Category Archives: Holidays

Monday Night Football Movies

It’s fall and football is back in all its (recent off-the-field-stuff aside) glory. We’ve already looked at the greatest baseball movies earlier this summer, and now it’s time for us to turn our attention to the best football movies ever made. At first blush, it might be hard to recall that many great football movies but the more I thought about it, the harder picking a top 3 became. But, here it goes:

Morgan:
3. The Waterboy (1998)
Because every list needs a class clown aka Adam Sandler movie. And because this little guy is usually almost always in my head: “Water sucks. It really, really sucks.”

2. Friday Night Lights – TV series (2006-2011)
I know, I know, it’s not a movie but I’m including it because I can. And to be completely honest, I haven’t seen that many football movies. It’s just great. FNL can make you laugh and cry in a single episode. Plus, it’s football set in Texas, which is a recipe for trouble, greatness, and, of course, southern accents. It’s also (sort of) how the blog got it’s name. If you haven’t watched it, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
This particular movie deserves this spot for many reasons. Not only is it simply an inspiring story of triumph in sports, but also in racial equality. It’s a truly emotional, heartwarming story. Also, baby Gosling is in it (swoon). So there’s that.

Jordan:
3. Little Giants (1994)
The early 90s were the height of sports movies for kids – The Mighty Ducks in ’92, The Sandlot in ’93. Then finally in 1994, we get our own football movie. Becky isn’t allowed to join her uncle’s football team because she’s a girl. So she gets her dad (90s icon Rick Moranis) to coach their new ragtag team. Classic.
Bonus: Buzzfeed’s Where Are They Now?

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Okay, okay, this may be bending the rules. But I would argue that football plays a major role in this Silver Linings Playbook’s plot. Robert DeNiro is a huge Eagles fan, extremely superstitious and cannot turn down a bet. His gambling problem gets so bad that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (both amazing in this film!) have to make a bet with the bookie about their dance competition. Really fantastic movie.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Do I really need to explain this? So many amazing actors. Too many lines to quote all of them. (Left side! Strong side!) Historical sports films will always be my number one.

Kurtis:
3. The Replacements (2000)
Based on the 1987 NFL strike, The Replacements follows the Washington Sentinels team of scab players that cross the picket lines to play the greatest sport in America. This replacement team is made up of misfit characters; a convenience store security guard, two rappers, a sumo wrestler, and a deaf player. Basically the team is a complete joke (which is what helps make this movie so funny) and is led by former Ohio State QB Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), the only one with true experience, and coached by Gene Hackman. The team learns how to play together and by the end of the movie become a legitimate team with a chance to win. It’s a little cliched, but it is funny and has some heart. Definitely a movie that has repeat watching value and survives as a great sports comedy.

2. Rudy (1993)
Sean Astin plays the title role in this incredible telling of the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, an undersized football player who always dreamed of playing for Notre Dame. Told his whole life that it would never happen, Rudy is determined to make his dream a reality. He didn’t have the grades, the skills, or the money to attend Notre Dame but gets into a nearby private college and gets his grades up JUST enough to move to Notre Dame as a transfer student. No where near making the team, Rudy starts working as an assistant groundkeeper to pay tuition. Everything is stacked up against him, but Rudy is too full of determination to let anything stand is his way. Rudy is full of sentimentality, yes, but stands as a testament to the power of the human spirit. One of the most inspirational films ever made.

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
Overcoming racism, football, Marvin Gaye songs, and Ryan Gosling; is there anything else you need in a sports movie with a powerful message. Remember the Titans follows newly-hired head coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) navigating a newly integrated political landscape, all while trying to coach a team of high school students with some preconceived racial notions about one another. The team, the coaches, and the city learn how to live as one and celebrate all of life’s victories with one another. Where this movie really shines is that it doesn’t make all the white players and coaches to be evil and the African-American players and coaches to be the noble saints. Instead, it focuses on both sides of a newly integrated school simply learning to be better, more compassionate people and drop all of their prejudices by the wayside. The performances, across the board, are truly inspirational and when it’s not Denzel wowing the audience in his usual way, it’s the students (Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Ethan Suplee). Remember the Titans is one of the greatest movies ever made and easily finds itself right at the top of the list of the best football ones too. It’ll be easy for you to catch as it’s probably playing on TNT right now.

What’s your favorite football movie? Comment below! #gopackgo

My Fellow Ameriblogs

Happy 238th birthday to the best country in the world! You don’t look a day over 200! ūüėČ
To celebrate, we’re picking three movies each that we think define ‘MERICA and all her beauty.

Morgan: 
3. The Patriot (2000):
The title really says it all. Mel Gibson (pre-insanity) plays Benjamin Martin, a widower during the Revolutionary War. After the death of one of his sons, he fights and defeats America’s archenemy at that time. His son, played by Heath Ledger (swoon and RIP), is determined to fight for the Continental Army and defend his family and his country. One of the last scenes begins with Martin riding forwards carrying an American flag before going into battle. It doesn’t get more American than that.

2. The Sandlot (1993):
There is not a single 90s kid in America who did not see this movie at least twenty times throughout their childhood. It’s everything American you could ever need: Converse shoes, fireworks, amusement parks, swimming and of course, baseball.

1. Lincoln (2012):
First of all, Lincoln is played by one of the most iconic American actors of all time. If you don’t love Daniel Day-Lewis, you might not be American. Second of all, it’s two hours all about one of the most influential presidents in history and his greatest accomplishment as such. I know I said it couldn’t get more American than the flag thing in The Patriot, but this is the one thing that tops that.

Kurtis: 
3. D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994):
America vs Iceland in the Goodwill Games. Nothing is more American than Kenan Thompson shooting the knuckle puck.

2. National Treasure (2004):
Conspiracy. Espionage. Nic Cage. And stealing the Declaration of Independence. What more could you ask for?

1. Remember the Titans (2000):
So all of my movies ended up being Disney movies, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Remember the Titans is all about what makes this country great; perseverance in the face if great obstacles, bonds between men from vastly different backgrounds, and football. God bless America.

Jordan: 
3. Clueless (1995):
America invented the teen high school comedy. Yeah, I know, Clueless was originally based on Emma by Jane Austen, but loose adaptations are also America’s thing (10 Things I Hate About You, Fever Pitch, etc.) Iconic movie.

2. Argo (2012):
After years of conflict between Iran and the US, the US embassy in Tehran is invaded by angry nationals. Only a few employees are able to escape, and six of them find refuge in a Canadian ambassador’s house. Enter Ben Affleck with a sweet 70s beard with an elaborate plot to smuggle those six out of the country. I love that it shows both the American and Iranian perspectives in this crisis. (Even winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards was seen as promoting the American agenda.)

1. Forrest Gump (1994):
ICONIC. This movie is culturally significant. It spans so many different important moments¬†in American history, including the Vietnam War, the AIDS crisis, counter culture, and ping-pong diplomacy. We even got a restaurant chain out of it. Can’t get any more American than that.

What do you think?
What movies encapsulate everything awesome about our favorite country?

If you build it, he will blog.

Baseball. America’s Pastime. There’s something about the sport that lends itself to great stories. Perhaps it’s the great, deep history of the game or maybe that it’s often a child’s first love that stays with them into adulthood or possibly it’s just coincidence. The one thing that’s undeniable is that there are a ton of great baseball movies. Seeing as it’s summer, a few months into the season, and the release of Million Dollar Arm, we thought it would be fun to rank some of our favorite baseball movies ever made. Once you’re done reading, let us know how we did!

Kurtis:
3. The Sandlot (1993)
The Sandlot is the ultimate childhood baseball movie. It’s about the adventure of boys growing up; true camaraderie and the love of the baseball. While the critics may have largely disliked the film, I think they miss part of the point, it’s a movie that let’s kids simply be kids and makes everyone that watches it want to grab a ball and mitt and head to the neighborhood park for a pickup game. Plus, is there any movie more quotable than this one, that’s gotta count for something.

2. A League Of Their Own (1992)
Most of the lists around the web focusing in baseball movies don’t usually list this one anywhere near the top 5, but for all of its sentimentality, A League Of Their Own stands alone as one of the few great movies to center around female athletes, and there’s a lot to be said for that. The performances throughout this film are incredibly solid, and the writing is both funny and emotional. League is definitely a classic, a fantastic baseball story of female baseball players bringing hope and joy during a dark point in our nation’s history, WWII.

1. The Natural (1984)
Robert Redford and Robert Duvall star in the quintessential sports movie. It has everything you want in a sports film without being too cheesy. The unknown player comes out of nowhere in his 30s and in the face of opposition becomes the greatest hitter in the game. And everyone loves an underdog! The Natural is the perfect ode to America’s past time, full of heart wrenching pain and triumphant joy.

Honorable Mention –¬†Eight Men Out (1988)
This all-star cast (John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen and others) explores the dark side of sports. While it doesn’t feature the feel-good story line as many of our favorite baseball movies, the performances here are just too irresistible. It’s actually kind of refreshing to see a sports movie that acknowledges that it’s not all fun and games.

BONUS: Alright, I’m sorry to write a ranking of baseball movies and not feature Bull Durham. It would be number 5 on my list, which may seem like blasphemy to some. Bull Durham is great, and one of the greatest sports films ever, but not in my top 3, I just felt wrong not mentioning it.

Jordan:
3. Fever Pitch (2005)
I know I’ve already written about this for Valentine’s Day, but it’s such a sweet movie. I’ll just leave you with this quote on the importance of baseball:
“…the Red Sox never let you down. …they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here… Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

2. Major League (1989)
I’ve seen this movie too many times to count. The Cleveland Indians are the worst team in the league and they will try anything, so that ownership won’t move the franchise to Miami. They find the craziest ragtag group of players and hilarity ensues. Plus, any baseball movie with is better with Bob Uecker.

1. A League of Their Own (1992)
No other choice for my Number One. A historical film with humor, baseball, women being awesome, and Tom Hanks peeing for a whole minute. I wanted to be Geena Davis when I grew up because of this movie.

Honorable Mention –¬†A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995)
Sure, my real answer is probably The Sandlot or 42. But I’m going way out in left field on this one. Calvin Fuller is a high school baseball player who gets magically transported through the dugout to King Arthur’s court. It’s a classic.

Morgan:
3. Moneyball (2011)
This film is great because honestly, who doesn’t love an underdog? This was also a huge role for Jonah Hill, which he played marvelously.

2. Field of Dreams (1989)
I don’t think this one need much explanation. “If you build it, he¬†will come.”

1. The Sandlot (1993):
Okay so this probably isn’t the best baseball movie of all time, but I don’t care. It’s my number one because it’s funny, fun to quote, and is an all around great story about some cute kids. This movie almost defines nostalgia. Plus, James Earl Jones.

Honorable Mention –¬†¬†The Rookie
Mostly because it reminds me of my childhood. And I like Dennis Quaid.

What did we miss? What did we get right?

Noah. Bloggah.

We have¬†wanted to review¬†Noah since it was released last month, but it just couldn’t fit in our schedule.¬†But as it ends up, this is the perfect time for it.

Noah (2014) | Trailer
Run Time: 138 minutes

Rated: PG-13 (For violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.)
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Jordan:
Okay, so yes, there are inconsistencies with the Bible, but that always happens with any feature-length film interpretation of a short story (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Minority Report). And of course, Darren Aronofsky is a weird director, so visions from God look a lot like acid trips. But beyond that, I think that the film was fascinating and awesome. All the characters come to life. Each one has a personal turmoil to wrestle with during the film. Do they really believe that “the Creator would give us what [they] need”? Especially Emma Watson as Ila. You can see her intense struggle: what purpose could God have planned for a barren woman on the ark that is supposed to bring a new beginning to the world? The plot is a complete story, and it makes you want to see what’s going to happen next.
Bottom Line: Such an interesting film. Aronofsky knows how to tell stories in an oddly beautiful way. And for hesitant Christians, there is something here to discuss and learn, just like other popular Biblical films (The Passion of the Christ, The Ten Commandments).
Rating: 4/5

Bryson:
Noah is Darren Aronofsky’s bold retelling of the Bible story that so many of us have come to know. Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, Noah is sure to stir some controversy. While it has plenty of the same elements that we have read in the Bible so many times, Aronofsky also fills in gaps with his own imagination. This is never more apparent than the second half of the movie when the story shifts to the ark. The problem that many may have with this movie is in its inaccuracies. The biggest problem doesn’t come from Aronofsky’s storytelling itself but they way he executes it. I often found myself bored, not totally impressed with his characters nor the effects, I even found myself underwhelmed at times. What I do applaud Aronofsky for is how he portrays man’s struggle with sin. It is told in such a raw and believable way that so many other films have tried but failed to show. Religious or irreligious, Aronofosky fan or not; Noah is worth a view and should’t be ignored.
Bottom line: Noah is ambitious and even incredible but I never was quite hooked. Maybe that comes from me not being a huge Aronofsky fan or maybe it’s because I spent so much time trying to wrap my head around rock monsters who speak English; but Noah never grabbed my attention. And I am ok with that.
Rating: 3.5/5

Kurtis:
With this being Easter weekend, we thought we’d bring you a biblical themed review and went ahead and watched Noah starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. For those of you who might not know, the story of Noah is pretty straight-forward; humankind ruins the goodness of creation and God (or in the film, The Creator) knows the only option is to start over by flooding the Earth (save for two of every animal and Noah’s family). But let’s get this right out there, this is a Darren Aronofsky film (The Fountain, Requiem For a Dream), it is no Sunday School retelling of a tamed fable but a film that showcases the dark realities of the biblical story. That being said, I thought it was fantastic. Aronofsky, while not holding strictly to the story laid out in the bible, captures the mood and themes of the story in a gritty, human way that is anchored by superb performances by the whole cast. Russell Crowe is the perfect Noah as he goes from strong, inspiring leader to crazed, ugly dictator amongst his family unit seamlessly and believably. Ray Winstone (Tubal-cain) doesn’t have a huge role in the film as far as screen time, but his performance as antagonist, a king unwilling to accept God’s threats of annihilation, was really great and Winstone definitely steals the show in his scenes. With a strong screenplay (except for maybe a 20 minute scene towards the end that didn’t quite do it for me) and great acting, the main course of this movie are the visuals. Aronofsky brings this story to life with immaculate aesthetics that are worth the price of admission alone‚Ķ it’s a beautiful film. The scene that shows the story of creation as Noah narrates it to his family is the crown jewel of this movie and easily one of my new favorite scenes of any movie.
Bottom Line:¬†Besides a 20 minute lull towards the end, Noah does not disappoint and lives up to the visual pleasures we’ve come to expect from Darren Aronofsky. As long as your not expecting a clean and neat children’s Bible story, you will definitely enjoy this film.
Rating: 4/5

AGGREGATE RATING: 3.8/5

Blog. Twue blog.

Because we love movies, we wanted to share some of our favorite movies on love.

Morgan – When Harry Met Sally (1989):
This is definitely one of my favorite love stories. First of all, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. I mean, come on. Crystal is just all around perfect, and Ryan is the epitome of 80s rom-com. This movie is the story of a decade long relationship between two people who think they can’t be friends, because according to Harry, “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” Of course, people always want what they can’t have and eventually they end up becoming friends, and then falling in love. Not only is it a fun story with fantastic characters, it’s funny, clever and extremely quotable. “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
A rom-com classic, for sure.

                                  

Kurtis –¬†The Wedding Singer (1998):
For this round of holiday recommendations, I’m going with an all-around great movie from Adam Sandler’s golden era. If you’re looking for a great romantic movie for Valentine’s Day, I think you can’t ¬†beat The Wedding Singer. This movies stands out among the rest because it’s actually sweet/romantic and a really great comedy on its own.
Adam Sandler plays Robbie Hart, the wedding singer in this 80s nostalgic comedy. Robbie is left at the alter and loses his way, exchanging singing at weddings for bar mitzvahs and other family events. That is, until he meets Julia (Drew Barrymore) and starts falling for her. The problem is she’s engaged to a truly obnoxious jerk named Glenn, and Robbie realizes he needs to steal her away. You have to love Sandler and Barrymore’s chemistry that combine and make for a romantic comedy that doesn’t feel forced, and that really gets you rooting for the good guy to finish first.

                                  

Jordan РFever Pitch (2005):
Okay, I changed my mind at the last minute. I was considering writing about Return to Me (which is so cute), so you should watch it. But I’ve decided on Fever Pitch. It has so many things that I like: (1) Jimmy Fallon, (2) the Red Sox, (3) see #1 &#2. It’s a simple, sweet movie. Drew Barrymore is dating Jimmy Fallon, the lovable goofball. Until baseball season starts and she realizes that he is OBSESSED with the Boston Red Sox. Hilarity ensues and tension rises. Please watch this, not enough people appreciate it like I do.
Fun facts:
– Jimmy Fallon met his wife Nancy Juvonen¬†on this movie. She is Drew Barrymore’s producing partner.
– They had to re-write the ending to the movie because the Red Sox just kept winning. Their 2004 season is when they reversed the Curse. #gobosox

Bryson –¬†Crazy, Stupid, Love.¬†(2011):
There are so many examples of great romance in the movies. I could start with The Princess Bride (one of my favorite movies of all-time) or go to the most cliché of all, The Notebook. For today I’m going with one of my new recent favorites: Crazy, Stupid, Love. The cast is fantastic: Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and for all you ladies (and men), Ryan Gosling. They all seem to flow so well together, especially Gosling & Stone, but maybe even more so, Gosling and Carell. Director Will Gluck does a great job of satisfying the tastes of both men and women which sets the stage for a perfect Valentine’s Day movie. Not to mention, a HILARIOUS last 20 minutes to this movie.

Tell us what you’re favorite romantic movie is!