(Photo by Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox Film Corp, TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection)
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!)
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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)
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).
"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).
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).
"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.
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.
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.
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 Supporting Performance
Actor of the Year
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain
Runner up: Brokeback Mountain
Best Sound Design
War of the Worlds
Runner up: Walk the Line
Breakthrough Film Artist
A History of Violence
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Good Night, and Good Luck
Pride & Prejudice
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.
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.
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