(Photo by Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox Film Corp, TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection)

RT Recommends: 68 Inspiring Sports Movies

We’ve put together the ultimate starting lineup of inspiring sports movies! In no time, you’ll be riding horses, climbing rocks, driving powerful race cars, bolting cross-country, and coaching underdog teams to miraculous victory.

Or they’ll at least get you off the couch.

Some of the most esteemed Certified Fresh inspirational sports movies take on MMA (Warrior), boxing (Creed, Cinderella Man), auto-racing (Rush, Senna), basketball (Hoosiers, He Got Game), hockey (Miracle, Goon). Of course, not everything that glitters is strictly critics’ gold. Which is why we included movies like The Cutting Edge, Stick It, or Lords of Dogtown: They may be lower on the Tomatometer, but they’re high on electric inspiration.

Read on for our recommendations of the most inspiring sports movies of all time! (And you can find them all in Vudu’s inspiring sports movies collection, with most on sale!)

#68

42 (2013)
81%

#68
Adjusted Score: 87765%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 98696%
Critics Consensus: The Bad News Bears is rude, profane, and cynical, but shot through with honest, unforced humor, and held together by a deft, understated performance from Walter Matthau.
Synopsis: Hard-drinking, ex-minor-league hopeful Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) grumpily agrees to coach a Little League team at the behest of lawyer-councilman... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 90499%
Critics Consensus: Inspiring, compassionate, and with a sly undercurrent of social commentary, Bend It Like Beckham is a lively feel-good movie that genuinely charms.
Synopsis: Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), the daughter of a strict Indian couple (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan) in London, is not permitted... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha

#65

Blades of Glory (2007)
70%

#65
Adjusted Score: 77995%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the spirited performances of a talented cast - particularly Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as rivals-turned-teammates -- Blades of Glory successfully spoofs inspirational sports dramas with inspired abandon.
Synopsis: Figure skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) take their intense rivalry too far during the... [More]
Directed By: Will Speck, Josh Gordon

#64

Brian's Song (1971)
92%

#64
Adjusted Score: 92567%
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by standout performances from James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, Brian's Song is a touching tale of friendship whose central relationship transcends its standard sports movie moments.
Synopsis: Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) are teammates on the mid-1960s Chicago Bears. At a time... [More]
Directed By: Buzz Kulik

#63

Bring It On (2000)
64%

#63
Adjusted Score: 67627%
Critics Consensus: Despite the formulaic, fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading instead of taking itself too seriously.
Synopsis: The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#62

The Bronze (2015)
36%

#62
Adjusted Score: 41582%
Critics Consensus: Enthusiastically unpleasant and mostly unfunny, The Bronze fails to stick the landing -- or much else along the way.
Synopsis: A spoiled and largely forgotten Olympic medalist (Melissa Rauch) takes action when a promising young gymnast (Haley Lu Richardson) threatens... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Buckley

#61

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#61
Adjusted Score: 88215%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#60

Cinderella Man (2005)
80%

#60
Adjusted Score: 87609%
Critics Consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#59

Cool Runnings (1993)
76%

#59
Adjusted Score: 79070%
Critics Consensus: Cool Runnings rises above its formulaic sports-movie themes with charming performances, light humor, and uplifting tone.
Synopsis: Four Jamaican bobsledders dream of competing in the Winter Olympics, despite never having seen snow. With the help of a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#58

Creed (2015)
95%

#58
Adjusted Score: 106940%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#57

The Cutting Edge (1992)
57%

#57
Adjusted Score: 59390%
Critics Consensus: Part contrived romance, part hackneyed sports drama, The Cutting Edge shows how difficult it can be to figure skate through cheese.
Synopsis: Stuck-up figure skating whiz Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly) is denied a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics after a fall.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 98210%
Critics Consensus: Better than your average football pic, Damned United is carried by another star turn from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough.
Synopsis: The story of Brian Clough's 44 day stint as manager of Leeds United Football Club takes place in 1974 England.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#55

Downhill Racer (1969)
85%

#55
Adjusted Score: 85236%
Critics Consensus: Downhill Racer plunges the viewer thrillingly into the action of the sport -- and continues to hold the attention as a thoughtful drama.
Synopsis: A smug and overly self-assured downhill skier, David Chappellet (Robert Redford), joins the American ski team and quickly makes waves... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#54

Eddie the Eagle (2016)
81%

#54
Adjusted Score: 93643%
Critics Consensus: Eddie the Eagle's amiable sweetness can't disguise its story's many inspirational clichés -- but for many viewers, it will be more than enough to make up for them.
Synopsis: Cut from the Olympic ski team, British athlete Michael "Eddie" Edwards travels to Germany to test his skills at ski... [More]
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher

#53

Endurance (1998)
50%

#53
Adjusted Score: 50337%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This docudrama focuses on the life and accomplishments of Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, who won a gold medal at the... [More]

#52

Fair Play (2014)

#52
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the 1980s, Anna, a Czech sprinter, starts training for the Olympics. After she collapses during training, she learns she... [More]
Directed By: Andrea Sedlácková

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 106871%
Critics Consensus: Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering.
Synopsis: Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Merchant

#50

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#50
Adjusted Score: 114307%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#49

Free Solo (2018)
97%

#49
Adjusted Score: 106080%
Critics Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason - and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.
Synopsis: Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.... [More]

#48

Girlfight (2000)
88%

#48
Adjusted Score: 91989%
Critics Consensus: Michelle Rodriguez gives a compelling performance, despite lack of a boxing background; Karyn Kusama packs a punch with this directorial debut.
Synopsis: Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez in an astounding performance alongside Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon and Santiago Douglas. Nothing comes easy for Diana... [More]
Directed By: Karyn Kusama

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell are thrown together in the double sculls just five weeks before the final of the... [More]
Directed By: David Blair

#46

Goon (2011)
81%

#46
Adjusted Score: 85208%
Critics Consensus: Goon is a crude slapstick comedy with well-formed characters and a surprising amount of heart.
Synopsis: Though a misfit among his brainy family members, Massachusetts bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) has a knockout punch that... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dowse

#45

Gracie (2007)
61%

#45
Adjusted Score: 64450%
Critics Consensus: Gracie can be rousing and touching in spots, but is ultimately undone by its predictable story arc and a lack of nuance.
Synopsis: Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder) is the only girl among her parents' four children. Her brothers and father (Dermot Mulroney) eat,... [More]
Directed By: Davis Guggenheim

#44
Adjusted Score: 66004%
Critics Consensus: Despite all the underdog sports movie conventions, the likable cast and lush production values make The Greatest Game Ever Played a solid and uplifting tale.
Synopsis: Blue-collar Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) fights class prejudice while mastering golf, a game guarded by the upper crust. Employed as... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#43

Happy Gilmore (1996)
61%

#43
Adjusted Score: 63865%
Critics Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.
Synopsis: All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#42

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#42
Adjusted Score: 83041%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#41

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#41
Adjusted Score: 94988%
Critics Consensus: It may adhere to the sports underdog formula, but Hoosiers has been made with such loving craft, and features such excellent performances, that it's hard to resist.
Synopsis: Failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#40

I Am Bolt (2016)
86%

#40
Adjusted Score: 79138%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The career and the legacy of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt.... [More]

#39
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This sequel to "National Velvet" follows Sarah Brown (Tatum O'Neal), a young girl who is sent to England after her... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Forbes

#38

Invictus (2009)
76%

#38
Adjusted Score: 84405%
Critics Consensus: Delivered with typically stately precision by director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.
Synopsis: Following the fall of apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces a South Africa that is racially and... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#37
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this stirring biographical drama, young Native American Jim Thorpe (Burt Lancaster) pursues his dreams of athletic stardom. Mentored by... [More]
Directed By: Michael Curtiz

#36

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#36
Adjusted Score: 91180%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#35
Adjusted Score: 101266%
Critics Consensus: The King of Kong is funny and compelling with more than a few poignant insights into human behavior. Director Seth Gordon presents the dueling King Kong players in all their obsessive complexity and with perfectly al dente observations.
Synopsis: Named "Video Game Player of the Century" in 1999, Billy Mitchell sets a record score in "Donkey Kong" that many... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#34

Lords of Dogtown (2005)
55%

#34
Adjusted Score: 59525%
Critics Consensus: Lords of Dogtown, while slickly made and edited, lacks the depth and entertaining value of the far superior documentary on the same subject, Dogtown and Z-Boys.
Synopsis: A drought in 1970s Southern California has an unexpected side effect: as people empty their swimming pools, a group of... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 86404%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#32

Maiden (2018)
98%

#32
Adjusted Score: 104738%
Critics Consensus: Enthralling viewing even for audiences with little to no knowledge of or interest in sailing, Maiden pays powerful tribute to a true pioneer.
Synopsis: In 1989 Tracy Edwards leads the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a grueling yachting competition... [More]
Directed By: Alex Holmes

#31

Major League (1989)
83%

#31
Adjusted Score: 84879%
Critics Consensus: Major League may be predictable and formulaic, but buoyed by the script's light, silly humor -- not to mention the well-built sports action sequences and funny performances.
Synopsis: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians, former showgirl Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), has a sweetheart deal to move the... [More]
Directed By: David S. Ward

#30

Meru (2015)
88%

#30
Adjusted Score: 90451%
Critics Consensus: Gripping visually as well as narratively, Meru is the rare documentary that proves thought-provoking while offering thrilling wide-screen vistas.
Synopsis: Three elite climbers fight through obsession and loss as they struggle to climb Mount Meru.... [More]

#29

Miracle (2004)
81%

#29
Adjusted Score: 85821%
Critics Consensus: Kurt Russell's performance guides this cliche-ridden tale into the realm of inspirational, nostalgic goodness.
Synopsis: When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#28

Nadia (1984)

#28
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci trains as a child (Leslie Weiner) and wins three gold medals as a teen (Johann Carlo)... [More]
Directed By: Alan Cooke

#27

The Natural (1984)
82%

#27
Adjusted Score: 85275%
Critics Consensus: Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.
Synopsis: On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 87507%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story of Lithuania's 1992 Olympic basketball team whose athletes won the bronze medal.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Marius A. Markevicius

#25

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84303%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#24

Personal Best (1982)
73%

#24
Adjusted Score: 74684%
Critics Consensus: Mariel Hemingway has a career-making star turn in this highly physical drama about two Olympic athletes who find each other during competitive training.
Synopsis: Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#23

Prefontaine (1997)
56%

#23
Adjusted Score: 56673%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Olympic defeat matures a selfish distance runner (Jared Leto) into a sports activist before his 1975 death in a car... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

#22

Pride (2007)
47%

#22
Adjusted Score: 50311%
Critics Consensus: Pride features a typically stellar performance from Terrence Howard, but ultimately falls victim to its over usage of sports movie clichés.
Synopsis: In 1970s Philadelphia, Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard), who is driven by a love of competitive swimming, fixes up an abandoned... [More]
Directed By: Sunu Gonera

#21

Pumping Iron (1977)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 93867%
Critics Consensus: In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.
Synopsis: This partly real and partly scripted film documents what many consider to be the golden age of bodybuilding that occurred... [More]

#20

Race (2016)
63%

#20
Adjusted Score: 71788%
Critics Consensus: Race is nowhere near as thrillingly fleet or agile as its subject, but the story -- and a winning central performance from Stephan James -- are enough to carry it over the finish line.
Synopsis: Young Jesse Owens (Stephan James) becomes a track and field sensation while attending the Ohio State University in the early... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#19

Redbelt (2008)
67%

#19
Adjusted Score: 72692%
Critics Consensus: Mamet's mixed marital arts morality play weaves between action and intellect but doesn't always hit its target.
Synopsis: Martial artist Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives by a strict code of no competitions, for he feels that such contests... [More]
Directed By: David Mamet

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 77786%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 98970%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#16

The Rookie (2002)
84%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87877%
Critics Consensus: A heart-warming sports flick, The Rookie greatly benefits from understated direction and the emotional honesty Dennis Quaid brings to the role of Jim Morris.
Synopsis: A true story about a coach who discovers that it's never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#15

Rudy (1993)
78%

#15
Adjusted Score: 81469%
Critics Consensus: Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.
Synopsis: Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) wants to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but has neither the money for... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#14

Rush (2013)
89%

#14
Adjusted Score: 97509%
Critics Consensus: A sleek, slick, well-oiled machine, Rush is a finely crafted sports drama with exhilarating race sequences and strong performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.
Synopsis: In the mid-1970s, charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) share an intense... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#13

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#13
Adjusted Score: 69221%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#12

Senna (2010)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 96746%
Critics Consensus: Even for filmgoers who aren't racing fans, Senna offers heart-pounding thrills -- and heartbreaking emotion.
Synopsis: Ayrton Senna becomes a three-time Formula One racing champion and Brazil's national hero before his untimely death at age 34.... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#11

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#11
Adjusted Score: 93194%
Critics Consensus: The plot is utterly ridiculous, and the soccer in the movie is unlike any ever played anywhere on Earth, but watching Shaolin Soccer, you will probably find it impossible to care.
Synopsis: All his life, an ordinary young man (Stephen Chow) has been treated like dirt. Still, he's never given up believing... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

#10

Space Jam (1996)
45%

#10
Adjusted Score: 49119%
Critics Consensus: While it's no slam dunk, Space Jam's silly, Looney Toons-laden slapstick and vivid animation will leave younger viewers satisfied -- though accompanying adults may be more annoyed than entertained.
Synopsis: Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Pytka

#9

Stick It (2006)
31%

#9
Adjusted Score: 34718%
Critics Consensus: Director Jessica Bendinger is unable to transfer her winning Bring It On formula to the world of gymnastics, despite Missy Peregrym's strong lead performance.
Synopsis: Haley (Missy Peregrym) is a naturally gifted athlete but, with her social behavior, the teen seems intent on squandering her... [More]
Directed By: Jessica Bendinger

#8

Sugar (2008)
92%

#8
Adjusted Score: 97648%
Critics Consensus: Sugar is an exceptionally-crafted film -- part sports flick, part immigrant tale -- with touching and poignant drama highlighted by splendid performances.
Synopsis: Like many young men in the Dominican Republic, 19-year-old Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) dreams of winning a slot... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#7

Teen Wolf (1985)
42%

#7
Adjusted Score: 44216%
Critics Consensus: Though Michael J. Fox is as charismatic as ever, Teen Wolf's coming-of-age themes can't help but feel a little stale and formulaic.
Synopsis: When high school nerd Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) learns from his father, Harold (James Hampton), that being a werewolf... [More]
Directed By: Rod Daniel

#6

Unbroken (2014)
51%

#6
Adjusted Score: 60993%
Critics Consensus: Unbroken is undoubtedly well-intentioned, but it hits a few too many of the expected prestige-pic beats to register as strongly as it should.
Synopsis: As a boy, Louis "Louie" Zamperini is always in trouble, but with the help of his older brother, he turns... [More]
Directed By: Angelina Jolie

#5

Victory (1981)
63%

#5
Adjusted Score: 32187%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The head of a German POW camp, soccer enthusiast Karl von Steiner (Max von Sydow) organizes a match between Nazi... [More]
Directed By: John Huston

#4

Warrior (2011)
83%

#4
Adjusted Score: 90344%
Critics Consensus: Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock -- and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.
Synopsis: An estranged family finds redemption in the unlikeliest of places: the MMA ring. Tommy (Tom Hardy), an ex-Marine with a... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#3

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97941%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#2

Whip It (2009)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91770%
Critics Consensus: While made from overly familiar ingredients, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut has enough charm, energy, and good-natured humor to transcend its many cliches.
Synopsis: Bliss Cavendar lives in small-town Texas and yearns to break free of her mother's world of beauty pageants and conformity.... [More]
Directed By: Drew Barrymore

#1

Without Limits (1998)
79%

#1
Adjusted Score: 80502%
Critics Consensus: This drama about American track star and hero Steve Prefontaine intelligently looks at the character of this oft mythologized athlete and features a fantastic performance by Donald Sutherland as Prefontaine's trainer.
Synopsis: Before Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) makes it to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he is an unlikely track star at... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.

Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.

Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.


Rick Fox and Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns

Owen Wilson takes up the title role of Paramount’s new high school comedy Drillbit Taylor playing a homeless soldier of fortune who takes an assignment to protect a trio of teenage nerds. The actor’s biggest commercial hits have come from pairings with other big-name actors like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Here he flies solo as the only star and historically that that has led to small grosses. Younger teens will make up the primary crowd so the PG-13 rating may give pause to parents of kids in the high single digits. A slight male skew is also likely. There’s ample competition so a large debut is not likely, plus Wilson’s main draw comes with adults not twelve-year-olds. The Friday holiday will get things started well, but word-of-mouth will have to take it the rest of the way. Reviews have not been too bright and March Madness will take many boys out of the picture this weekend. Debuting in about 2,700 theaters, Drillbit Taylor could punch up about $12M this weekend.


Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor

Another spooky Asian fright film gets the photocopy treatment by the idea-starved American horror industry in Fox’s Shutter. The PG-13 chiller stars Joshua Jackson as a photographer who discovers creepy images of a dead woman in his snapshots. The insatiable horror audience is the target here and the rating will make sure that younger teens up for a scare will be able to buy a ticket. Jackson is far removed from his Dawson’s Creek days and lacks the drawing power he once had. Plus the studio’s marketing push has not been very forceful so awareness is low. Don’t look for this one to open like The Eye or One Missed Call which both bowed in the $12-13M range. The only factors working for it are the 85 minute running time and the fact that there have been no horror films released since the Jessica Alba‘s thriller from the first weekend of February. Snapping into around 2,700 locations, Shutter could gross about $8M this weekend.


Shutter

Fox has no intentions of giving up its hold on the number one spot. The studio’s Seuss hit Horton Hears A Who looks unlikely to be defeated by the newcomers and should take advantage of the Good Friday school holiday to post a better-than-usual sophomore hold. Ice Age dropped by 35% in its second frame in 2002 while its Fox sibling Robots fell by 42% in 2005. Both were March openers but neither had the Easter holiday helping the sophomore session. The well-liked Horton might drop by 30% to about $31M and boost its ten-day total to a robust $91M.

10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.

LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A crowded box office saw six new films shove their way into the multiplexes this weekend, but it was the Warner Bros. animated film "TMNT" that led the way knocking the studio’s own historical battle film "300" from the number one spot.

Mark Wahlberg‘s new sniper pic "Shooter" enjoyed a decent opening in third place while the rest of the debuting films saw more modest results. Overall, the box office was vibrant with seven different pictures hitting double digit millions.

Turtle power conquered North America as "TMNT" ruled the weekend with an opening of $25.5M, according to estimates. The PG-rated toon averaged a powerful $8,183 from 3,110 theaters and collected an amount that was almost identical to the record $25.4M debut of the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from March 1990. However, ticket prices were much lower 17 years ago and films played in fewer theaters so that hit’s $12,661 average from 2,006 locations was more impressive. With few new choices for kids in recent weeks, "TMNT" was able to corner the market for young ones. However, long term success could be challenging as Disney will unleash its rival animated entry "Meet the Robinsons" this Friday.

After two weeks on top of the charts, the Spartan war epic "300" dropped to second place but still held up well despite the onslaught of new films. The Warner Bros. blockbuster fell by only 38% to an estimated $20.5M and lifted its cume to a staggering $162.4M after 17 days. The R-rated smash now looks likely to reach the $200M mark domestically — a level no March film has ever reached before.

Overseas, "300" dominated the marketplace with its invasion of the U.K. and several key European countries with a colossal $48M from 33 markets with 5,000 prints. That pushed the international total to $79M and the global gross to $241M. 300 should dominate the spring box office worldwide and could go on to surpass $500M.

Mark Wahlberg‘s new action thriller "Shooter" opened in third place with an estimated $14.5M from 2,806 locations. The Paramount release averaged a good $5,168 per theater and played to an adult aduience. Studio research showed that two-thirds of the crowd for the R-rated film was age 25 or older. "Shooter" finds the recent Oscar nominee playing a former marine wrongly accused of trying to kill the U.S. President. The budget was just over $60M.

With no new comedies opening among the half-dozen new releases, Buena Vista’s motorcycle laugher "Wild Hogs" held strong once again and slipped only 25% to an estimated $14.4M. The Tim AllenJohn Travolta pic has upped its cume to $123.8M to date making it 2007’s second biggest blockbuster trailing only the Spartan tale. "Hogs" is also the top-grossing release for Disney since Johnny Depp‘s pirate smash from last summer.

Three films claimed estimates near the $10M mark and could see their rankings get shuffled when final numbers are reported on Monday. New Line opened its kids adventure "The Last Mimzy" with an estimated $10.2M from 3,017 theaters for a mild $3,381 average. The sci-fi tale earned mixed reviews and faced stiff competition for children from "TMNT."

After enjoying a career-high opening, Sandra Bullock saw her critically-panned suspense thriller "Premonition" fall by a reasonable 43% in its second weekend to an estimated $10.1M. Sony has scared up a solid $32.2M in ten days for the $20M production and should conclude with $55-60M.

Fox Atomic, the studio’s division that targets teens and young adults, bowed its horror sequel "The Hills Have Eyes II" to the tune of $10M, according to estimates. Averaging a mediocre $4,087 from 2,447 locations, the R-rated zombie flick opened 54 weeks after its predecessor which itself was a remake. The first "Hills" performed better and opened to $15.7M and a $5,996 average last March on its way to $41.8M. Eyes 2 cost $15M to produce and played mostly to an under-25 audience. Males and females were almost equally represented.

The Adam Sandler drama "Reign Over Me" debuted in eighth place with an estimated $8M from 1,671 sites for a commendable $4,788 average per theater. The R-rated film about a man who loses his way in life after his family is killed on September 11 earned good marks from critics. Given the difference in subject matter, "Reign" played primarily to adult women and not to the young male crowd that the funnyman usually attracts with his comedies. Studio research showed that 59% of the audience was female and 60% was 25 or older. The $20M production co-stars Don Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith and opened a bit below Sandler’s mature pic "Spanglish" which bowed to only $8.8M in 2004.

Lionsgate’s swim team drama "Pride" tanked in its opening weekend diving into just $4M, according to estimates. Starring Cheadle’s "Crash" co-star Terrence Howard, the PG-rated film averaged a weak $2,655 from 1,518 locations and earned mixed reviews from critics. Rounding out the top ten was the killer doll flick "Dead Silence" with an estimated $3.5M in its second weekend. Off a steep 55%, the Universal release has grossed $13.3M in ten days and should finish with just under $20M.

With all the new faces, six films tumbled out of the top ten over the weekend with declines of more than 50% each. Chris Rock‘s latest film "I Think I Love My Wife" fell 51% in its second weekend to an estimated $2.8M for a ten-day cume of only $10M. A final gross of about $15M seems likely. Disney’s fantasy drama "Bridge to Terabithia" dropped 55% to an estimated $2.3M in its sixth frame. With a strong $78.9M in the bank, Bridge looks to end its run with $82-84M.

Sony’s "Ghost Rider" took in an estimated $1.7M, down 59%, for a $113.2M cume. The Nicolas Cage actioner should finish with roughly $116M. Paramount’s serial killer drama "Zodiac" has been one of the year’s big underperformers and crumbled 63% to an estimated $1.2M. The $65M film has collected only $31.7M thus far and looks to end with a disappointing $34M.

The Eddie Murphy hit "Norbit" has performed much better for Paramount and grossed an estimated $1M this weekend, off 63%, pushing the total to $94.1M. A $96M final is likely. Hugh Grant‘s latest comedy has made half as much. "Music and Lyrics," co-starring Drew Barrymore, fell 60% to an estimated $920,000 pushing the total to $49.2M. Look for a $51M final.

Fox Searchlight once again generated the best per-theater average in the Top 20 with Mira Nair‘s "The Namesake" which expanded from 41 to 117 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.4M. Averaging a sturdy $11,581 per site, the PG-13 pic upped its total to $2.7M and will add another 125 theaters this Friday.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $120.6M which was up 27% from last year when "Inside Man" opened at number one with $29M; and up 39% from 2005 when "Guess Who" debuted on top with $20.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A half-dozen new soldiers enter the marketplace this weekend trying to topple the kingdom of "300" which has reigned supreme at the box office for the past two weeks.

Mark Wahlberg toplines the sniper thriller "Shooter," animated ninja turtles fight crime in "TMNT," and mutated zombies attack in "The Hills Have Eyes 2." In addition, moviegoers will get to choose from the kids adventure "The Last Mimzy," the sports saga "Pride," and the Adam Sandler drama "Reign Over Me." Holdovers should witness some large declines as these new pics all fight over the time and attention of ticket buyers. The box office may not have room for all to survive.

Seventeen years after shocking the film industry with a record March opening, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back but in animated form in "TMNT." The Warner Bros. toon features the voices of Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ziyi Zhang and carries a PG rating that is friendly for kids. Given the violence, "TMNT" should skew more to boys and might even pull in those who grew up with the characters in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With all the R-rated films recently, there have not been too many choices for kids this spring. "The Last Mimzy" is the only new release that will provide direct competition for that audience. Bringing its turtle power to 3,110 theaters, "TMNT" may generate a bow of roughly $16M this weekend.


They’re back.

Hot off his recent Oscar nomination, Mark Wahlberg hits the big screen in the action thriller "Shooter" playing a former Marine sniper trying to clear his name after being wrongly accused of trying to assassinate the U.S. President. The R-rated film comes from "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua and co-stars Danny Glover and Michael Peña. The film is banking on the starpower of Wahlberg who has been able to anchor hits in recent years. Late summer pics like last year’s "Invincible" and 2005’s "Four Brothers" opened to $17M and $21.2M, respectively, and brought in solid sales overall. "Shooter" is targeting the adult action crowd with appeal that will reach both men and women. Certainly "300" will play to much of the same audience and be a factor. Though no Damon or Cruise, Wahlberg has indeed become a believable action hero and is in a role that audiences will buy him in. Plus his Academy nod for "The Departed" has only increased audience respect for the former rapper. Opening in 2,600 theaters, "Shooter" might take in about $16M for the weekend.


Mark Wahlberg, playing a guy named Swagger, in a movie called "Shooter."

Last March, Fox Searchlight hit gold with the horror remake "The Hills Have Eyes" which bowed to $15.7M and grossed $41.8M overall. A year later, the sequel is born this time coming out through Fox Atomic, the studio’s new division geared towards young adult audiences with genre fare. "Eyes 2" once again is targeting the horror crowd with slick marketing hoping to lure in those seeking R-rated gore and violence. Plus the distributor is premiering the trailer to the upcoming fright sequel "28 Weeks Later" with the new "Hills" installment to help give moviegoers more for their money. Much of the audience for the first pic will probably return, although the sequel will face more competition as "300" and "Shooter" will both be drawing in young men. Attacking 2,500 theaters, "The Hills Have Eyes 2" could open to around $13M this weekend.


"The Hills Have Eyes, Too."

New Line studio chief Bob Shaye steps back into the director’s chair with the family adventure "The Last Mimzy" based on a popular short story. The "E.T."-like film about a boy and a girl who find a mysterious animal with mystical powers hopes to attract an audience of kids and parents, but will have to face some stiff competition from its studio’s former heroes, the Ninja Turtles. That toon should take away more boys than girls so "Mimzy" may end up skewing a bit more female. New Line hopes that much of the crowd that spent $75M and counting on "Bridge to Terabithia" will take a spin with this new effects-filled fantasy so sneak previews were held to help raise awareness and get buzz spreading. Still, a competitive environment will probably cut into its potential. Landing in over 3,000 sites, "The Last Mimzy" might gross about $12M this weekend.


"The Last Mimzy."

Targeting the African American audience this weekend is Lionsgate with its swim team drama "Pride" starring Terrence Howard. The PG-rated film will try to appeal to males with the sports saga and females with its human drama and half-nude muscular men. But Howard has not yet proven that he can open a picture on his own and "Pride" may not be the one to increase his future salary demands. "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter" both opened north of $20M and much of that was due to starpower. Plus Chris Rock found out last week that African Americans will not just show up for any film with a predominantly black cast. Diving into 1,518 theaters, "Pride" could swim to a weekend gross of about $7M.


Terrence Howard in "Pride."

Adam Sandler goes back to serious territory with the R-rated drama "Reign Over Me" playing a man whose life fell apart after his wife and kids were killed on 9/11. It’s no surprise Sony is releasing the film given all the cash the comedian has made for the studio over the years. Don Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith co-star. Given the subject matter, the rating, and Sandler’s Bob Dylan haircut, the actor’s core audience of immature young males will not be lining up this time. Remember "Spanglish‘"s $8.8M bow? Well, it could get worse for "Reign." After "United 93" and "World Trade Center," demand isn’t very high for yet another look at September 11. Given all the choices in the marketplace, adult audiences will be divided between many films so only a small slice might go this way. Debuting in 1,671 venues, "Reign Over Me" could open with about $6M.


Sandler and Cheadle in "Reign Over Me."

The mighty King Leonidas barely broke a sweat over the last two weeks in his box office victories. But the invading armies this weekend will pose a great threat to "300"’s rule. "Shooter" and "Hills" will provide the most direct competition. A 50% drop may be in order which would leave the Warner Bros. epic with roughly $16.5M for the frame and an impressive $157M in 17 days.

"Wild Hogs" may finally see a normal drop and slide by 40% to $11M giving Buena Vista $121M to date. "Premonition" should lose half of its audience and fall to $9M for a ten-day cume of $30M.

LAST YEAR: Spike Lee and Denzel Washington joined forces for the heist thriller "Inside Man" and found themselves at number one with a potent $29M opening. Universal went on to collect $88.5M domestically and $183M worldwide. The competing actioner "V for Vendetta" dropped from first to second with $12.3M falling 52% in its second weekend. Debuting in third was the horror flick "Stay Alive" with $10.7M on its way to $23.1M for Buena Vista. Rounding out the top five were "Failure to Launch" with $10.5M and "The Shaggy Dog" with $9M, both in their third weekends. Bowing in seventh place was the blue collar comedy "Larry the Cable Guy" with $6.9M leading to a $15.7M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies we’ve got turtle power ("TMNT"), whimsy ("The Last Mimzy," starring Timothy Hutton), conspiracies ("Shooter," starring Mark Wahlberg), buddies ("Reign Over Me," starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle), swimmers ("Pride," starring Terrence Howard), and cannibals ("The Hills Have Eyes 2"). What do the critics have to say?

"TMNT" marks a CG return for the pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling 1980s icons. However, to paraphrase the theme song, it appears movie critics are unwilling to cut "TMNT" any slack. The film details the turtles’ attempt to defeat an army of ancient warriors and the Foot Clan, despite dissention in the ranks. Critics say the CG animation looks fine, but the story is lacking, and "TMNT" lacks the goofy charm of its lower-fidelity predecessors. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, this one appears to be a bit short on turtle power.


"20 percent Tomatometer? Oh…shellshock…!"

Based upon a short story by Lewis Padgett, "The Last Mimzy" tells the fanciful tale of two siblings who, after discovering a box of discarded toys, gain special powers, get involved with time travel, win a science contest, and run afoul with the Patriot Act. If this sounds ambitious for a kids flick, critics agree. In fact, they’re saying it’s too ambitious: despite excellent moments, "Mimzy" lacks focus and frequently veers towards awkward, New Age feelgoodness. It’s at 52 percent Tomatometer.


"Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will."

Leaving the extravagance of "King Arthur" and "Tears of the Sun" behind, director Antoine Fuqua tones it down for "Shooter," a simpler kind of action flick. One man, one gun, one word for the title. Mark Wahlberg stars as former Army sniper Bob Lee Swagger (a movie moniker if there ever was one) who finds himself on the run and in the midst of a government conspiracy. The scribes say Wahlberg does a decent job, but the film skimps on logic and contains more plot holes than a target down at your local gun club. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, "Shooter" misses the mark.


"I have a coupon for this I got from the penny saver."

In "Reign Over Me," Adam Sandler, looking like "Blonde on Blonde"-era Bob Dylan, stars as a man still reeling from the loss of his family in the 9/11 attacks. He drops in on his college roommate (Don Cheadle), who’s got family issues of his own. Critics say "Reign Over Me" provides proof, were it needed after "Punch Drunk Love," that Adam Sandler is capable of playing serious roles, and helmer Mike Binder manages to keep the film funny and touching without overdosing on sentiment. At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, "Reign" shines.


"Everybody’s gone but me and you, and I can’t be the last to leave."

Terrence Howard is a terrific actor, but critics say he can’t save "Pride," a by-the-numbers sports flick based on an interesting true story. Howard stars as Jim Ellis, the coach of an all-African American high school swim team; the squad faces a number of obstacles, from racism to unsympathetic city officials. The pundits say Howard gives another outstanding performance, but "Pride" sinks under the weight of cliché. It currently stands at 38 percent on the Tomatometer.


"If you want respect, you’ve got to ask nicely and say please."

The peepers of critics have yet to grace "The Hills Have Eyes 2," since it wasn’t screened. This sequel to a remake tells the tale of a group of National Guardsmen who stumble upon a group of cannibals in the New Mexico desert. Finish up that tasty meal you’re eating and Guess the Tomatometer.


"You know, a little lotion would help those dry hands."

Also opening this week in limited release: "Air Guitar Nation," a spirited rockumentary about the art of the air strum, is at 100 percent; "Offside," Iranian master Jafar Panahi’s examination of politics through the lens of soccer, is at 95 percent; "The Page Turner," a Hitchcockian tale of revenge and music from France, is at 88 percent; "Boy Culture," featuring the trials and tribulations of three gay roommates, is at 86 percent; "Journey From the Fall," a drama about a family’s struggles at the end of the Vietnam’s civil war, is at 67 percent; "Colour Me Kubrick," a comedy about a man impersonating the director starring John Malkovich, is at 58 percent; and the noirish "First Snow," starring Guy Pearce and Piper Perabo, is at 50 percent; and "Memory," a sci-fi thriller starring Ann-Margaret and Dennis Hopper, is at 20 percent.


"Don’t move. You have a bee on your head."

And finally, props to SlyDante for coming the closest to guessing "Dead Silence"’s 24 percent Tomatometer.

Recent Mark Wahlberg Movies:
————————————-
93% — The Departed (2006)
70% — Invincible (2006)
52% — Four Brothers (2005)
61% — I Heart Huckabees (2004)
73% — The Italian Job (2003)

Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
————————————-
32% — Click (2006)
30% — The Longest Yard (2005)
52% — Spanglish (2004)
43% — 50 First Dates (2004)
42% — Anger Management (2003)

Whether you’ll be watching Sunday’s showdown for the gridiron action or waiting to see what millions of dollars in advertising money looks like, we’ll be here logging the best and worst of this year’s Super Bowl XLI spots! Place your vote!

They’ve already told us not to expect any huge movie trailer premieres (unless you’re desperately looking forward to "Pride," "Meet the Robinsons," or the old guy biker gang comedy, "Wild Hogs"). But Super Bowl commercials are always great no matter the sponsor, right?


Travolta riding easy in "Wild Hogs"

Well, you be the judge of that. We’ll keep a running tab of the commercials as they happen — cast your vote on the best and worst of this year’s offerings, or just discuss ’em with fellow couch quarterbacks.

Our pick for best bet? Kevin Federline‘s Nationwide Insurance spot, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog slinging for the NFL, Robert Goulet for Emerald Nuts, and the Prince halftime show!

———–
3:09 pm: First Trailer
If you turn off the sound, the trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s "Shooter" starring Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover actually looks a lot like "Live Free or Die Hard," except without the hype or the excitement. You can check out the trailer we have available here, which goes more into the story and doesn’t feature quick cuts. Or you can the image below for the flipbook:



3:15 pm: Ghost Rider

There’s not much here that we haven’t seen before in previous "Ghost Rider" trailers, but it does look like a decent comic book movie with slick CGI sequences and bright colors. The only problem is it’s coming out in February, the month when Studios put out films that they don’t have much confidence in. Check out the trailer for the Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes starring "Ghost Rider" here – it’s not much different than the one shown in the Super Bowl.

3:25 pm: Game on!
It’s raining.

3:25:20 pm: TOUCHDOWN BEARS!

Hmm…Bud Light’s rock-paper-scissors spot…Doritos…those Blockbuster critters. Not laughing out loud yet.

I’s great how the first three Superbowl commercials feature gratuitious violence: a man gets hit in the head with a rock, two people suffer automobile accident-related head injuies, and there’s a shocking sequence of rodent-on-rodent violence. Man, that JT-Janet halftime show seems positively quaint by these days.

Sierra Mist’s one-two punch: the beard comb-over and the lesser-funny soda-protection karate class. Meh. What a waste of Michael Ian Black and Jim Gaffigan.

The "Pride" trailer is pretty lame. Looks like a typical movie where lives are affirmed and spirits are uplifted. Terrence Howard stars. It’s tough out here for a swimming coach!

The Coke Grand Theft Auto spot; now that’s cute!

Cheesiest ad so far: salesgenie.com. My goodness. It looks like a parody or something.

We’ve also seen a vaguely homophobic Snickers commercial (the one where the two dudes share a Snickers bar, then rip their out chest hair) and a vaguely racist Bud Light commercial (the one where it’s supposed to be hilarious that people have accents). Not amused.

Can’t forget that Chevy commercial with various people singing songs with Chevrolet references, such as Nelly’s "E.I.," Elton John‘s "Crocodile Rock," and the Beach Boys‘ "409." It’s pretty tuneless, except for Mary J. Blige. She rules.

THE HALFTIME SHOW!

Prince has got to be one of the best Super Bowl halftime performers ever. Even in his old lady head scarf. Need I point out:

  • The glow-in-the-dark marching band
  • The "Artist Formerly Known As Prince" symbol-shaped stage
  • The weird early ’90s-esque matching dancing ladies
  • The "best of Prince" set list

And the most memorable/huh? moment: Prince covering Foo Fighters ("Best of You") ostensibly as a thank you for Foo Fighters covering Prince ("Darling Nikki"). But do we really have to cut the intro to "Let’s Go Crazy" short?? The opening monologue is the best part!

I hope they cut short this football business and give us a full-length Prince concert. Play "When Doves Cry!!" And, in a bit of irony: Prince plays "Purple Rain" in the — you guessed it — pouring rain!!

Now it’s over and you’ve got to wonder: who’s the genius who first thought "Prince" and "NFL" would go together in the first place?

THE SECOND HALF

To start the second half, there was a Bud Light ad in which a bunch of people were slapping each other; a Philip K. Dickian GM ad in which a robot commits suicide; and a pharmacutical ad in which a guy dressed in a heart costume is brutally assaulted in an alley. Apparently, violence sells beer and cars, and reminds people to take better care of their hearts.

Coke and Tostitos pay tribute to Black History Month. Now that’s something we can get behind, not least of which because neither ad features any brutal beatings.

5:40 MEET THE ROBINSONS

Featuring the voice talents of Angela Bassett and Tom Selleck, "Meet the Robinsons" looks like a mix between "Jimmy Neutron" and "Toy Story." Not exactly spectacular, but could be decent family fare. Check out the trailer here.

6:39 HANNIBAL RISING

It’s the same trailer you’ve been seeing on TV and elsewhere. It stars Gong Li. Check out the trailer here.

AHH, SUPER BOWL 41

Mediocre game, mediocre commercials. Too many fumbles all around. Fortunately, Robert Goulet livened things up with an Emerald Nuts ad. The commecial itself is so-so, but Goulet himself is genius.

In years past you’d hear some of the movie-geekier folks talking like this: "Hell yeah I’m gonna watch the Super Bowl. I don’t know a single thing about football, but there’s supposed to be 6 or 7 really great movie commercials!" Well, I have some bad news for those folks….

Looks like only two big movies have booked advertisements for next Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears. And those two movies are … the sports drama "Pride" and the slob comedy "Wild Hogs?" No Shrek, no Pirates, no Spidey? What gives?

Variety provides a logical explanation, one that has to do with the ridiculous expense involved in buying ad time during the Super Bowl. Plus it’s just a lot cheaper to advertise during "Lost," "American Idol," or "24." Or you can always go the "pre-show" route, which is when you’ll get to see the commercials for, well, "Norbit" and "Ghost Rider."

Sigh. Guess this means we’ll have to wait to see the summer’s big trailers where we’re supposed to see them: online.

(Go Bears.)

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