Best Sports Movies since 2000
by James Anderson
I often reminisce about my days as an athlete. Even though those days didn’t continue too far after high school ended, they were some of the best moments of my life. Memories of those locker room talks after practice and sweaty days out on the field always tend to bring on strong waves of nostalgia. Whenever I have those feelings come over me, I find indulging in good sports movies can be a perfect way to bring back those good memories. Fortunately, there have been several stand-out flicks over the last twelve years that have helped me entertain my guilty fantasy of being an all-star athlete.
Remember the Titans, 2000
I have seen this one more times than I can count. The film managed to find the perfect blend of the racial issues of the early 1970s with the unrelenting passion of a thriving high school football team. The transition of the Titans overcoming their personal issues to form an unbreakable spirit of team unity is well worth more than one watch.
The Wrestler, 2008
This is an underrated gem. Mickey Rourke plays a washed-up, has-been pro wrestler who is now limited to working at a grocery store and performing unimpressive weekend wrestling gigs. The wrestling scenes are realistic and gruesome, and it’s an interesting play on not wanting to admit you’ve hit the downslope of your personal peak.
Million Dollar Baby, 2004
Million Dollar Baby earned Hillary Swank her second Oscar for best actress. Clint Eastwood co- starred and directed this phenomenal story, and to make it even better, Morgan Freeman was thrown in too. Aside from all the star power, the film’s story is true magic. Beautifully acted, the portrayal of anunderappreciated veteran boxing trainer who takes a leap of faith training an underdog female fighter is a tale not to be forgotten. I predict this onewill be on “Best Lists” for years.
As much as I love Tobey Maguire in Spiderman, I have to admit that his role as Red Pollard is my favorite. Set in the depression era, this story follows a group of underdog aspiring horse racers who work against all odds (I’m starting to see the
formula for writing a sports movie) to pave their own road to success. Watching the unconventionally small horse, Seabiscuit,transform into a talented racehorse serves as a bit of hope and inspiration for not only the jockey and trainers, but the poverty stricken country as well.
Coach Carter, 2005
Based on a true story, Samuel L. Jackson plays Ken Carter, a controversial basketball coach of the same high school in California where Carterwas a champion athlete himself. When Carter takes over as coach, the teammates are disrespectful and earning poor grades. Carter sets to straighten up the athletes by ensuring that they perform better in school, as well as improve their attitudes. Banning the team from playing until they improve their grades causes uproar in the sports-loving community. However, the teammates gradually grow to respect Carter for his choice to provide them with tools for a brighter future. Even though the players don’t win the championship, they are left with more ambition to follow a successful life path.
The Blind Side, 2009
Also based on a true story,this captivating story follows MichaelOher,played impressively by Quinton Aaron, who is a runaway foster child. Taken in by a headstrong mother and interior decorator named Leigh Anne, played with a fiery performance by Sandra Bullock, Michael soon becomes part of her family. Leigh Anne helps Michael overcome his learning disabilities and soon he is on the high school football field basking in his natural talent. There doesn’t have to be a spoiler alert for this movie. Any sports fan should know that Michael Oher went on to be an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. Sometimes real life does have happy endings.
Finding a recent film with a good storyline that can accurately portray the competitive and satisfactory nature of athletics is hard to find, but it’s not impossible. These are my favorite sports films (well, at least since 2000), and although there are some honorable mentions missing, they can help to quench my thirst for athleticism and success in the face of life’s hardships.
About the Author: James Anderson is a sports enthusiast, survivalist, and blogger born and raised in West Virginia. He writes about secure storage for www.schoollockers.com.