It’s that time of year again. The kids are back in school, and pretty soon the weather will begin to feel cool and crisp. Sunday cookouts will be replaced by a bunch of friends crowded around the television with beer, chips, and dip. It will be loud, it will be energetic, and it will be a ton of fun, as it is every year. It’s football season!
As we wait to see how the season plays out — whose team comes up from behind, which unexpected player becomes a star, and who crashes and burns — we shouldn’t forget that there are dozens of movies specifically about this exact moment in time. Here is our round-up of the best football movies from the last few years.
8. Friday Night Lights — 2004
Before we had the hit television show (who else misses that as much as we do?!) we had the movie that inspired it, starring Billy Bob Thornton. Directed by Peter Berg, the film follows the high school football team at Permian High School. Much like in the show, the city (Odessa, Texas) is wild for its team. It’s the ultimate way to get pumped about your own local high school team.
7. The Replacements — 2000
This comedy stars Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, and Jon Favreau. When a pro-football league finds itself without players due to a strike mid-season, coaches are left to finish out the season nonetheless. They hire replacement players to get the job done. We have Hackman doing a fantastic job as only he can, in a movie that was directed by Howie Deutch (director of Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful).
6. Varsity Blues — 1999
James Van Der Beek plays the talented backup quarterback for his high school’s team, in a town obsessed with football. The film, which has plenty of comedy built into the drama, follows the team through a rough season, as the players simultaneously deal with the trials and tribulations of growing up, and a tough coach in their faces.
5. Remember the Titans — 2000
In this biographical film, Denzel Washington plays coach Herman Boone. He attempts to integrate the football team at T. C. Williams High School in the early ’70s in Virginia. While the movie is a bit (a lot) predictable, its heart is in a good place and there are some great football moments.
4. The Longest Yard — 1974
If you needed a more classic option on this list, this one is for you. We have Burt Reynolds starring as a former NFL player who is arrested following a police chase. While in prison, he recruits a group of prisoners to play football against their coaches. Sure, it’s not your typical football movie, but it’s a lot of fun.
3. Jerry Maguire — 1996
This one basically needs no introduction, but we can go through the motions anyway. We have the talented football player that no one will touch (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his fierce agent (Tom Cruise) who can’t get any other clients. While the moments on the field are few and far between, the movie has a ton of heart, and it did win Gooding Jr. and Oscar.
2. Rudy — 1993
No football list would be complete without Rudy, the story of the underdog (played by Sean Astin, pre-Lord of the Rings.) With lifelong dreams of playing football for Notre Dame (and a lot of bad luck along the way), Rudy finally gets the chance to play for the Irish. It’s a feel-good movie that makes almost any dream seem possible.
1. The Blind Side — 2009
In the film that would win Sandra Bullock the Academy Award for Best Actress, we have the true story of Michael Oher and his unlikely climb out of an underprivileged childhood right into the NFL. The movie has lots of humor, a lot of soul, and some great moments on the field.