Sports movies & cheerleaders
Wholesome sex appeal of an NFL cheerleader.
We list the best movies in a range of sports from American football to martial arts. To accompany our selection of top sporting movies, we feature photographs of lithe and leggy NFL cheerleaders, which were sorely missed during Superbowl 2011.
Bring it on: (2000). Directed by Peyton Reed. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Gabrielle Union, and Clare Kramer.
Plot: Torrance Shipman (Dunst) is captain of her high school's championship-winning cheerleading squad, the San Diego Toros. She's determined that nothing will stand in the way of leading her squad to its sixth consecutive national title.
A. O. Scott, New York Times:
The fact that a bouncy teenage sports comedy can even gesture toward serious matters of race and economic inequality is pretty impressive, as is the occasional snarl of genuine satire.
Superbowl winners. [See crossed legs]
Sexy threesome. [See more lingerie]
Booby cheerleader. [See Eva Mendes]
Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. [First love, old flames]
Two cheerleaders. [Love in the burbs]
Bucs and booty. [Girl next door]
Love those Saints. [Hot stars under 30]
Go Chargers! [Hollywood greats]
Dallas cleavage. [High heels and lingerie]
Ashton Torres. [Sarah Palin's lingerie]
Swing it! [See high heels]
So damn hot. [Sarah Palin's lingerie]
Jonathan Foreman, New York Post:
Essentially a feature-length commercial for both the growing sport of competitive cheerleading and ESPN2.
Buy it from amazon: Bring It On (Widescreen Collector's Edition).
Dallas North Forty: (1979). Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, and Dayle Haddon.
Plot: Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys, pro footballer Phillip Elliott (Nolte) is a personal and physical mess, needing all sorts of drugs prescribed by the team physician to play. Management is indifferent and Elliott is troubled by his conscience. Gives a realistic view of the drugs, violence and sex that are an intimate part of pro football. Thought by many to be the best football movie of all time.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times:
The football scenes are brutally real; the locker room scenes are totally authentic.
Geoff Andrew, Time Out:
Something of a mess, both in terms of the wayward plot which rambles all over the place, and in terms of the rather muddled juggling of audience sympathies.
Buy it from amazon: North Dallas Forty.
Bull Durham: (1988). Directed by Ron Shelton. Starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon.
Plot: Annie Savoy (Sarandon), a baseball fan, has an affair with one minor-league baseball player each season. She meets up with rising pitcher Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' Laloosh (Robbins) to instruct him in matters sporting and sexual. Veteran catcher Crash Davis (Costner) has the job of improving Nuke's game.
Ron Shelton, Time Out:
Exuding easy charm, Costner confirms his status as the romantic leading man of the late '80s; Sarandon is sexier reading Emily Dickinson's poems fully clothed than most actresses would be writhing naked on a bed; together, they are indeed the bodies electric. Marvellous stuff.
Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central:
Ron Shelton's fondly-remembered, highly-regarded Bull Durham has aged in ways not so complimentary: what seemed the height of sexual sophistication to a teenager feels talky and forced today.
Buy it from amazon: Bull Durham (20th Anniversary Edition).
Steep: (2007). Documentary directed by Mark Obenhaus , starring Doug Coombs, Shane McConkey, and Ingrid Backstrom.
Plot: Traces the history of extreme skiing from its first jumped turns to the death-defying daredevils of today.
Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Extreme skiers
are looking for hang-on-for-dear-life experiences. They want unsupervised, wild, crazy, thrilling and scary. They want to feel superhuman.
Xan Brooks, Guardian:
It gets a little wearing, hanging out with these lions, but there's no denying the beauty of the landscape, with its fluttering avalanches, plumes of powder and vertiginous, zigzagging descents.
Buy it from amazon: Steep.
The Fighter: (2010). Directed by David O. Russell. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo.
Plot: A gritty look at the early years of boxer Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his brother (Bale), who helped train him before Ward turned pro in the mid 1980s.
A great boxing movie, a great film about family. Gritty, thrilling, inspirational. Deserves multiple Oscar nominations.
Robbie Collin, News of the World:
The flaw at The Fighter's heart is the fact that Bale's all over the place. It's a frog-faced, flailing-armed, look at meeee performance that, had it come from Nicolas Cage, would have drawn scorn across the board.
Buy it from amazon: The Fighter.
Track and field
Without Limits: (1998). Directed by Robert Towne. Starring Billy Crudup, Donald Sutherland, and Monica Potter.
Plot: About Oregon running legend Steve Prefontaine (Crudup) and his coach, Bill Bowerman (Sutherland).
Todd McCarthy, Variety:
With a very good part for a change, Sutherland invests the imposing Bowerman with a host of subtly expressed attitudes toward his most illustrious charge.
Ethan Alter, FJI:
A zippy, straightforward and entirely superficial film that reduces its subject to Rocky in running shoes.
Buy it from amazon: Without Limits.
Bend It Like Beckham: (2002) Directed by Gurinder Chadha. Starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Plot: Jess (Nagra) dreams of playing soccer professionally like her hero David Beckham. Her traditional Indian family is against her plan.
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress:
While there's no denying that Beckham is plowing some pretty well-plowed fields, it still succeeds on its own good-natured merits, brimming with the joy of life and its colorful diversities -- along with the intoxicating joy of filmmaking.
Derek Elley, Variety:
More rooted in small-screen sitcom than anything deeper.
Buy it from amazon: Bend It Like Beckham (Widescreen Edition).
The Karate Kid: (1984). Directed by John G. Avildsen. Starring Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki Pat Morita, and Elizabeth Shue.
Plot: Teenager in a California town is taught martial arts by the handyman in his apartment building. Eventually, he grows to become a local champion and wins over the girl of his dreams. This movie turned millions of kids worldwide into karate fans.
Richard Luck, Film 4:
The Karate Kid belongs so irredemiably to its time that you can't feel anything other than affection toward it.
Geoff Andrew, Time Out:
A surprise summer hit in the States, this is another film-making-by-numbers exercise in teenage wish-fulfilment.
Buy it from amazon: The Karate Kid.
Invictus: (2009). Directed by Clint Eastwood. Starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and Tony Kgoroge.
Plot: True story of how Nelson Mandela and the captain of South Africa's rugby team helped unite their country via the Springbok rugby team at the 1995 World Championships.
Dave Calhoun, Time Out:
A noble and compassionate work that in its later scenes manages successfully to invest our emotions in the triumph of an important -- if overlong! --sporting victory.
Alistair Harkness, Scotsman:
Invictus does leave you feeling oddly satisfied, but it's a very fleeting satisfaction, perhaps because its rainbow nation conclusion immediately starts to ring hollow once the euphoria of the triumphant sports movie ending subsides.
Buy it from amazon: Invictus [Blu-ray].
He Got Game: (1998). Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Rosario Dawson, Milla Jovovich.
Plot: Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington) is in prison for the manslaughter of his wife. His estranged son Jesus (pro player Ray Allen) is the nation's best high school basketball star. If Jake can convince Jesus to sign to Big State University, the governor will reduce his sentence.
Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times:
Washington is so consistently effective an actor that it hardly needs be said that his excellent performance as the beleaguered Jake carries the film.
Susan Stark, Detroit News:
The wildly uneven script includes both disciplined, lively riffs and amateurishly artificial exchanges.
Buy it from amazon: He Got Game.
The Hustler: (1961). Directed by Robert Rossen. Starring Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, Jackie Gleason, and George C. Scott.
Plot: Up-and-coming pool player, Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) plays Minnesota Fats (Gleason), a long-time champion, in a high-stakes match.
Derek Adams, Time Out:
A wonderful hymn to the last true era when men of substance played pool with a vengeance.
The Hustler belongs to that school of screen realism that allows impressive performances but defeats the basic goal of pure entertainment.
Buy it from amazon: The Hustler.
The hottest stars under 30: See Megan Fox, Rooney Mara, and Kristen Stewart
By Edward Lundberg