for-TV miniseries about the first modern-day Olympics. We take the Olympics as a given now, […]

Whip It

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content including crude dialogue, language and drug material.
Movie Release Date:October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date:January 26, 2010
B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including crude dialogue, language and drug material.
Movie Release Date: October 2, 2009
DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010

Drew Barrymore has devoted more time than most people to growing up and has done it more publicly than most people, too. At age 34, she has been acting for nearly three decades. Here she makes her directing debut with […]

Ice Princess

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Movie Release Date:2005
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Movie Release Date: 2005

Getting ready for the Winter Olympics? Here’s a good place to start. When I tell you that this is the story of a brainy but shy girl who dreams of being a champion figure skater and that she meets up […]

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1998
DVD Release Date:1998
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1998
DVD Release Date: 1998

In honor of the World Series, take a look at this documentary about baseball star Hank Greenberg. Brilliant documentary-maker Aviva Kempner has created a gem of a movie to lift the spirit of anyone who cares about baseball — or […]

List: Great Movie Coaches

posted by Nell Minow

The athletes have worked harder than they ever imagined, pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance. They’ve learned how to run faster and hit, kick, or shoot harder. They’ve watched tape of the other team, the champions, the ones […]

X Games 3D: The Movie

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for extreme sports action and accidents
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for extreme sports action and accidents
Movie Release Date: August 21, 2009

Kids, don’t try this at home. 3D is X-treme film-making and thus well suited to the X Games, hyper-intense, hyper-dangerous, hyper-what are they thinking? sports that are closer to stunts. Young men compete on skateboard, snowboard, and on dirt bikes […]

The Rookie

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:2002
DVD Release Date:2002
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date: 2002
DVD Release Date: 2002

If this hadn’t really happened, Disney would have had to make it up. But a high school science teacher did tell the baseball team he coached that if they won the division title he would try out for the major […]

Fighting

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense fight sequences, some sexuality and brief strong language
Movie Release Date:April 27, 2009
D
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense fight sequences, some sexuality and brief strong language
Movie Release Date: April 27, 2009

Terrence Howard’s performance in “Fighting” is so bizarrely strange and awful that it occurred to me he might be hoping we didn’t realize it was him. Howard plays Harvey, a street hustler who discovers Shawn, a gifted young boxer (Channing […]

The Express

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic content, violence and language involving racism, and for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date:October 10, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 20, 2009
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic content, violence and language involving racism, and for brief sensuality.
Movie Release Date: October 10, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 20, 2009

When a real-life story combines athletic excellence and civil rights breakthroughs, it has more than enough heart and drama to be good movie material. Ernie Davis was a combination of heart and pure talent who came along at just the […]

Morning Light

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some language
Movie Release Date:October 17, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some language
Movie Release Date: October 17, 2008

This sunny documentary about a sailboat race across the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a throwback to the days when a night at the movies included some cartoons, a newsreel, and a travelogue. It has a lot of postcard-pretty […]

The Longshots

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild language and brief rude humor.
Movie Release Date:August 23, 2008
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some thematic elements, mild language and brief rude humor.
Movie Release Date: August 23, 2008

A little bit of grittiness keeps this fact-based story of a girl who plays football from getting too sugary. The talented Keke Palmer of Akeelah and the Bee gives a beautifully understated, witty, and sincere performance as Jasmine, the first […]

Boxboarders!

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, crude and sexual content, some teen partying and reckless behavior.
Movie Release Date:NA
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, crude and sexual content, some teen partying and reckless behavior.
Movie Release Date: NA
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008

The writer of the delightful Clockstoppers has written and directed an unpretentious little comedy about a crazy “sport” — racing boxes on wheels. It makes the most of its low budget with an easy-going good humor in this goofy but […]

Contest: The First Olympics

posted by Nell Minow

I am thrilled to have FIVE copies of this week’s DVD pick of the week, The First Olympics, one of my all-time favorites. This two-part television miniseries an outstanding family film about the first modern-day Olympics in 1896, exciting, touching, […]

Lists: Great Sports Documentaries

posted by Nell Minow

10. The Heart of the Game A dedicated girls’ basketball coach and a talented player with some daunting challenges make this an unforgettable story. 9. 16 Days of Glory Bud Greenspan’s documentary series about the Olympics give you a front-row […]

Semi-Pro

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date:February 29, 2008
DVD Release Date:June 3, 2008
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content
Movie Release Date: February 29, 2008
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008

“Semi-Pro” is not even semi-funny. It takes what looks like an unmissable slam dunk of a premise and turns it into a big, noisy airball of a movie without a single truly funny moment. Will Ferrell in the 1970’s — […]

List: Gilmore’s Best Baseball Films

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Hoppy Gillmore of Fargo’s Froggy 99.9 has posted his list of the all-time best baseball movies, one for each inning. Here’s his list, with some comments from me in italics. 9. The Bad News Bears Anyone who played […]

Leatherheads

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Movie Release Date:April 4, 2008
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Movie Release Date: April 4, 2008

Like the 1925 ragtag professional football team it follows, this movie has more high spirits than ability to deliver. George Clooney directs and stars in this affectionate tribute to 1920’s “professional” football and 1930’s movie comedies, but it it captures […]

The Game Plan

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:September 28, 2007
DVD Release Date:January 22, 2008
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: September 28, 2007
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2008

There is undeniable little girl appeal in this story of a big, selfish meanie of a quarterback who is tamed by the 8-year-old daughter he never knew he had. Some audiences will find it as sugary as a fruit-scented princess […]

Rudy

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1993
DVD Release Date:1994
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1993
DVD Release Date: 1994

In this true story of determination and courage, a young man from a blue collar family wants to play football for Notre Dame, despite the fact he has neither the athletic nor the academic skills. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) […]

We Are Marshall

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for emotional thematic material, a crash scene, and mild language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for emotional thematic material, a crash scene, and mild language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

At least in movies, sports are almost always about redemption, community, and triumph. Sports — like movies — provide a controlled world with boundaries within which we can work through issues that seem insurmountably complex outside the chalk lines on […]

Gridiron Gang

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The biggest shock in this film comes at the very end. It is not a spoiler to say that there’s the usual “here’s what happened to the characters” round-up. The shocker is the reminder that the murderers and drug dealers […]

Everyone’s Hero

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

The indomitable spirit of Christopher Reeve shines through this little story of a boy who will not give up his quest to retrieve the baseball bat belonging to the greatest player ever, Babe Ruth. Ten-year-old Yankee Irving (that’s his name) […]

Crossover

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

This is one air ball of a movie, a talented cast and an appealing idea stranded by a clunky script. It shoots. And it shoots and shoots and shoots, but it never scores. Tech (Anthony Mackie) works in the mall, […]

Invincible

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sports action and some mild language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sports action and some mild language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

In this movie, a father tells his son that one great touchdown by Steve Van Buren of the Philadelphia Eagles got him through 30 years of factory work. We often identify so completely with the teams and athletes we love […]

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

When we’ve seen Will Ferrell run around naked, how much fun is it to see him run around in his underpants? The disappointment of this movie is not that we don’t see enough of Will Ferrell. It’s disappointing because what […]

Peaceful Warrior

posted by jmiller
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sensuality, sex references and accident scenes.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sensuality, sex references and accident scenes.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Cars

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated G
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Look closely at the little flying bugs buzzing and bumping in the hot light of the desert. They are, of course, Bugs: VW Bugs with wings. In the world of this story, all of the characters are cars and all […]

Goal!

posted by jmiller

A soccer-mad friend sat beside me in the theater, leaning over from time to time to explain what was going on in the game on the screen or point out an in-joke about the appearance of a real-life figure from […]

Stick It

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some crude remarks
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:July 29, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some crude remarks
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: July 29, 2012

If the Olympics has sparked an interest in gymnastics, take a look at this fresh, fun, funny, and smart story about a teenager “sentenced” to return to the gymnastics training she thought she had left behind.  It has all the […]

The Benchwarmers

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, and for language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, and for language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Booger jokes. Potty jokes. Hit on the head jokes. Hit on the crotch jokes. And underdog characters so annoying that they have you rooting for the bullies. These guys should have stayed on the bench. On behalf of everyone who […]

Annapolis

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content and language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

Sincere performances and some star charisma can’t save this movie from its derivative screenplay, a retread of every “callow youth learns what it means to be a man” service drama. This movie samples An Officer and a Gentleman and Top […]

Glory Road

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for racial issues including violence and epithets, and momentary language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for racial issues including violence and epithets, and momentary language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2006

A man who coaches high school girls’ basketball gets a job at a small Texas school and not only takes them to the nationals, where they defeat the long-time champions in a stunning upset, he changes the course of college […]

The Ringer

posted by jmiller
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug references.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug references.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

The single most interesting aspect of this movie about a man who pretends to be disabled so that he can compete in the Special Olympics is that the movie was made in cooperation with and with the endorsement of the […]

First Descent

posted by jmiller
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference.
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2006
B
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference.
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2006

When the helicopter takes you to the snowy peaks at the end of the paved road, where “backcountry” describes a style and a philosophy as oppose to a location, you know you are about to see something beautiful. As if […]

Rocky

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1976
DVD Release Date:1977
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1976
DVD Release Date: 1977

Plot: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a sweet-natured but not very bright boxer and small-time enforcer for a loan-shark. He has a crush on Adrian (Talia Shire), the painfully shy sister of his friend, Pauly (Burt Young). Apollo Creed (Carl […]

Love and Basketball

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexuality and language
Movie Release Date:2000
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexuality and language
Movie Release Date: 2000

About eighty percent love and twenty percent basketball, this is a romance about two basketball-loving kids who go one-on-one in both games for almost twenty years before they get it right. The movie is divided into quarters, like a basketball […]

Chariots of Fire

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for adult situations and language
Movie Release Date:1981
DVD Release Date:July 9, 2012
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for adult situations and language
Movie Release Date: 1981
DVD Release Date: July 9, 2012

In honor of the 2012 Olympics in London, this 1981 classic and winner of the Oscar for Best Picture has been reissued. This is the true story of two athletes who raced in the 1924 Olympics, one a privileged Jewish […]

Price of Glory

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:2000
D
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date: 2000

In the 1940’s, this movie would have starred John Garfield and been on the lower half of a double feature. In 2000, it stars Jimmy Smits as the father who pushes his three boys to be championship boxers, because his […]

Mystery, Alaska

posted by rkumar
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and sexuality
Movie Release Date:1999
DVD Release Date:1999
B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and sexuality
Movie Release Date: 1999
DVD Release Date: 1999

The coming attraction makes it clear that “Mystery, Alaska” is your basic “Rocky” movie about a grown-up version of the Mighty Ducks — a team from a small, hockey-worshipping Alaska town gets a chance to play the New York Rangers. […]

Jackie Robinson Story

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1950
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date: 1950

For Black History Month, take a look at this neglected gem about the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues. The primary appeal of this movie is that Robinson plays himself (with Ruby Dee as his wife). […]

The Waterboy

posted by rkumar
F
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Movie Release Date:1998
F
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Movie Release Date: 1998

If you’ve seen the coming attraction and you still want to see this movie, then you are probably between the ages of 12 and 16 and will probably recognize all of the “played by themselves” sports stars who make cameos. […]

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