150 Best Sports Movies of All Time

In the arena of the sports movie, every story can be told. The impossible underdog team that survives a brutal season into the final game. The kid who’s just starting out and the veteran being pulled back into the game, who both share the same odds: Against. Stories of the power of coming together as a selfless team, and myths of individual strength when you remove all the limits. Sports movies make us cheer, laugh, cry, and scream. They even make us think about renewing that gym membership.

We’re going all the way to the end zone with our list of the 150 Best Sports Movies of All Time, sorted by Adjusted Tomatometer from at least 20 reviews each. (The Adjusted Tomatometer is our special formula which takes into account, among other factors, the movie’s year of release and its number of reviews.) Just about every sport ever played is here: football (Rudy), baseball (Bull Durham), hockey (Miracle), soccer (Bend It Like Beckham), boxing (Rocky), ice skating (I, Tonya). There’s racing: by foot (Without Limits), by car (Talladega Nights), by horse (Seabiscuit). We got fictional sports (Rollerball) and sports we made up through sheer tyranny of will (Murderball). If it’s in the spirit of competition, it’s in this list.

Because this is a movie list, there are no TV movies (we pour one out for Brian’s Song), and nothing rated Rotten — even fan favorites like Any Given Sunday. Please deal with your rage accordingly before continuing.

And with our most recent updates, we welcome in new popular hits like Ben Affleck’s The Way Back, Best Picture nominee Ford v Ferrari, wrestling family drama Fighting With My Family, the vertigo-inducing Free Solo, and Maiden, about the first all-woman crew in a global yacht race.

Ready? For the leisure, life, and love of the game, here are the 150 Best Sports Movies of All Time!

#150

Blue Crush (2002)
62%

#150
Adjusted Score: 65422%
Critics Consensus: The surfing sequences are exhilarating, but the plot is pretty forgettable and trite.
Synopsis: Nothing gets between Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) and her board. Living in a beach shack with three roommates including her... [More]
Directed By: John Stockwell

#149
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

#148

The Express (2008)
62%

#148
Adjusted Score: 65425%
Critics Consensus: The Express crosses the goal line as an inspirational sports drama, although fans of the genre will recognize many -- if not most -- of its clichés.
Synopsis: Born into poverty, Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) overcomes many obstacles to get into Syracuse University's football program. Under the guidance... [More]
Directed By: Gary Fleder

#147

Rocky III (1982)
66%

#147
Adjusted Score: 68174%
Critics Consensus: It's noticeably subject to the law of diminishing returns, but Rocky III still has enough brawny spectacle to stand in the ring with the franchise's better entries.
Synopsis: Having become the world heavyweight champion, former working-class boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is rich and famous beyond his wildest... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#146

Cobb (1994)
65%

#146
Adjusted Score: 66801%
Critics Consensus: Tommy Lee Jones's searing performance helps to elevate Cobb above your typical sports biopic; he's so effective, in fact, that some may find the film unpleasant.
Synopsis: Baseball legend Ty Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones) pressures biographer Al Stump (Robert Wuhl) to whitewash the sordid details of his... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#145

Bring It On (2000)
64%

#145
Adjusted Score: 67406%
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

#144
Adjusted Score: 68227%
Critics Consensus: Though formulaic, this horse story's saving grace is its strong performances.
Synopsis: Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) is a horse trainer who is struggling to connect with his precocious daughter, Cale (Dakota Fanning).... [More]
Directed By: John Gatins

#143

Secretariat (2010)
64%

#143
Adjusted Score: 68707%
Critics Consensus: Rousing, heartwarming, and squarely traditional, Secretariat offers exactly what you'd expect from an inspirational Disney drama -- no more, and no less.
Synopsis: Despite her lack of experience, housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over management of the family... [More]
Directed By: Randall Wallace

#142

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#142
Adjusted Score: 68719%
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

#141

Race (2016)
63%

#141
Adjusted Score: 71772%
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

#140

Coach Carter (2005)
64%

#140
Adjusted Score: 69701%
Critics Consensus: Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson.
Synopsis: In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#139

Rollerball (1975)
68%

#139
Adjusted Score: 69687%
Critics Consensus: In Rollerball, social commentary collides with high-speed action -- and the audience is the winner.
Synopsis: The year is 2018 in a futuristic society where corporations have replaced countries. A violent futuristic game known as Rollerball... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#138
#138
Adjusted Score: 70003%
Critics Consensus: Pleasant to a fault, Million Dollar Arm is a middle-of-the-plate pitch that coasts on Jon Hamm's considerable charm without adding any truly original curves to Disney's inspirational sports formula.
Synopsis: In a last-ditch effort to save his career, sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) plans to find baseball's next star... [More]
Directed By: Craig Gillespie

#137

More Than a Game (2008)
71%

#137
Adjusted Score: 71317%
Critics Consensus: Though the film may not delve as deep as some would prefer, More Than a Game is an inspiring documentary featuring likable youngsters, a positive message, and some exciting in-game footage.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Kristopher Belman chronicles the early career of basketball superstar LeBron James. James and four other talented teammates were a... [More]
Directed By: Kristopher Belman

#136

Fever Pitch (2005)
65%

#136
Adjusted Score: 71760%
Critics Consensus: While not a home run, Fever Pitch has enough charm and on-screen chemistry between the two leads to make it a solid hit.
Synopsis: When Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon), a young teacher, begins dating pretty businesswoman Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), the two don't seem... [More]

#135

Olympic Dreams (2019)
70%

#135
Adjusted Score: 72491%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's mainly distinguished by its unique setting, Olympic Dreams remains a romcom with a heartfelt story and likable leads.
Synopsis: A young cross-country skier bonds with a volunteer doctor in the Olympic athletes village.... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Teicher

#134

Rocky II (1979)
71%

#134
Adjusted Score: 72156%
Critics Consensus: Rocky II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog -- and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax.
Synopsis: Although working-class Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) lost his high-profile bout with the cocky world champion Apollo Creed (Carl... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#133

Ali (2001)
68%

#133
Adjusted Score: 72998%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps no film could fully do justice to the fascinating life and personality of Muhammad Ali, Mann's direction and Smith's performance combine to pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: With wit and athletic genius, with defiant rage and inner grace, Muhammad Ali forever changed the American landscape. Fighting all... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#132
#132
Adjusted Score: 72928%
Critics Consensus: Beastie Boy Adam Yauch proves his worth as a director with Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, a fun-filled chronicle of the top high school hoopsters of 2006.
Synopsis: Rucker Park in New York City's Harlem has been host to many legends, such as Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.... [More]
Directed By: Adam Yauch

#131

The Blind Side (2009)
66%

#131
Adjusted Score: 74361%
Critics Consensus: It might strike some viewers as a little too pat, but The Blind Side has the benefit of strong source material and a strong performance from Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#130

The Karate Kid (2010)
66%

#130
Adjusted Score: 73968%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as powerful as the 1984 edition, but the 2010 Karate Kid delivers a surprisingly satisfying update on the original.
Synopsis: When his mother's career results in a move to China, 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) finds that he is a... [More]
Directed By: Harald Zwart

#129

Tin Cup (1996)
72%

#129
Adjusted Score: 73794%
Critics Consensus: Breezy and predictable, Tin Cup is a likeable sports comedy that benefits greatly from Kevin Costner's amiable lead performance.
Synopsis: Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) was a golf pro with a bright future, but his rebellious nature and bad attitude cost... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#128
Adjusted Score: 75035%
Critics Consensus: Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable is far more risk-averse than its thrill-seeking subject, but still provides a reasonably inspiring introduction to her story.
Synopsis: One of the most accomplished athletes of her generation, Bethany Hamilton, became a surfing wunderkind when she returned to the... [More]
Starring: Bethany Hamilton
Directed By: Aaron Lieber

#127
#127
Adjusted Score: 74781%
Critics Consensus: Taking full advantage of the large IMAX screen, Ultimate X is a thrill ride for extreme sports junkies and novices alike.
Synopsis: Bruce Hendricks highlights events of the 2001 Summer X Games, including skateboarding, BMX biking and the street luge.... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Hendricks

#126
Adjusted Score: 75821%
Critics Consensus: Proudly profane and splendidly silly, Dodgeball is a worthy spiritual successor to the goofball comedies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Average Joe's Gym and its owner, Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), are both down on their luck. A fancy competing... [More]

#125

Personal Best (1982)
73%

#125
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

#124

Jungleland (2019)
73%

#124
Adjusted Score: 76157%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to muscular work from director/co-writer Max Winkler and his stars, Jungleland punches above its weight in a crowded genre.
Synopsis: When a devastating loss in the ring leaves Lion and his manager/brother Stan in debt to a local crime boss,... [More]
Directed By: Max Winkler

#123

Invincible (2006)
72%

#123
Adjusted Score: 77478%
Critics Consensus: As simple and authentic as the gritty South Philly invirons in which it's set in, Invincible sends a uplifting and heartfelt message packed with an athletic enthusiasm that shouldn't be missed.
Synopsis: Lifelong football fan Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg) sees his wildest dreams come true when he becomes a member of the... [More]
Directed By: Ericson Core

#122

Blades of Glory (2007)
70%

#122
Adjusted Score: 77996%
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

#121
#121
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

#120
Adjusted Score: 78908%
Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights' mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner's circle.
Synopsis: NASCAR superstar Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is at the top of his game; adored by fans, a trophy wife by... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#119

Caddyshack (1980)
73%

#119
Adjusted Score: 77298%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#118

The Phenom (2016)
79%

#118
Adjusted Score: 80126%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and emotionally affecting, The Phenom proves a baseball movie can step away from the mound and still deliver a heater down the middle.
Synopsis: A sports therapist (Paul Giamatti) tries to help a troubled rookie pitcher (Johnny Simmons) who grew up with an abusive... [More]
Directed By: Noah Buschel

#117

Cool Runnings (1993)
76%

#117
Adjusted Score: 79071%
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

#116

The Hammer (2007)
80%

#116
Adjusted Score: 80793%
Critics Consensus: The Hammer perseveres as both an above-average sports comedy and a perfect starring vehicle for Carolla.
Synopsis: On his 40th birthday, chronic underachiever Jerry Ferro (Adam Carolla) loses his carpentry job and his girlfriend. However, all is... [More]

#115
Adjusted Score: 80846%
Critics Consensus: The harder they come, the harder they fall -- this film shows, in raw, gripping detail, that even skater dudes can't resist the life of the rich and famous. It's more poignant than hard-core, and gives us a portrait of a life run over by the whims of the entertainment industry.
Synopsis: This documentary film explores the life of former skateboarding pro Mark "Gator" Rogowski, who, in 1991, was sentenced to 31... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Helen Stickler

#114

Without Limits (1998)
79%

#114
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

#113
#113
Adjusted Score: 80426%
Critics Consensus: White Men Can't Jump provides a fresh take on the sports comedy genre, with a clever script and a charismatic trio of leads.
Synopsis: Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a white basketball hustler who banks on black players underestimating his skills on the court.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#112

Safety (2020)
80%

#112
Adjusted Score: 82046%
Critics Consensus: Fans of uplifting sports dramas will find Safety in this skillfully told fact-based story about an athlete overcoming adversity.
Synopsis: “Safety” is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#111

Breath (2017)
80%

#111
Adjusted Score: 82277%
Critics Consensus: A coming of age drama with a surfing twist, Breath navigates seemingly familiar waters -- but has surprising depth below the surface.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, in a remote corner of the Western Australian coast, two teenage boys, Pikelet and Loonie, are hungry... [More]
Directed By: Simon Baker

#110

Rudy (1993)
78%

#110
Adjusted Score: 81458%
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

#109

The Short Game (2013)
84%

#109
Adjusted Score: 75000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The world's best 7-year-old golfers travel to Pinehurst, N.C., to compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Greenbaum

#108
Adjusted Score: 82810%
Critics Consensus: You don't have to be a soccer fan to enjoy this stylish, breezy slice of 1970s sports history.
Synopsis: This documentary looks back on a time when soccer briefly captured America's attention. The film profiles the North American Soccer... [More]
Starring: Matt Dillon
Directed By: Paul Crowder, John Dower

#107

The Longest Yard (1974)
79%

#107
Adjusted Score: 81964%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts tough and funny, and led by a perfectly cast Burt Reynolds, The Longest Yard has an interesting political subtext and an excellent climax -- even if it takes too long to get there.
Synopsis: An ex-football star doing time is forced by the warden to organize a team of inmates to play against his... [More]
Directed By: Robert Aldrich

#106

Step Into Liquid (2003)
81%

#106
Adjusted Score: 83141%
Critics Consensus: A perfect companion piece to The Endless Summer.
Synopsis: In a documentary shot in waters all over the globe, director Dana Brown takes on tall waves and surfers who... [More]
Starring: Dana Brown
Directed By: Dana Brown

#105

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#105
Adjusted Score: 83074%
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

#104

Seabiscuit (2003)
77%

#104
Adjusted Score: 84129%
Critics Consensus: A life-affirming, if saccharine, epic treatment of a spirit-lifting figure in sports history.
Synopsis: In the midst of the Great Depression, a businessman (Jeff Bridges) coping with the tragic death of his son, a... [More]
Directed By: Gary Ross

#103

Rocky Balboa (2006)
77%

#103
Adjusted Score: 84717%
Critics Consensus: Implausible but entertaining and poignant, Rocky Balboa finds the champ in fighting form for the first time in years.
Synopsis: Now long-retired, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) runs a Philadelphia eatery and mourns the loss of his beloved wife, Adrian. Yearning to... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#102

The Boxer (1997)
80%

#102
Adjusted Score: 84309%
Critics Consensus: The Boxer is a standard drama that packs a true emotional wallop thanks to the highly tuned central performances.
Synopsis: Rising teen boxer and Belfast native Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) was imprisoned for 14 years after getting involved with the... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#101

Beyond the Mat (1999)
82%

#101
Adjusted Score: 84447%
Critics Consensus: Even if you aren't a fan, Beyond the Mat provides a riveting, perceptive look into the world of professional wrestling by taking a closer look at the people beneath the personas.
Synopsis: "Beyond the Mat," Barry Blaustein's honest, intimate, revealing, highly entertaining, and critically acclaimed behind-the-scenes look at wrestling, takes viewers beyond... [More]
Directed By: Barry W. Blaustein

#100

Miracle (2004)
81%

#100
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

#99

Invictus (2009)
76%

#99
Adjusted Score: 85442%
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

#98

Major League (1989)
83%

#98
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

#97

Goon (2011)
81%

#97
Adjusted Score: 84988%
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

#96

Pelotero (2011)
86%

#96
Adjusted Score: 85317%
Critics Consensus: Gripping and surprisingly nuanced, Ballplayer: Pelotero is a frank exploration of the nature of corruption in baseball recruitment.
Synopsis: Two Dominican baseball players face challenges as they try to make it to the Major Leagues.... [More]

#95

McFarland, USA (2015)
80%

#95
Adjusted Score: 84961%
Critics Consensus: Disney's inspirational sports drama formula might be old hat, but McFarland, USA proves it still works -- especially with a talented director and eminently likable star in the mix.
Synopsis: Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California's Central Valley. Coach White... [More]
Directed By: Niki Caro

#94
#94
Adjusted Score: 85168%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 85546%
Critics Consensus: Muddled overall, but perceptive and brutally realistic, North Dallas Forty also benefits from strong performances by Nick Nolte and Charles Durning. Football fans will likely find it fascinating.
Synopsis: A brutal satire of American professional football in which a veteran pass-catcher's individuality and refusal to become part of the... [More]
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff

#92

The Natural (1984)
82%

#92
Adjusted Score: 85279%
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

#91
Adjusted Score: 86433%
Critics Consensus: Overcomes its formulaic storyline thanks to Anthony Hopkins' warm and endearing portrayal of an age-defying thrill seeker.
Synopsis: New Zealander Burt Munro spent years perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle. The year is 1967, and Burt takes his machine... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 85734%
Critics Consensus: Smartly constructed and scathingly sharp, The Armstrong Lie presents an effective indictment of its unscrupulous subject -- as well as the sports culture that spawned him.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Alex Gibney chronicles Lance Armstrong's attempt to return to cycling, his admission of doping and subsequent fall from grace.... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 87152%
Critics Consensus: An acute survey of the football-obsessed heartland that succeeds as both a stirring drama and a rousing sports movie.
Synopsis: A small, turbulent town in Texas obsesses over their high school football team to an unhealthy degree. When the star... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 86387%
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

#87

Cinderella Man (2005)
80%

#87
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

#86
#86
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

#85

Looking for Eric (2009)
85%

#85
Adjusted Score: 88245%
Critics Consensus: Ken Loach's latest is an uplifting, entertaining and amusing socio-drama featuring a match-winning performance from Eric Cantona.
Synopsis: Ever since his wife (Stephanie Bishop) left him, Eric Bishop's (Steve Evets) life has fallen apart. His two teen sons... [More]
Directed By: Ken Loach

#84

The Rookie (2002)
84%

#84
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

#83

Slap Shot (1977)
83%

#83
Adjusted Score: 84896%
Critics Consensus: Raunchy, violent, and very funny, Slap Shot is ultimately set apart by a wonderful comic performance by Paul Newman.
Synopsis: In the small New England town of Charlestown, the local mill is about to lay off 10,000 workers. The town's... [More]
Directed By: George Roy Hill

#82

Downhill Racer (1969)
85%

#82
Adjusted Score: 85229%
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

#81

The Hurricane (1999)
83%

#81
Adjusted Score: 87862%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington is Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#80

Big Fan (2009)
86%

#80
Adjusted Score: 88740%
Critics Consensus: Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic.
Synopsis: Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt), a parking-garage employee, is a huge fan of the New York Giants. He lives at home... [More]
Directed By: Robert D. Siegel

#79

Happy Valley (2014)
89%

#79
Adjusted Score: 88569%
Critics Consensus: Sober, even-handed, and quietly devastating, Happy Valley illuminates the wreckage of a tragedy while leaving viewers room to draw their own conclusions.
Synopsis: In 2011, longtime Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with multiple counts of child sex abuse, rocking... [More]
Starring: Joe Posnanski
Directed By: Amir Bar-Lev

#78

Jerry Maguire (1996)
84%

#78
Adjusted Score: 89299%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache.
Synopsis: When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#77

Early Man (2018)
80%

#77
Adjusted Score: 90372%
Critics Consensus: Early Man isn't quite as evolved as Aardman's best work, but still retains the unique visuals and sweet humor that have made the studio a favorite among animation enthusiasts.
Synopsis: A plucky cave man named Dug, his sidekick Hognob and the rest of their tribe face a grave threat to... [More]
Directed By: Nick Park

#76

42 (2013)
81%

#76
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

#75

Fire in Babylon (2010)
91%

#75
Adjusted Score: 90169%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Capt. Clive Lloyd transforms his 1970s-era West Indies cricket team into champions who dominate the sport for many years afterward.... [More]
Directed By: Stevan Riley

#74

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#74
Adjusted Score: 88074%
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

#73

Tyson (2008)
85%

#73
Adjusted Score: 90680%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating, emotional, and frank confessional from Iron Mike that sheds a sympathetic light on one of boxing's most controversial icons.
Synopsis: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson reflects on his tumultuous life both in and out of the ring. Filmmaker James... [More]
Starring: Mike Tyson
Directed By: James Toback

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 90204%
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

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 90763%
Critics Consensus: This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.
Synopsis: Filmed over a period of seven years, director Ward Serrill profiles Bill Resler, a university professor who coaches a basketball... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ward Serrill

#70

Warrior (2011)
83%

#70
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

#69

Eight Men Out (1988)
86%

#69
Adjusted Score: 89569%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less than absorbing for non-baseball fans, but nevertheless underpinned by strong performances from the cast and John Sayles' solid direction.
Synopsis: The Chicago White Sox, who are set to play the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series of 1919, are at... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

#68

Eddie the Eagle (2016)
81%

#68
Adjusted Score: 93633%
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

#67

Whip It (2009)
84%

#67
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

#66

Meru (2015)
88%

#66
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]

#65
Adjusted Score: 92277%
Critics Consensus: John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection offers a compelling analysis of what made its subject special - and gives audiences a courtside seat to a pivotal match.
Synopsis: Archival footage showcases top-ranked tennis player John McEnroe competing in the 1984 French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in France.... [More]
Directed By: Julien Faraut

#64

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#64
Adjusted Score: 91181%
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

#63

Up for Grabs (2004)
92%

#63
Adjusted Score: 92144%
Critics Consensus: You don't have to be a baseball fan to be entertained by the absurdities, obsessions, and greed on display in this documentary.
Synopsis: During the final leg of Major League Baseball's 2001 season, Giants batter Barry Bonds scores a historic 73rd home run... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Michael Wranovics

#62

Girlfight (2000)
88%

#62
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

#61

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#61
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

#60

Field of Dreams (1989)
87%

#60
Adjusted Score: 92115%
Critics Consensus: Field of Dreams is sentimental, but in the best way; it's a mix of fairy tale, baseball, and family togetherness.
Synopsis: When Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it,... [More]
Directed By: Phil Alden Robinson

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 92704%
Critics Consensus: Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is compelling viewing even though it spoils the score of the titular college football matchup - and even if you aren't a fan of the sport.
Synopsis: In November 1968, undefeated Ivy League football teams from Harvard and Yale square off in a historic game in which... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kevin Rafferty

#58

Heaven Can Wait (1978)
89%

#58
Adjusted Score: 93320%
Critics Consensus: A throwback to the high-gloss screwball comedies of the 1940s, Heaven Can Wait beguiles with seamless production values and great comic relief from Charles Grodin and Dianne Cannon.
Synopsis: Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, is killed in an auto accident. In the afterlife, Joe... [More]
Directed By: Warren Beatty, Buck Henry

#57

Diego Maradona (2019)
90%

#57
Adjusted Score: 94319%
Critics Consensus: Diego Maradona traces the arc of a standard sports documentary, but illuminates its subject with uncommon clarity and depth.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Asif Kapadia

#56

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#56
Adjusted Score: 97961%
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

#55

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#55
Adjusted Score: 97961%
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

#54

Dream Horse (2020)
88%

#54
Adjusted Score: 94479%
Critics Consensus: Spurred on by an excellent Toni Collette, Dream Horse has a comfortably crowd-pleasing gait that makes the most of the story's familiar formula.
Synopsis: The film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town bartender, Jan... [More]
Directed By: Euros Lyn

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 93097%
Critics Consensus: That it's inferior to the original goes without saying, but Paul Newman and Tom Cruise are a joy to watch, and Martin Scorsese's direction is typically superb.
Synopsis: Former pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman) decides he wants to return to the game by taking a pupil.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 93715%
Critics Consensus: Dogtown and Z-Boys is a colorful, exhilarating look at the skateboarding subculture.
Synopsis: "Dogtown and Z-Boys," directed and co-written by skateboard legend-turned-filmmaker Stacy Peralta, is the story of a group of accidental revolutionaries,... [More]
Directed By: Stacy Peralta

#51

Riding Giants (2004)
93%

#51
Adjusted Score: 94969%
Critics Consensus: A great addition to the existing surfing documentaries.
Synopsis: Part sports history, part thrill ride, skateboarder Stacy Peralta's documentary pays homage to the brave, foolish surfers who dare ride... [More]
Directed By: Stacy Peralta

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 95112%
Critics Consensus: A Prayer Before Dawn is far from an easy watch, but this harrowing prison odyssey delivers rich rewards -- led by an outstanding central performance from Joe Cole.
Synopsis: The amazing true story of Billy Moore, an English boxer incarcerated in Thailand's most notorious prison. Thrown into a world... [More]

#49

Pumping Iron (1977)
91%

#49
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]

#48

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#48
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

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 95221%
Critics Consensus: Bang the Drum Slowly is a touching melodrama that explores the inner workings of a baseball club and its players' personalities with remarkable depth.
Synopsis: When hotshot pitcher Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) is signed to the New York Mammoths, his confident ways quickly win over... [More]
Directed By: John D. Hancock

#46

Red Army (2014)
92%

#46
Adjusted Score: 95522%
Critics Consensus: Fun and fascinating, Red Army delivers absorbing documentary drama for hockey fans and sports novices alike.
Synopsis: Hockey captain Slava Fetisov and four other players form a nearly unbeatable unit known as the "Russian Five," but their... [More]
Directed By: Gabe Polsky

#45

Senna (2010)
93%

#45
Adjusted Score: 96743%
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

#44

The Crash Reel (2013)
96%

#44
Adjusted Score: 96161%
Critics Consensus: Smart, compassionate, and moving, The Crash Reel uses the familiar sport-doc formula to subvert expectations and ask challenging questions about ambition and achievement.
Synopsis: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffers a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. His family stands by his... [More]
Directed By: Lucy Walker

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 97326%
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

#42

Offside (2006)
94%

#42
Adjusted Score: 97022%
Critics Consensus: A spirited film that explores gender politics with comedy, intelligence, and a variety of interesting characters.
Synopsis: Since women are banned from soccer matches, Iranian females masquerade as males so they can slip into Tehran's stadium to... [More]
Directed By: Jafar Panahi

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 96434%
Critics Consensus: While taking full advantage of its subject's colorful baseball career, No No: A Dockumentary also imparts broader, thought-provoking messages that should resonate with viewers who aren't sports fans.
Synopsis: Baseball pitcher Dock Ellis had a controversial life and career, once pitching a no-hitter while high on LSD.... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Radice

#40
Adjusted Score: 96313%
Critics Consensus: Lagaan is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals.
Synopsis: The year is 1893 and India is under British occupation. In a small village, the tyrannical Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne)... [More]
Directed By: Ashutosh Gowariker

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 96374%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: "One Day in September" is a new kind of thriller - one where real lives are at stake and every... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 97498%
Critics Consensus: Gripping even though the outcome is known.
Synopsis: In 1985, two young climbers, Joe Simpson (Brendan Mackey) and Simon Yates (Nicholas Aaron), set out to be the first... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#37

Deep Water (2006)
96%

#37
Adjusted Score: 97632%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts mystery and biography, Deep Water is both an engrossing documentary and an affecting treatise on human folly and obsession.
Synopsis: In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, an inexperienced British sailor, puts up his home as collateral, gains financial backing and enters the... [More]
Starring: Tilda Swinton

#36

Sugar (2008)
92%

#36
Adjusted Score: 97281%
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

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 96296%
Critics Consensus: The equally tragic and heroic story of Yankee's first baseman Lou Gehrig is eloquently told here with an iconic star turn by Gary Cooper.
Synopsis: This moving biographical drama follows the life of revered baseball player Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper). Championed by sportswriter Sam Blake... [More]
Directed By: Sam Wood

#34
Adjusted Score: 98342%
Critics Consensus: The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg is an affectionate, often very funny portrait of a baseball pioneer.
Synopsis: "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" is a humorous and nostalgic documentary about an extraordinary baseball player who transcended... [More]
Directed By: Aviva Kempner

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 98408%
Critics Consensus: Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a fascinating, informative, entertaining and especially introspective account of the American 'enhancement' culture.
Synopsis: This documentary presents the pervasive use of steroids in sports as an indication of the American obsession with winning at... [More]
Starring: Christopher Bell
Directed By: Christopher Bell

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 100203%
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's assured direction - combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman - help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.
Synopsis: Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran Los Angeles boxing trainer who keeps almost everyone at arm's length, except his... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#31

Breaking Away (1979)
95%

#31
Adjusted Score: 98173%
Critics Consensus: At once a touching, funny coming-of-age story and a compelling sports film, Breaking Away is a delightful treat.
Synopsis: Dave (Dennis Christopher) and his working-class friends Cyril (Daniel Stern), Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mike (Dennis Quaid) spend their... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#30

Rush (2013)
89%

#30
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

#29

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#29
Adjusted Score: 99782%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#28

Foxcatcher (2014)
87%

#28
Adjusted Score: 97114%
Critics Consensus: A chilling true crime drama, Foxcatcher offers Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum a chance to shine -- and all three of them rise to the challenge.
Synopsis: When wealthy John du Pont (Steve Carell) invites Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to move to his estate and... [More]
Directed By: Bennett Miller

#27

Creed II (2018)
83%

#27
Adjusted Score: 101853%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#26
#26
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

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 99508%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing documentary that's as much about a time and a place as it is about a fight.
Synopsis: On October 30, 1974, perhaps the most famous heavyweight championship boxing match of all time took place in Kinshasa, Zaire:... [More]
Directed By: Leon Gast

#24
Adjusted Score: 101475%
Critics Consensus: The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki sidesteps sports biopic clichés with a beautifully filmed, well-acted look at the balance between career fulfillment and personal happiness.
Synopsis: Olli Mäki loses a fight for the world championship in the second round by knockout in front of a packed... [More]
Directed By: Juho Kuosmanen

#23

Racing Dreams (2009)
100%

#23
Adjusted Score: 100146%
Critics Consensus: Racing Dreams offers an absorbing peek at the lives of young NASCAR hopefuls that should resonate with racing enthusiasts as well as viewers with no connection to the sport.
Synopsis: Marshall Curry goes behind the scenes of the World Karting Association, a youth racing league that often serves as a... [More]
Starring: Annabeth Barnes
Directed By: Marshall Curry

#22

The Hustler (1961)
96%

#22
Adjusted Score: 99389%
Critics Consensus: Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason give iconic performances in this dark, morally complex tale of redemption.
Synopsis: Story Fast Eddie Felsen (Paul Newman) and his adventures in the world of professional pool. Fast Eddie is a young... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rossen

#21

Undefeated (2011)
96%

#21
Adjusted Score: 99394%
Critics Consensus: It covers familiar sports documentary territory, but Undefeated proves there are still powerful stories to be told on the high school gridiron.
Synopsis: Since its founding in 1899, Manassas High School in North Memphis has never had a football team win a playoff... [More]
Starring: Bill Courtney
Directed By: Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin

#20
Adjusted Score: 100573%
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

#19

Win Win (2011)
94%

#19
Adjusted Score: 100625%
Critics Consensus: Rich, wonderful characters and strong performances populate Win Win, with writer/director Thomas McCarthy continuing to emerge as a great American humanist.
Synopsis: Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a struggling, though not overly ambitious, lawyer. As the court-appointed attorney of Leo Poplar (Burt... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#18

Next Goal Wins (2014)
100%

#18
Adjusted Score: 100410%
Critics Consensus: Finding beauty in sports beyond the mere satisfaction of winning, Next Goal Wins is a moving documentary filled with a lovable array of underdogs.
Synopsis: Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into... [More]
Directed By: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97731%
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

Horse Feathers (1932)
97%

#16
Adjusted Score: 99863%
Critics Consensus: Horse Feathers finds the Marx Brothers in fine madcap form, taking aim at an array of timely targets while serving up classic set pieces.
Synopsis: The Marx Brothers take on higher education and football in this riotous comedy. The newly minted president of Huxley University,... [More]
Directed By: Norman Z. McLeod

#15

Changing the Game (2019)
100%

#15
Adjusted Score: 101415%
Critics Consensus: Urgent and empathetic, Changing the Game takes an affecting and admirably nuanced look at young transgender athletes.
Synopsis: This intimate story takes us into the lives of three high school athletes from across the US -- all at... [More]
Directed By: Michael Barnett

#14

Murderball (2005)
98%

#14
Adjusted Score: 102302%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn't mean the fun has to end.
Synopsis: This documentary introduces the U.S. quad rugby team -- a team composed entirely of young paraplegic men. Using special wheelchairs... [More]
Starring:

#13

Raging Bull (1980)
94%

#13
Adjusted Score: 100240%
Critics Consensus: Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero.
Synopsis: The story of a middleweight boxer as he rises through ranks to earn his first shot at the middleweight crown.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#12

Hoop Dreams (1994)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 101752%
Critics Consensus: One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of all time, Hoop Dreams is a rich, complex, heartbreaking, and ultimately deeply rewarding film that uses high school hoops as a jumping-off point to explore issues of race, class, and education in modern America.
Synopsis: Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St.... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

#11

The Endless Summer (1966)
100%

#11
Adjusted Score: 102249%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown, himself a competition-level surfer, follows surfers Michael Hynson and Robert August on an around-the-world surfing adventure.... [More]
Starring: Bruce Brown
Directed By: Bruce Brown

#10

Bull Durham (1988)
97%

#10
Adjusted Score: 102355%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Costner is at his funniest and most charismatic in Bull Durham, a film that's as wise about relationships as it is about minor league baseball.
Synopsis: In Durham, N.C., the Bulls minor league baseball team has one asset no other can claim: a poetry-loving groupie named... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#9

Maiden (2018)
98%

#9
Adjusted Score: 104747%
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

#8

National Velvet (1944)
100%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103403%
Critics Consensus: National Velvet makes the most of a breakout performance from Elizabeth Taylor, delivering a timeless family-friendly tearjerker that avoids straying into the sentimental.
Synopsis: When Velvet Brown (Elizabeth Taylor), an equine-loving 12-year-old living in rural Sussex, becomes the owner of a rambunctious horse, she... [More]
Directed By: Clarence Brown

#7

Moneyball (2011)
94%

#7
Adjusted Score: 104489%
Critics Consensus: Director Bennett Miller, along with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, take a niche subject and turn it into a sharp, funny, and touching portrait worthy of baseball lore.
Synopsis: Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A's, one day has an epiphany: Baseball's conventional wisdom is all... [More]
Directed By: Bennett Miller

#6

Free Solo (2018)
97%

#6
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]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 106889%
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

#4

The Wrestler (2008)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 107604%
Critics Consensus: Mickey Rourke gives a performance for the ages in The Wrestler, a richly affecting, heart-wrenching yet ultimately rewarding drama.
Synopsis: Aging wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is long past his prime but still ready and rarin' to go... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#3

I, Tonya (2017)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 118231%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong work from Margot Robbie and Alison Janney, I, Tonya finds the humor in its real-life story without losing sight of its more tragic -- and emotionally resonant -- elements.
Synopsis: In 1991, talented figure skater Tonya Harding becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition.... [More]
Directed By: Craig Gillespie

#2

Creed (2015)
95%

#2
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

#1

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 114298%
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

Cobra Kai trailer screencap - William Zabka and Ralph Macchio (YouTube Red)

For Ralph Macchio, returning to the part of Daniel LaRusso — the part he played in three Karate Kid movies from 1984–1989 — was not an easy decision. He even turned down opportunities to return to the role following the release of 1989’s The Karate Kid Part III. But with YouTube Red’s new Cobra Kai series (now Fresh at 100% on the Tomatometer), he finally picks up Daniel’s story some 30 years later. Key to his decision to return was the new streaming series format.

“You can tell these stories like long movies just broken up into say 10 parts,” he recently told Rotten Tomatoes. “In our case, it’s a great narrative way to not have to compete with Iron Man, Batman, and Star Wars.”

As those film franchises are predicated, to some extent, on the nostalgia factor, Macchio noted the interest in 1980s nostalgia also became a factor in coming back.

“If you can do it in a way that is relevant for today and bring in that young audience, as well as the nostalgia, I think you can have a win-win,” he explained.


Ralph Macchio for Cobra Kai (YouTube Red)

The series, which sees Daniel running a string of successful car dealerships in the San Fernando Valley while old nemesis Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) reopens the Cobra Kai dojo, balances the nostalgia with a new set of younger characters, a plan devised by executive producers Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald.

“They had really fresh, passionate, unique, and well-thought-out take on it,” Macchio said.

Zabka, whose Johnny Lawrence hits a run of bad luck as the series begins, said that both he and Macchio felt protective of the characters they played in the original film and wanted to make sure Cobra Kai felt “like a true continuation of that story.”

“They pitched the show to me and it sounded awesome, the way they were going to approach it,” Zabka said. “They assured me all along the way of what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. They’re huge fans of the franchise, and they’re extremely talented. I trusted them, and they delivered.”

Macchio added: “They were the guys that were the kids in the movie theater in the ’80s, that saw this movie a zillion times, and watched it on VHS til it wore out. It just seemed in the right hands. I thought it was a smart and fresh angle into the world.”


Part of that fresh angle was finding Daniel not only successful, but living in an affluent part of the Valley economically far from Reseda and facing mid-life issues Daniel never would’ve dreamed about in the ’80s. Macchio said he smiled when the executive producers first pitched the idea to him. Running the car dealerships, in particular, seemed like a natural extension of waxing Mr. Miyagi’s classic car collection in the original film. Daniel also received a beautiful 1947 Ford convertible from Miyagi for his 16th birthday, so to Macchio, “it wasn’t so out of the realm of possibility that maybe a successful auto dealership might be a place that he would wind up.”

Meanwhile, Johnny finds himself 30 years on living in an apartment very similar to Daniel’s in The Karate Kid and working as a freelance contractor and handyman — a mirror of the occupation Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki “Pat” Morita) held in the original film. But unlike the seeming contentment that work brought Miyagi, Johnny faces a number of other issues from rough clients, a broken family, and his own spiraling sense of self-worth. And though it seems Johnny blames a lot of his problems on losing the 1984 All-Valley tournament, Zabka believes the character is not stuck in a high-school mindset.

“The tournament is not the theme of his life, it’s just one thorn in his side that altered his course, and there are many other complications and details going on around it,” he explained. “He’s dealing with adult issues, but he’s resisted change for sure.”


Part of that resistance is listening to old tunes while cruising the Valley in a vintage — if somewhat disheveled — 1980s Camero.

“He’s an analog man in a digital world,” he continued. “There’s something refreshing about a time when everybody wasn’t on their ‘iComputers,’ as Johnny calls them, and we weren’t so connected. There’s a little bit of autonomy that Johnny’s preserved.”

Though he admitted that Johnny is somewhat stuck in his ways, he thought it was “refreshing” to play someone whose maintained that sense of self across the coming of the Internet and social media.


And as Johnny holds onto that analog sensibility, it eventually leads him to reopen Cobra Kai and revisit the lessons he learned from John Creese (Martin Kove). While it quickly gives him a renewed purpose, it sets Daniel’s world “off its axis,” according to Macchio.

“It’s kind of like walking into the Death Star,” Macchio said of the moment in the Rotten Tomatoes TV sneak peek above when Daniel walks into the new dojo. “He just remembers taking a beating his whole adolescence and what that form of karate is, versus what he has learned through Mr. Miyagi.”

Despite overcoming those challenges and facing opponents like Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) in The Karate Kid Part II and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) in The Karate Kid Part III, Macchio said Daniel makes a startling discovery about Cobra Kai: “It is the kryptonite for Daniel LaRusso.”


William Zabka and Ralph Macchio in art for Cobra Kai (YouTube Red)

The fact that the two characters would reconnect 30 years later and immediately resume a rivalry both thought long buried was always part of the pitch for Cobra Kai.

“Johnny doesn’t really work without Daniel in this universe,” Zabka explained. “Really, Daniel doesn’t work without Johnny. If he didn’t run into Johnny, who knows what he’d be doing? He’d be working with his mom at the restaurant.

“Both of these people affected each other’s lives, positively or negatively,” he continued. “Like it or not, there are events that happen in our lives that affect us and alter our course.”

And in this latest alteration of their shared course, it no longer clear who the hero might be.

“They’re dual protagonists and dual antagonists,” Macchio said, “which is kind of refreshing and challenging.”

Added Zabka: “I think this show gets really, really layered and leveled, in the humanity of [Johnny] and all the characters. What’s really amazing is that [The Karate Kid] has breathed so much and kind of evolved that a show like this could be made and we could explore another side of it.”

Zabka firmly believes the series will reshape the way people perceive The Karate Kid and the conflict between Johnny and Daniel. At the same time, he also thinks a new viewer could come fresh to the show and find things to enjoy.

“If you’re not a Karate Kid fan, if you’ve never seen the movie, you’re going to love Cobra Kai regardless.”


Cobra Kai keyart (YouTube Red)

Macchio agreed. While the early episodes reestablish the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny, the series will give Daniel’s kids and Johnny’s students plenty of focus.

“It really blossoms and becomes a world of relevance for how bullying is dealt with in 2018,” Macchio explained.

Though that theme of bullying was a big part of The Karate Kid films, Cobra Kai will talk about the way it becomes a more complex issue with the arrival of social media.

“Daniel LaRusso would come home with a black eye, you knew what was going on,” Macchio said. “When [his daughter] Samantha maybe comes home, or [Johnny’s student] Miguel or some of these other characters that you’ll see, you can’t quite tell what’s going on because you can’t see it. We deal with that in a subversive way.”

The series will also continue to use the world of the original films as a place to draw from, though neither Macchio nor Zabka would say if Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), the main villain of The Karate Kid Part III and apparent owner of the Cobra Kai name, will ever come to the Valley and deal with Johnny.

“There’s a groundswell of that even on Twitter right now,” Macchio said. “People are asking ‘Is Terry Silver coming back?’ This is great stuff, because we have so many places to draw from and revisit story. Hopefully we’ll be doing this for seasons to come.”

“That’s a way to go,” added Zabka. “There are many ways to go with it, and we shall see.”

Cobra Kai is now streaming on YouTube Red. 


Watch the First Two Episodes of Cobra Kai


From The Karate Kid sequel on YouTube Red to sophomore installments from contemporary standouts like Dear White People on Netflix, this month offers some critically lauded titles for your binge. Catch up on the series that are not to be missed for May.


Cobra Kai 93% (YouTube Red)


What it is: While this is just the first season of Cobra Kai, a series that charts the re-opening of The Karate Kid’s infamous Cobra Kai dojo from none other than Johnny Lawrence himself, the best way to catch up on the series’ characters and rock ’em sock ’em tone is to watch part one (and parts two and three, if you’re so enthused) of the classic 1980s film franchise. 

Why you should watch it: It’s 2018, and nostalgia is the name of the game. Luckily, Cobra Kai from creator Robert Mark Kamen has it in spades. Featuring committed performances from Karate Kid original players Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny, this 10-episode reboot on YouTube Red feels as comfortable and entertaining as ever, and it’s further brought to life by an ensemble of young actors finding their own footing in the discipline of karate. The streaming service releases all 10 episodes of the series’ inaugural season  May 2, with the pilot and second episode available for free.

Where to watch it: Cobra Kai on YouTube Red; movies: AmazonFandangoNOWGoogle Play, HuluMicrosoft, Vudu, YouTube

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours for Cobra Kai on YouTube Red; another 6 hours for The Karate Kid movies 1-3; around 15 hours if you really commit and continue your binge with The Next Karate Kid, starring Pat Morita and Hilary Swank, and 2010’s The Karate Kid remake starring Jaden Smith


Colony 92% (USA)


What it is: In a not-to-distant future, the city of Los Angeles has been taken over by alien hosts who have recalibrated the entire world order; mankind is now subservient to the new reining power. That power is put to the test, however, when one family decides to sneak across their borders in hopes of saving their son, who was separated from them during “the arrival.”

Why you should watch it: Colony doesn’t want for TV star power: from creator Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) to stars Lost vet Josh Holloway and The Walking Dead and Prison Break fan-favorite Sarah Wayne Callies. Their presence alone is enough for many to tune in, but over the course of two standout seasons, the USA sci-drama has grown legs of its own and is grade-A entertainment for fans of the genre. Performances are matched by set design and special effects, but really, it’s a family drama at its core. Season 3 premieres May 2.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle PlayMicrosoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 16 hours


Dear White People 95% (Netflix)


What it is: Based on writer-director Justin Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People takes place on a predominantly white Ivy League college campus and, through the perspective of several different African-American characters, explores and satirizes the racial tensions, microaggressions, and social injustices experienced while there.

Why you should watch it:  As funny as it is revealing, this truly ensemble piece for Netflix fearlessly goes where other programs don’t dare to, not just representing the current social and political climate, but crystallizing lasting truths within it. Airtight scripts and a bevy of standout performances make season 2 a must-watch for fans new and old. Season 2 premieres in full May 4.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (season 1); around 8 if you binge season 2 as well


X Company   (Ovation)

X Company (Ovation)

What it is: This fictional period piece inspired by real, World War II–era events follows five young recruits through their training as spies at a secret Canadian facility called Camp X — and beyond as they infiltrate their European enemies’ headquarters across the Atlantic.

Why you should watch it: This is a period piece that won’t leave you yawning. Sleek, full-throttle espionage-thriller story arcs and memorable characters to match, this CBC-turned-Ovation series is as contemporary a period piece as you’re likely to find. Think more Kingsman and less Downton Abbey. Season 2 premieres May 7.

Where to watch it: On Ovation, Ovation on demand through your cable provider, and on the Ovation NOW app available in the iTunes store and Google Play store

Commitment: Approx. 13 hours


SIX 62% (History)


What it is: Like Company X, Six on History is a fictional series inspired by true events. In this case, it follows the day-to-day at-home lives of SEAL Team Six side-by-side with their high-risk overseas missions. The main plot picks up here when their ex-comrade, Rip, is held hostage by the Taliban and a rescue mission ensues.

Why you should watch it: One name: Walton Goggins. This veteran character actor has been a scene-stealing supporting actor in all genres on screens big and small for years, and after his turn in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Six solidified his leading man chops as Rip, the troubled SEAL needing rescue. Add to the mix a never-better Barry Sloane and a slew of other robust performances, and this character-driven drama surpasses the action-first fare of its wartime-set contemporaries. Season 2 premieres May 28.

Where to watch it: AmazonGoogle Play, Hulu, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 6 hours


Animal Kingdom   (TNT)

What it is: Based on the 2010 Australian feature film from writer-director David Michôd, Animal Kingdom resets itself in Los Angeles and showcases the city’s grittier side through a crime family led by iron-fisted matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin). Our point of entry is Joshua “J” Cody (Finn Cole), a 17-year-old who’s swept up into the family business after his mother dies of a heroin overdose.

Why you should watch it: Ellen Barkin, Ellen Barkin, Ellen Barkin. The series’ thrilling writing and direction led by creator Jonathan Lisco is well worth the watch, but Barkin (Tony and Emmy winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee) brings a conniving richness to Smurf that must be seen to be believed. Season 3 premieres May 29.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle PlayMicrosoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 17 hours


Queen Sugar 98%   (OWN)

What it is: After the unexpected death of their father, estranged siblings Ralph-Angel (a conman fresh out of prison), Nova Bordelon (a New Orleans–based journalist and activist), and Charley Bordelon (an upper-class Los Angeles mother to a teenage son) move to rural Louisiana to claim their inheritance: hundreds of acres of sugarcane farmland.

Why you should watch it: Queen Sugar is the result of women both behind and in front of the camera joining their formidable powers: executive producer Oprah Winfrey; executive producer, director, and writer Ava DuVernay; stars Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner; and other female directors for each episode of seasons 1 and 2. And their work isn’t the only stunning thing to the series; sprawling locations under the Louisiana sun and timely discussions of prejudice across race and sex and issues of mass incarceration make it a thought-provoking family drama. Season 3 premieres May 29.

Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOWGoogle Play, HuluMicrosoftVudu

Commitment: Approx. 22 hours


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 96%    (Netflix)

What it is: After Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is rescued from an underground bunker where she was being held captive by a brainwashing cult leader, she does what any young woman who wants to see the world would do: She moves to New York City! The Netflix comedy is from creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey.

Why you should watch it: Kimmy, her new roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her new boss Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), and her landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) are sure to put a little pep in your step (and for more reasons than the titular hero’s incessant optimism) through their New York misadventures (and misunderstandings). The first half of season 4 premieres May 30.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 19 hours

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, girls in tan speedsuits! Mass hysteria has gripped the nation since the hyperventilating presence of a femme Ghostbusters swooped in with a trailer, becoming the most disliked in YouTube history. Would a Mannequin remake cause the same tribulation? Only time will tell.

For now, as the Ghostbusters franchise crosses the mainstream once again, we look at 24 more ’80s movie remakes, ranked worst to best by Tomatometer! (Only original properties included — no Annie or Conan — while movies like 2011’s The Thing, which explicitly extend the original plot, are excluded.)

This week on home video, we actually had too many good items to choose from, so we were actually forced to cut down by a few. With that in mind, we’d like to point out that, in addition to the titles mentioned below, you can also pick up the Robocop trilogy, Abel Ferrara’s original Bad Lieutenant, and Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans on Blu-Ray this week. Otherwise, you can read on to see all the new releases we have this week, as well as reissued classics of film noir, 80s horror, and 70s Ozploitation, as well as a Disney film and a Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration. Here’s to hoping for more good weeks!



[tomatometer]MovieId=770813677[/tomatometer]

The Karate Kid (2010)

The original 1984 film The Karate Kid, directed by Oscar-winner John Avildsen (Rocky), was something of a phenomenon, earning an Oscar nom for Pat Morita (the famous Mr. Miyagi) and spawning all kinds of merchandise to go along with its animated series and three sequels. Furthermore, it was a cultural touchstone for children (and young adults) who grew up in the 1980s, with heaps of nostalgic affection still lavished upon it today. So it was with some understandable trepidation that audiences looked upon this year’s remake/reboot of the franchise, starring box office giant Will Smith’s precocious progeny, Jaden, and aging martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. How exactly does one remake so beloved a film, with all its cult trappings, and avoid complete disaster? Well, it would seem that director Harald Zwart (The Pink Panther 2) may have gotten some of it right. Aside from the change of venue (and choice of martial art), 2010’s The Karate Kid manages to hit many of the same notes the original did, thanks in part to the chemistry between its two leads and in particular to Jackie Chan’s nuanced dramatic performance. With a relatively solid 67% on the Tomatometer, the updated film surprised a lot of folks with its not-bad-ness, and though it doesn’t seem likely to become the nostalgic favorite that the original has become, you could definitely find worse inspirational flicks for the kids of the aughts to grow up with.



[tomatometer]MovieId=770785488[/tomatometer]

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Speaking of trepidation for remakes of beloved 80s flicks, we come to 2010’s reboot of the A Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise. The original Nightmare was a Wes Craven classic, a moody, atmospheric tale fraught with tension that utilized its limited budget to the best of its potential and squeezed out some effective horror. Unfortunately, this year’s retelling of the story, which centers around a suspected child murderer who is burned alive in an act of vigilante justice and returns to haunt the dreams of his killers’ children, appears to have missed the mark almost completely. First of all, in the eyes of many, recasting the role of Freddy Krueger (originally played with relish by Robert Englund) is a mistake right off the bat, even if you’re replacing him with a capable actor like Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children, Watchmen) – “No one can replace Robert Englund!” On top of that, critics agree that while the film seemed to get some of the aesthetics right, it lacked the depth and subversive twists of the original, which made it so memorable and allowed for a slew of sequels to be made. At just 13% on the Tomatometer, 2010’s Nightmare falls far short of its original (95%) and probably won’t win over any new fans, but if even out of sheer curiosity, it’s available for you this week on home video.



[tomatometer]MovieId=770682093[/tomatometer]

Splice

The creation and mutation of life are themes often explored in the realms of science fiction and horror, but one film this year took ideas born from those themes and made them just a tad more personal, earning equal parts bewilderment, repulsion, amusement, and praise from critics. That movie was Splice, the Vincenzo Natali-directed, Guillermo del Toro-produced film about a pair of wunderkind geneticists who take it upon themselves to combine human DNA with one of their otherworldly creations in spite of explicit instructions not to do so. When the creature is “born,” Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) name it Dren, adopt it as their own “child,” and surreptitiously spirit her away to a secluded farmhouse, where Dren matures rapidly and begins thinking for herself. Critics felt that the premise was novel, and that the acting and story served the premise well, earning it a Certified Fresh 74% on the Tomatometer. However, though the film is certainly a breath of fresh air for genre enthusiasts looking for something new and original, Splice probably isn’t for everyone. Without spoiling anything, we’ll just take this moment to say that some very unusual and potentially disturbing things happen in the latter half of the film, things that some may find off-putting and possibly even offensive, while others may find them alternately amusing. Nevertheless, this is one of those conversation-starters, and despite its wild climax, it certainly could be a sci-fi thriller worth your time.



[tomatometer]MovieId=770817002[/tomatometer]

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Here’s a film that never should have gotten as much press as it did, but when you consider its thoroughly gagworthy premise, it’s probably not hard to imagine why it generated so much buzz. For a couple of months earlier this year, movie news sites were aflutter with anticipation over a movie whose central idea combined elements of “torture porn” with some traditional horror cliches to realize the image of three half-naked humans on their hands and knees, crawling in a sort of sordid train of death. But let’s back up and add some context: two young coeds are touring through Germany in a rental car when one of their tires blows out. Like anyone in a similar situation might, the two girls freak out and seek help at a nearby house, which happens to be the residence of a very evil surgeon whose greatest dream is to create – you guessed it – a human centipede by surgically attaching his victims, mouth-to-anus. Now, beyond the scatological grotesquerie, critics say there are some genuinely visceral thrills to be had, and The Human Centipede (First Sequence)‘s effectiveness may even be helped by some of its B-movie qualities, but in the end, most felt that the film was undone by its gross-out themes. At 48% on the Tomatometer, though, it’s still not too badly rated for its genre, so you horror heads out there who may have missed it in the theaters may now get your chance to see what all the hype was about.



[tomatometer]MovieId=770804234[/tomatometer]

The Secret of Kells

Though there are certainly more and more animated films being released every year, few of them seem to master the balance between artistry, storytelling, and visuals. However, every once in a while, there comes a movie that reminds us there’s more to animation than Pixar and Dreamworks. The Secret of Kells is an Irish animated film about a young apprentice in 9th Century Ireland who ventures into the surrounding forest and experiences a fantastical world outside the monastery he’s typically not allowed to leave. This original work is the product of co-director Tomm Moore, who also came up with the story, and is produced by the same folks who brought us The Triplets of Belleville, and not only was it successful enough to garner a Certified Fresh 92% rating, but it also secured a Best Animated Feature nomination at the Oscars. In other words, you may never have heard of the film, but chances are that it’s completely worth your while to check it out, especially if you’re a fan of animation.



[tomatometer]MovieId=9980[/tomatometer]

Beauty and the Beast (1991) – Diamond Edition Blu-Ray

Before their gifted step-child Pixar took over the cartoon landscape, Disney experienced a golden period of renaissance in feature animation during the late ’80s and early ’90s, and Beauty and the Beast is arguably the jewel in their crown. Drawn from the 18th-century French tale (which also inspired Jean Cocteau’s surreal 1946 movie), the film follows a vain prince who’s been transformed into a monster that must prove himself capable of true love if the hairy curse is to be lifted. Rendered in stunning old school 2D with elements of CGI seamlessly mixed in, the unlikely romance between the Beast and provincial girl Belle was the first animation to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and it holds up as a classic nearly 20 years later. The songs, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, are witty and heartfelt, the supporting characters funny and charming, and the fairytale visual design is among the best of Disney’s modern era. The three-disc Blu-ray (which also comes with the DVD version) is loaded with more extras than Belle’s musical dinner banquet, with two versions of the film (theatrical and extended), picture-in-picture features, commentaries, deleted scenes and a near-three-hour interactive behind the scenes doco. Definitely one to treasure.



[tomatometer]MovieId=15615[/tomatometer]

The Exorcist Blu-Ray

In 1971, William Peter Blatty published a fictionalized account of a real-life exorcism that was performed by the Catholic church on a young boy in the 1940s. Two years later, director William Friedkin, who had won the Best Director Oscar for The French Connection the same year Blatty’s novel was published, released the big screen adaptation of Blatty’s book, The Exorcist. The film was a monumental success, earning the title of most profitable horror film of all time as well as a whopping ten Academy Award nominations, and today, the film is frequently listed either at or near the top of every “scariest horror movie” list. The story centers around young Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair in a career-defining role), daughter to actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), who begins exhibiting dangerous and unstable behavior. After exhaustive medical examination, Chris decides to call in a priest for an exorcism, and the rest is head-spinning, projectile-vomiting history. This week, appropriately in time for Halloween, we’re treated to a Blu-Ray booklet featuring both the theatrical cut of the film and the Extended Director’s Cut. In addition to the hi-def transfer, you’ll also get several of the previously available special features, like commentaries featuring Friedkin and Blatty and the 1998 documentary on the making of the film, as well as a brand new 3-part documentary that explores not only the movie’s production, but also its legacy, with never-before-seen footage. This is a definite must-have (or, at least, must-rent) for horror enthusiasts.



[tomatometer]MovieId=16235[/tomatometer]

Mad Max Blu-Ray

These days the word “mad” has some unfortunate connotations for Mel Gibson, what with the abusive phone calls, racial slurs and loopy worldview (to put it kindly), but back in 1979 it perfectly defined what may be his most enduring character. Police officer Max Rockatansky (irony duly noted) was one taut, angry dude, having had his life shredded when a gang runs down his wife and child in cold blood. Set in a barren post-Apocalyptic future, director George Miller’s debut feature is an exercise in extracting maximum thrills from a minimum budget — aside from Gibson’s iconic, no-nonsense turn, the movie boasts some killer car chases and a memorable gallery of hoods that could only have existed in the Australian outback. The Blu-ray/DVD pack comes with film critic commentary and a couple of documentaries, though no input from Miller himself is a little disappointing. Best of all, though, audiences can finally see the film as it was made, with this release including “the original Australian language track,” which was redubbed by American actors for the film’s US release.



[tomatometer]MovieId=17027[/tomatometer]

The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – Blu-Ray

Movie stars don’t come much cooler than Humphrey Bogart: suave, roguish, witty, and always calm and collected in the presence of danger, Bogey epitomizes the larger-than-life persona of the Studio era. Put him together with master director John Huston, and you’ve got a formula for cinematic perfection. If you truly love movies, you’ve got a reason to rejoice this week, as two of the most iconic Bogart/Huston collaborations — The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre — hit the shelves this week in spiffy new Blu-Ray packaging. In Falcon, Bogey stars as Sam Spade — perhaps the most iconic of movie private eyes – who’s on the trail of the titular object of desire, and along the way he encounters a number of questionable characters (played with mastery by Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet). It’s nearly perfect thriller: dark, cynical, and filled with double and triple crosses, this is where film noir begins. Bogey was far less appealing in Treasure, and the result was a box-office dud upon its release in 1948. However, time has been kind to the film, in which Bogart plays a wage worker who becomes consumed with greed when searching for a hidden stash of gold. Both discs come loaded with extras, including documentary featurettes, cartoons, and newsreels, and radio programs featuring the stars.



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Grindhouse (Special Edition) Blu-Ray

Quentin Tarantion and Robert Rodriguez have made clear with several of their films their undying love for the stripped down, lo-fi era of B-movie filmmaking, and if anyone ever doubted where the two maverick directors got much of their inspiration, the pair put those questions to rest when they teamed up to release the 2007 double feature Grindhouse. Rodriguez’s Planet Terror focuses on a go-go dancer named Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) who must fight off a zombie infection with the help of some friends, while Tarantino’s Death Proof chronicles the exploits of a serial killer stuntman with a deadly car who chooses to harass the wrong foursome of young women. Grindhouse was also famous for its numerous faux trailers, which played between the two features, and one of which was eventually made into a real movie (Machete). But aside from getting both Planet Terror and Death Proof on Blu-Ray in the same package, you’ll also get a ton of bonus features with this Special Edition, including several that were previously available and even more that are exclusive to the Blu-Ray. The latter includes segments dedicated to the makeup effects of Planet Terror, the hot rods of Death Proof, extended versions of some of the faux trailers, and more.

Written by Ryan Fujitani, Luke Goodsell, and Tim Ryan

This weekend, eleven-year-old Jaden Smith defeated four grown men in a battle of the 1980s remakes as The Karate Kid soared above expectations easily outgunning The A-Team at the North American box office. Kid powered its way to an estimated $56M over the weekend from 3,663 theaters for a sensational $15,288 average.

Produced for only $40M, the PG-rated film presented a modern take on the 1984 Ralph Macchio-Pat Morita favorite and starred Jackie Chan as the mentor. The setting was shifted to Beijing and despite the title, the film centered on kung fu instead of karate. Sony launched the marketing campaign with a highly effective trailer that used the son of Will to generate excitement with kids while also using nostalgia to pump up parents and other adults. Add in an end-credit song from teen sensation Justin Bieber (with a rap by Jaden) and a much-talked-about promotion at last weekend’s MTV Movie Awards and young people were hyped up and ready to buy tickets.

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Despite a lengthy 140-minute running time, Karate pleased audiences with an encouraging A CinemaScore grade and even scored an exceptionally high 94% in the top two boxes from exit polls. Females made up 53% of the crowd while 56% was under 25. It was the ninth biggest June opening of all-time and sixth best when only counting live-action films. Will Smith routinely opens summer blockbusters in the $50M range and contributes to his own soundtracks and now has a son following in his footsteps. Overseas potential is formidable especially across Asia.

Opening far back in second place was The A-Team with an estimated $26M coming in below expectations. The Fox release launched very wide in 3,535 locations and averaged $7,355 per theater. A remake of the 1980s action television series, the PG-13 film starring Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper witnessed a slight 4% dip on Saturday and may not have the positive buzz needed for a long summer run. Reviews were mixed. In the battle of the 80s flicks, The A-Team and The Karate Kid were expected to have been much closer in ticket sales this weekend.

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After a three-week reign at number one, Shrek Forever After continued to show off the strong legs seen by most 3D films these days. The ogre flick declined by only 38% which was impressive given how much Karate Kid was taking away business from family audiences. Forever broke the $200M mark and boosted its cume to $210.1M.

Universal’s Get Him to the Greek enjoyed the smallest decline among last weekend’s four new releases dipping 43% to an estimated $10.1M in fourth place. The raunchy rock star comedy has collected $36.5M in ten days and could be headed for a finish in the neighborhood of $65M. Fellow sophomore Killers fell by 48% to an estimated $8.2M giving Lionsgate $30.7M. Look for a $50M final.

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Filling up the next four spots were a video game, comic strip, television show, and comic book all turned into feature films. Tumbling 53% to an estimated $6.6M was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which has collected just $72.3M in 17 days for Disney. Fox’s Marmaduke fell 48% in its second round to an estimated $6M putting the ten-day sum at $22.3M. Falling 55% to an estimated $5.5M in its third lap was Sex and the City 2 which has taken in a disappointing $84.7M to date.

Iron Man 2 came within a hair of joining the triple-century club with its weekend estimate of $4.6M. Off 43%, the Paramount release jumped up to $299.3M putting it at number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters surpassing the $296.6M of last November’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The horror pic Splice rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.9M, down 61%, for a weak ten-day total of $13.1M.

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The top ten films grossed an estimated $141.6M which was up 10% from last year when The Hangover remained in the top spot with $32.8M; but down 19% from 2008 when The Incredible Hulk debuted at number one with $55.4M.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a pair of 1980s reboots, one featuring a band of ragtag mercenaries (The A-Team, starring Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper), and another about an aspiring martial artist (The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan). What do the critics have to say?



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The A-Team

Don’t you love it when a plan (or, in this case, a remake) comes together? And since we’re asking questions, is there anything wrong with a big dumb action flick every once in a while? The critics would likely answer yes to the former question, but on the later they’re largely split — at least in the case of The A-Team. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the 1980s, this is the tale of a crack commando unit that was sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. They promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade; today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune, hoping to defeat the bad guys and clear their names. The pundits say if you like mindless action with a wink and a nod, you could do a lot worse than this reboot, which executes its set pieces with plenty of panache. If, however, you’re a fan of character development and plot, you’ve come to the wrong place.



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The Karate Kid

A treasured highlight of 1980s mainstream cinema, The Karate Kid may not be a classic, but it’s got plenty of heart and charm. So, how does the remake fare? Not too badly, say critics, even if this appealing, energetic movie adheres to the plot of the original like it’s a sacred text. Jaden Smith stars as Dre, a youngster who moves to China with his mother; after running afoul of the local bully, Dre comes under the tutelage of the wise, subdued Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), who teaches him a thing or two about both martial arts and life. The pundits say this Karate Kid is slickly mounted, and benefits greatly from strong performances (particularly Chan, who lends heft and melancholy to the Mr. Miyagi role). However, some find the note-for-note retelling of the first Kid simply reinforces how dated the material is. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Jackie Chan’s best reviewed movies.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Winter’s Bone, drama about a 17-year-old’s desperate search for her father in an attempt to save her family’s home, is at 100 percent.

  • Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, an intimate documentary portrait of the comedian and talk show host, is at 89 percent.
  • Reel Injun, a doc about the history of Native Americans in cinema, is at 83 percent.

  • Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, a period drama about the liaison between the legendary fashion designer and the great composer, is at 56 percent.

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