(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: 87776%
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: 98704%
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: 90205%
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: 78001%
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: 92568%
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: 67397%
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: 41580%
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: 87981%
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: 87605%
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: 79073%
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: 106968%
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: 59396%
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: 97316%
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: 85228%
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: 93632%
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: 50344%
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: 106888%
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: 114314%
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: 106087%
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: 91715%
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: 84987%
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: 64453%
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: 63868%
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: 83075%
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: 79139%
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: 85456%
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: 91186%
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: 100572%
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: 59523%
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: 86380%
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: 104748%
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: 84881%
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: 90447%
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: 85281%
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: 87506%
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: 84164%
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: 74349%
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: 56692%
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: 50313%
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: 93896%
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: 71768%
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: 72546%
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: 76982%
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)
93%

#17
Adjusted Score: 98627%
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: 87870%
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: 81459%
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: 97522%
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: 68721%
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: 96740%
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: 93172%
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: 48942%
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: 34716%
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: 97274%
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: 44221%
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: 60996%
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: 32081%
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: 90315%
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: 97954%
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: 91781%
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: 80522%
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

The sci-fi comedy spoof "Illegal Aliens," co-starring and produced by Anna Nicole Smith herself, is the late actress-model’s last screen role; it will be released on DVD in May 2007.

IGN Movies has the details on the DVD release of the flick, which was shot back in 2005 and premiered in New York for potential buyers last March. "Illegal Aliens" features Smith in her last feature-length appearance; her late son Daniel was also an associate producer on the project.


Click to see more of "Illegal Aliens"

"Aliens" stars Smith as one-third of a team of intergalactic beauties sent to save Earth from an evil foe, played by former WWF wrestler Joanie Laurer (AKA Chyna Doll). Production materials call it ‘"Charlie’s Angels" meets "Men In Black."’ Director is David Giancola.

Meanwhile, the media frenzy surrounding Anna Nicole Smith‘s sudden death last week continues…

This week at the movies, we’ve got a new take on the first Noel ("The Nativity Story," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes), endangered Americans in Brazil ("Turistas," starring Melissa George), and a hard partying expat ("Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj," starring Kal Penn). What do the critics have to say?

It may be based on The Greatest Story Ever Told, but critics say "The Nativity Story" is hardly the greatest movie ever made — or even a particularly good one. In case you need a refresher on the origins of the upcoming holiday that may be the occasion for you to receive a Playstation 3, "The Nativity Story" tells the tale of a teenager named Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) who is to give birth to the savior of mankind — all the while dealing with political persecution and lousy hotel service. Critics say the film is too safe (strange, given director Catherine Hardwicke‘s previous films about remarkable young people, "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown"), adding little spark to the most inspirational (and familiar) of sagas. "The Nativity Story" currently stands at 26 percent on the Tomatometer.


Mary, don’t you weep.

"Turistas" continues a mini-trend in slasher films that began with "Hostel": arrogant Americans getting their comeuppance in foreign locales. In this case, a group of youngsters are terrorized in Brazil after they fall into the clutches of a mad organ harvester. While some critics have praised the film’s political undertones and better-than-average tension, most say "Turistas" adds little to a stale genre. At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, this tourist trap may be worth avoiding.


"Turistas": Return I won’t to old Brazil.

"Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" was not screened for critics, which may indicate that it has the potential to sink like a stone with the scribes. (The original "Van Wilder" garnered a robust 17 percent.) Guess that Tomatometer.


They may not be toasting when the reviews come out….

Opening this week in limited release: "10 Items or Less," a laid-back romance starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, is at 53 percent; "3 Needles," a globe-spanning drama about the toll of the AIDS virus, is at 33 percent; and "The Architect," a tale of two families in conflict over a public housing structure, is at 33 percent.

Notable Biblical Epics:
——————————
51% — The Passion of the Christ (2004)
80% — The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
88% — The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1965)
96% — Ben Hur (1959)
91% — The Ten Commandments (1956)

Recent Slasher Movies:
—————————-
29% — Saw III (2006)
18% — Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
57% — Feast (2006)
35% — Calvaire (2006)
20% — Mad Cowgirl (2006)

This week at the movies, we’ve got antisocial behavior ("Jackass: Number Two," with Johnny Knoxville and the gang), hell-raising politicos ("All The King’s Men," starring Sean Penn), fearless warriors ("Fearless," starring Jet Li), and flying aces ("Flyboys," starring James Franco). What do the critics have to say?

For some, the perilous, grotesque antics of the "Jackass" posse offer inarguable proof of America’s cultural decline, if not a bellwether of the Apocalypse. For others (Critical Consensus included)… well, what can I say? Wasabi snooters? Off-road tattoo? Gets me every time. Now, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and the rest are back with "Jackass: Number Two," a film that promises to be as puerile as its title. But guess what? It’s getting pretty good reviews! The critics say this latest collection of stoopid stunts and bad behavior maintains a certain warped integrity in addition to its sophomoric laughs. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Jackass" may be worth a ride, provided you can stomach this stuff. And it’s better-reviewed than its predecessor (49 percent).


I want those #&^%@* snakes out of this #&^%@* ball crawl!

"All The King’s Men" has everything that makes for a compelling movie. It’s got a great cast (Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins, among others). It’s based on a great novel (by Robert Penn Warren). It’s got great cinematography. Unfortunately, critics say, the superlatives end there. Loosely based on the life of populist Louisiana Governor Huey "The Kingfish" Long, "All The King’s Men" tells the story of a small town rabble-rouser’s ascent in politics and descent into shady morality. Critics say the film is too bombastic to work, with too many vague characters and an over-the-top performance from Penn. The film received a muted reception in Toronto; it currently stands at 15 percent on the Tomatometer. And it’s well below the 1949 Oscar-winning original film (94 percent).


Sean Penn makes Howard Dean seem pretty chill.

Jet Li has come to personify a specific film subgenre: the historical martial arts epic. "Hero" and the "Once Upon a Time in China" movies were marked by sweeping visuals and Li’s remarkable athleticism. But the star says he’s no longer making that type of picture; if that’s the case, critics say "Fearless" makes for one heck of a swan song. The film tells the tale of a great martial arts master who looks inward after succumbing to his own ego and the murder of his family. The scribes say "Fearless" is quite a show, with remarkable action sequences and an interesting philosophical undercurrent. "Fearless" is currently at 70 percent on the Tomatometer. And it’s Li’s third consecutive fresh American release, following "Unleashed" (68 percent) and "Hero" (94 percent).


"Fearless": I had no idea people wore baseball hats in China in the early 1900s!

"Flyboys" tells an old-fashioned tale of courage and heroism with the latest in CG technology; unfortunately, critics say, the technology ends up overshadowing everything else. The film tells the story of a group of Americans who volunteered to fly in WWI alongside the French. According to the critics, "Paths of Glory" this ain’t; they note that the CG effects are excellent, and the dogfights are exciting, but the story and the characters are far less involving. At 37 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flyboys" doesn’t soar.


"And another thing… None of you better be making any wisecracks about ‘The Pink Panther!’"

Also in theaters this week in limited release: "American Hardcore," a documentary about the life and death of the louder-faster punk rock style, is at 100 percent; "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros," a coming of age tale set in Manila, is at 100 percent; "Jesus Camp," a documentary about evangelical Christian campers, is at 93 percent; "Old Joy," a meditative tale of eroding friendship starring indie darling Will Oldham, is at 88 percent; "Solo Con Tu Pareja," the debut of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" helmer Alfonso Cuaron, is at 80 percent; "The Science of Sleep," Michel Gondry‘s latest head trip starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, is at 69 percent; the "Project Greenlight"- approved horror flick "Feast" is at 57 percent; and "Renaissance," a visually remarkable French noir, is at 50 percent.


"I wish I could be as carefree and wild/ But I got cat class and I got cat style."

Recent Johnny Knoxville Movies:
—————————————–
41% — The Ringer (2005)
0% — Daltry Calhoun (2005)
15% — The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
54% — Lords of Dogtown (2005)
52% — A Dirty Shame (2004)

Recent Jet Li Movies:
—————————–
68% — Unleashed (2005)
94% — Hero (2004)
26% — Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
14% — The One (2001)
49% — Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

Recent Dean Deviln-Produced Movies:
————————————————-
90% — Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)
54% — Cellular (2004)
47% — Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
61% — The Patriot (2000)
25% — Godzilla (1998)

You might not know the name, but odds are you’d recognize the face… Fox has signed actor Jeremy Renner to star as a heroic soldier in their "28 Days Later" sequel — but if you remember what happened in the first movie, you know that the "heroic soldier" types don’t always last that long.

From Variety: "Story picks up six months after the end of the first pic, in which a virus spreads, leaving few survivors. Special Forces is working to restore order and helping repopulate London when a carrier of the virus unknowingly ignites a reinfection. Renner will play Sgt. Doyle, one of the heroes of the sequel.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is directing from a script by Rowan Joffe. Andrew MacDonald, (Alex) Garland and Danny Boyle produce. Boyle directed the first installment."

Mr. Renner’s previous movies include "North Country," "S.W.A.T.," "Lords of Dogtown," and the upcoming "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

How much money will moviegoers spend on watching two celebrities yell and scream at each other for 106 minutes? That is the question that Universal, and the film industry in general, will be asking itself with the opening of The Break-Up, the new romantic comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.

Just like with last weekend, the frame only boasts one wide release hitting the multiplexes. In scheduling their summer, studios are more likely to have wanted to avoid clashing with the second weekend of X-Men: The Last Stand, than to not go head to head with the swinger and the friend. After a record-breaking bow, the mutant sequel aims to keep its command over the North American box office for the second straight week.

There have been no major star-driven romantic comedies in nearly three months so Universal hopes to fill the void with The Break-Up. Directed by Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Down with Love), the PG-13 concoction is aimed at adult couples with a clearly-defined premise that most can relate to. Vaughn plays a tour bus operator while Aniston plays an art gallery worker. As boyfriend and girlfriend, the two own and live in a spacious Chicago condo, but when they go splitsville, each refuses to move out and the former lovers must learn how to co-exist as just roommates.

Break-Up looks to play to an adult audience and females will surely outnumber dudes. Vaughn has been a rising box office powerhouse in recent years drawing in more moviegoers each year when anchoring comedies. In 2003, Old School was a leggy hit taking in $75.6M while 2004’s summer smash Dodgeball hit the mark with $114.3M. Last summer though, the funnyman struck gold twice with a supporting role in the former Mr. Aniston’s action hit Mr. & Mrs. Smith followed by Wedding Crashers which became the sleeper hit of the season zooming to $209.2M. The Break-Up will end that streak, unfortunately.

Vaughn excels at delivering guy humor opposite funny male co-stars. But this time, he is asked to star opposite a woman and still try to make ticket buyers laugh. Although the highlights of the film revolve around his humor, The Break-Up just doesn’t pack enough laughs to be a huge hit. In fact, the constant fighting between the two lead characters will put off many. What the filmmakers don’t realize is that couples actually go to the movies to get away from that sort of thing. Starpower, tabloid gossip, a lack of comedies, and a decent marketing push will help pump up the opening, but word-of-mouth should lead to hefty declines in the weeks ahead. Bad reviews are not going to help either.

The Universal release has gotten months of free publicity from the endless media attention on the off-screen relationship between Aniston and Vaughn. Last weekend’s birth of Pitt and Angelina Jolie‘s baby has also added some free plugs too. The Break-Up should attract the same crowd that spent $24.4M on the opening of March’s Failure to Launch, although the grosses could be a bit higher since the starpower is arguably greater this time. Competition should not be too much of a factor this weekend. With no other new films in national release, the entertainment media will focus fully on this one. Plus, X-Men and Over the Hedge are playing to different audience segments. The only direct foe it will face is The Da Vinci Code which has been drawing in tons of adult women over the last couple of weeks. Opening in 3,065 theaters, The Break-Up could debut with about $26M this weekend.

Mutant fever ruled the box office last weekend with X-Men: The Last Stand opening to a record $122.9M over four days. That was nearly $3M better than originally estimated giving Fox an explosive start to what could be its final film of the franchise. Super hero pics and sequels tend to fall hard on the second weekend and coming off of a huge holiday bow will certainly up the decline as well. Last weekend’s Friday gross included sales from midnight shows on Thursday night while Sunday was stronger than usual thanks to the Monday holiday.

However, X-Men is not facing much new competition since the Aniston crowd does not consist of too many Magneto fans. Two years ago, Fox launched its effects-driven actioner The Day After Tomorrow over the Memorial Day frame and saw its Friday-to-Sunday gross tumble 60% on the second weekend. The weather disaster pic also had the towering $93.7M opening of the third Harry Potter film to deal with so some of the fall was attributed to the new kid on the block. The first two X-Men films debuted over non-holiday frames and dropped by 57% and 53% respectively in their sophomore sessions. X2 faced only one new opener in its second mission helping to soften the blow.

With more upfront demand and a holiday start, The Last Stand should fall harder. A 60% drop from the massive $102.8M three-day bow would give Fox about $41M for the weekend and the top spot once again. The ten-day cume for the latest adventure from the mutant heroes would shoot to a stunning $183M. With $700M in global grosses from the first two films, the X-Men trilogy should break through the $1 billion milestone in worldwide box office this weekend.

After suffering a steep 56% second weekend decline, The Da Vinci Code showed that long legs are not in its future. Add in the fact that The Break-Up will steal away many adult couples and it looks like another rocky frame for the Tom Hanks mystery. The Friday-to-Sunday take could drop 50% this time around and pull in about $17M. That would give Sony a still-impressive $170M in 17 days.

As Da Vinci fades away this weekend, so will Sony’s market share lead for the year. The studio has dominated for much of the year with six number one openings and more wide releases than any other studio. However, with the surging strength of X-Men, plus grosses from the year’s number one blockbuster Ice Age: The Meltdown, Fox looks to capture the market share lead by Sunday. As of the end of Memorial Day, both studios had about 18% of the box office pie year-to-date with Sony’s $608M sitting $18M ahead of Fox. That lead will be erased this weekend as the two distributors will swap positions but more shifting is likely to occur throughout the summer.

Paramount’s backyard adventure Over the Hedge will remain the only major option for little kids so a good hold is likely. A 40% drop from last weekend’s Friday-to-Sunday tally should lead to a $16M frame and a 17-day cume of $107M. All other holdovers should drift away with less than $5M a piece.

LAST YEAR Memorial Day weekend leftovers ruled the charts as the top three films remained the same, although some musical chairs led to a new order. The DreamWorks toon Madagascar rose from second to first place with $28.1M in its sophomore weekend pushing its ten-day cume to a solid $100.4M. Adam Sandler‘s comedy The Longest Yard also climbed a notch taking second scoring $26.1M. The Paramount remake pushed its sum to $95.8M in ten days. After two weeks on top, Star Wars Episode III tumbled 55% and placed third with $25.1M but watched its overall domestic gross soar to $307.9M. No other film in the year since has reached the triple century mark. Among new releases, Universal’s early Oscar contender Cinderella Man debuted in fourth with a weaker-than-expected $18.3M. The Russell Crowe drama went on to punch up $61.6M. Bowing in fifth was the estrogen pic The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with $9.8M while opening in seventh was the testosterone film Lords of Dogtown with $5.6M. Cumes reached a commendable $39M and a dismal $11M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Sean Penn will direct "Into the Wild" for Paramount Classics, a project that is based on the book by Jon Krakauer. Emile Hirsch will star as an ill-fated young adventure-seeker named Christopher McCandless.

From Variety: "Paramount’s specialty division has signed Sean Penn to direct Alaska adventure "Into the Wild," with Emile Hirsch ("Lords of Dogtown") to star.

Project is based on Penn’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s bestseller.

Hirsch will portray Christopher McCandless, who graduated from college in 1992, abandoned his possessions and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness and return to nature. He died four months later in an abandoned bus at a remote campsite."

Bummer of an final destination, but I’m guessing the journey will be one well worth watching.

The film critics of Central Ohio have chimed in with their own year-end picks, and they came up with quite a few solid surprises, actually. How about "A History of Violence" as best film of the year?

Best Picture

A History of Violence
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Direction

David Cronenberg, A History of Violence
Runner up: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Best Lead Performance

Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Runner up: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Performance

Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Runner up: Amy Adams, Junebug

Actor of the Year

Heath Ledger — Brokeback Mountain, Casanova, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm
Runner up: Terrence HowardCrash, Four Brothers, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Hustle & Flow

Best Ensemble

Munich
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Screenplay

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Runner up: George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Formal Design

Sin City
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain

Best Sound Design

War of the Worlds
Runner up: Walk the Line

Breakthrough Film Artist

Amy Adams — Junebug
Runner up: Joe WrightPride & Prejudice

Top Ten Films

A History of Violence
Brokeback Mountain
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich
Murderball
Crash
Sin City
Pride & Prejudice
Batman Begins

As always, we thank Movie City News for sharing all the lists.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a bunch of madmen ("Hostel"), a notorious lover ("Casanova"), a dhampir ("BloodRayne"), and a dude who lives with his grandma ("Grandma’s Boy"). Which of these movies will score with critics?

It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times: a group of young people stray off the beaten path, only to fall into the clutches of bloodthirsty crazies who inflicts torture upon them with sadistic glee. Heck, it was told a couple weeks ago ("Wolf Creek"). So what? Sometimes it’s how you tell it, and the critics say "Hostel" is told very well. Yes, scribes say, Eli Roth‘s film is grisly, but it’s also terrifyingly exciting and makes for some incisive social commentary. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Hostel" may be worth a stay, if you like this sort of thing.

Giacomo Casanova was the world’s greatest lover, a man of endless appetites who led an impossibly colorful life (which was probably embellished in his autobiography, but is a classic nonetheless). So you couldn’t go wrong with a movie about the notable rake, right? Right? Well, the critics say this period comedy romp, starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller, isn’t quite as romping as it should be, and despite noteworthy visuals, the film is frothy without being particularly ribald. Worse, the man whose name is synonymous with cad-dom chooses monogamy! At 41 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Casanova" is getting no love.

The people behind both "BloodRayne" and "Grandma’s Boy" must have made a new year’s resolution to not screen their films for critics. Here at Rotten Tomatoes, we feel it’s admirable to stick to your guns, when so many of us end up breaking our resolutions almost immediately. Unfortunately, the strategy sends a message to the world that perhaps these movies aren’t very good.

Recent Heath Ledger Movies
————————————-
88% — Brokeback Mountain (2005)
67% — Two Hands (2005)
39% — The Brothers Grimm (2005)
53% — Lords of Dogtown (2005)
54% — Ned Kelly (2004)

John Horn of the LA Times delivers an interesting article on the sad state of affairs over at Sony Pictures. Seems that, aside from "Hitch," none of Sony’s releases have found an overly receptive audience this year. (For those keeping score, Sony’s 2005 releases include "Stealth," "xXx: State of the Union," "Lords of Dogtown," "Bewitched," and that "Deuce Bigalow" sequel.) Also, it seems that "Fun With Dick & Jane" is a merciless money-pit, and that alleged "Sinbad" movie starring Keanu Reeves and "Stealth" director Rob Cohen? Yeah, that project’s dead now.

"Light romantic comedies are not supposed to be expensive, grueling endeavors, but the filming of "Fun With Dick and Jane" was anything but fun for Sony Pictures.

Months over schedule and millions over budget, the remake of the 1977 caper comedy had a revolving door of top-dollar screenwriters constantly reworking its script. A year after the Jim Carrey movie began filming, director Dean Parisot had to go back behind the cameras, reshooting some 30 pages of new dialogue. The movie missed its planned summer release and will now come out in December."

Also, "the studio pulled the plug on "The 8th Voyage of Sinbad," a planned expensive spectacle that was to pair "Matrix" star Keanu Reeves with director Cohen. While Cohen’s "The Fast and the Furious" and the first "XXX" movie were global smashes, his $135-million "Stealth" was a summer flop, grossing just $32.1 million in domestic theaters and generating a Sony loss of almost $50 million."

Check out the full LA Times article right here.

Variety reports that Catherine Hardwicke, director of "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown," will develop "The Monkey Wrench Gang" for Columbia Pictures, a project based on Edward Abbey’s anti-establishment novel.

"William Goldman is penning a new draft of the screenplay. Ed Pressman, Lloyd Phillips and Gary Burden are producing.

Story concerns a motley group of environmental warriors who wage mayhem against road builders and other developers in southern Utah.

Publication of Abbey’s novel in 1975 gave rise to a new generation of environmentalists who practiced "monkey-wrenching" — sabotage for the sake of saving the Earth.

"Its time has finally come to reach the screen. Public interest in environmental matters is high, and Abbey’s irreverent, anti-establishment humor feels in synch with the times," said Pressman."

One week after debuting impressively, yet still behind the juggernaut that is "Revenge of the Sith," "Madagascar" snagged the #1 box office spot in its second weekend of release. (But don’t feel too bad for George Lucas‘ baby; it’s now the fastest movie to gross over $300 million.) The DreamWorks animated comedy "Madagascar" beat out a trio of multiplex newcomers to grab the top spot, grossing $28.7 million in its second frame.

In second place was last weekend’s "The Longest Yard," which pulled in $26.1m, and "Sith" fell to third (by only the slightest of margins) with a weekend tally of $26m. Debuting in fourth place was the Ron Howard / Russell Crowe boxing drama "Cinderella Man," which did pretty decently by grossing $18.6m (in 2,800 theaters) during its first three days, while "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (nearly 2,600 screens) debuted in the fifth spot with a total of $10.2m. The weekend’s only other newcomer, Catherine Hardwicke‘s "Lords of Dogtown," raked in a relatively unimpressive $5.7m from nearly 1,900 screens.

Next week sees the release of four films that couldn’t really be any different. The big ticket looks to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the action flick "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," but the kids will want to see Robert Rodriguez‘s "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D," and those looking for laughs might just line up to see "The Honeymooners." And those who have a taste for the creepy stuff will undoubtedly be making a beeline towards Lions Gate’s French horror flick "High Tension."

For a closer look at the multiplex money-makers, feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page!

Skaters! Pants! The Great Depression! This week at the movies has it all. Will “Cinderella Man” win the battle for critical accolades? Will “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” be a good fit with the critics? Will “Lords of Dogtown” make a perfect critical landing? Will the metaphors ever cease?

Ever wonder why they keep making movies about gritty, scrappy prizefighters overcoming adversity inside and outside the squared circle? Because they always work. Everybody loves that stuff. From “Million Dollar Baby” to “Rocky,” from “When We Were Kings” to “Raging Bull,” boxing movies tap into our primal feelings in ways that no other sports movies can. So it’s no surprise that Ron Howard’s latest, “Cinderella Man,” the story of Depression-era comeback kid James Braddock, is a big winner, with the ringside judges (I mean, the Tomatometer critics) scoring it an 84 percent. That’s better than their previous Academy Award-winning collaboration "A Beautiful Mind," which scored 78 percent. And Russell Crowe is riding an unbeaten streak to rival Joe Louis.’

Another macho, take-no-prisoners, slam-bang summer movie is “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”…. Oops. Sorry. This coming-of-age chicklet-flick about four teenage girls and a pair of magical jeans is making grown movie critics cry. And there’s a good reason for that: the film is about real issues that teenagers face, and real rites of passage, in a non-raunchy, non-simplistic way. At 84 percent on the Tomatometer, these “Pants” are looking good.

Have you ever watched a group of skaters at the park? They can usually pull off one of those cool moves at some point, but it’s hard for them to do it twice. Well, "Lords of Dogtown," a fictional retelling of the highly acclaimed documentary "Dogtown and Z Boys," is exactly like that: it takes the same storyline and winds up smack on the pavement. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, this is one major bummer, dude.

Russell Crowe
Average Tomatometer: 69%
Last Five Films with Tomatometer:
85% – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
78% – A Beautiful Mind
78% – Gladiator
40% – Proof of Life
37% – Mystery, Alaska

Renee Zellweger
Average Tomatometer: 62%
Last Five Films with Tomatometer:
27% – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
60% – Down with Love
72% – Cold Mountain
68% – White Orleander
87% – Chicago

Ron Howard
Average Tomatometer: 69%
Last Five Films with Tomatometer:
57% – The Missing
78% – A Beautiful Mind
53% – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
63% – EdTV
71% – Ransom

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