I just saw We Are Marshall for the first time this afternoon, and I gotta tell ya it has made the top of my long but distinguished football movie list.
Jul 14, 2007, 3:52:05 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ
A series of columns from earlier in the month on football movies brought a huge outpouring of comments, suggestions and disagreements from you folks. It was great to get all of your e-mails, and there were many, too many to quote all of them here.
But I will try.
Let’s start with Nate Troup who wrote: “Great article, but come on, you have to rank them in order or preference, not alphabetical. Make a stand!”
OK Nate, I’m always willing to take a stand. Here’s my top 10 list in order of preference:
1. Everybody’s All-American
2. All The Right Moves
3. Brian’s Song
4. Friday Night Lights
5. North Dallas Forty
6. Horse Feathers
7. Remember The Titans
8. The Program
9. Number One
10. We Are Marshall
There was outrage from several writers, including Don, Nathan and Chris that Rudy was left out of the top 10. Understand that if it were the top 11, then Rudy would have made the list. It was a little too formula for my taste, although the same could be said for Remember The Titans and We Are Marshall. But I picked those movies because they involved bigger issues and entire teams, rather than simply one player.
Michael Anderson was adamant that I missed the boat. “What about the best football movie of all time, Any Given Sunday? Any Given Sunday is incredible and actually gives the feeling of playing in the game … I’d honestly have to say this movie blows every cheesy movie you’ve just mentioned out of the water. Way to be generic.”
Not generic Michael, it’s just that I found Any Given Sunday to be a cartoon created by Oliver Stone who decided to create a picture of the game that had more to do with his paranoid perception than reality. There were some very good performances in the movie, as I mentioned with Al Pacino as the coach and Jamie Foxx as the young quarterback. Jim Brown was great as an assistant coach as well. It just wasn’t a very good movie.
Steve Clary wrote, “Since I work with troubled youths, we really enjoyed Gridiron Gang. Based on a true story, it made an impact with the kids I support.”
Dakota Watson couldn’t understand how I could leave the movie Radio off the list. “That is a great movie about a city coming together because of a football team. It’s one of the best football movies in my opinion. Cuba Gooding Jr. did a great job.”
William Applebee wanted to make sure I didn’t forget Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty and Jack Warden. Didn’t forget it at all. It’s a good farce and I enjoyed how they tried to change the outcome of Super Bowl XIV with the Rams beating the Steelers, instead of the other way around.
Tall Paul has one change on my list. “I would replace Friday Night Lights with Varsity Blues … I could totally relate to Varsity Blues; every team had each one of those characters on it from the coach to the backup quarterback to the hot shot to the blubbering sofite tough-guy lineman”
Stephen wanted to put in a word for Something About Joey, the TV movie about Heisman Trophy winning running back John Cappeletti and his younger brother Joey who was suffering from leukemia.
Lee Eldridge thought the performances of Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear in Invincible deserved mention, and he loves the “cheesy and somehow heart warming” Heaven Can Wait. Bruce, Spencer and Jason were also supporters of Invincible and Wahlberg.
Butler Hendrix wanted to nominate Ernest Borgnine, who portrayed Vince Lombardi in the made-for-TV movie from 1973 A Legend in Granite. I haven’t seen that movie in probably 30 years. Thanks for the memory.
Jeff Nicholls thought The Replacements should have been on the top 10 list. “I believe it hit home the importance of team work and believing in the guy next to you,” Jeff wrote.
E.W. Harrel wanted to add “Necessary Roughness, over the top and too sappy in places, but darned fun to watch. The Longest Yard, the original not the remake. Somehow Burt Reynolds made you believe he was a quarterback … and Little Giants.”
John Geary had his own top 10 list in order: North Dallas Forty, The Longest Yard (original), Knute Rockne All-American, Fighting Back, Horse Feathers, Paper Lion, Jerry Maguire, All the Right Moves, Invincible and Any Given Sunday.
John Sager added his top 10 list: Brian’s Song, North Dallas Forty, Rudy, All the Right Moves, The Program, The Longest Yard (original), Everybody’s All-American, Varsity Blues, Any Given Sunday, Remember the Titans.
Numerous readers mentioned that John Amos, a veteran actor in television and the movies had once played for the Chiefs. That’s tough to find, but they were right; he was signed as a rookie free agent in 1967 out of Colorado State University. Amos was a 6-2, 225-pound fullback who didn’t survive the pre-season. By 1970, he had his first acting job and he’s been working in the business ever since, including a stint on the TV series Good Times.
David Guesnier and Skip Harvey both remembered Buck Buchanan having a non-speaking cameo in Kentucky Fried Movie. This was one of the first movie spoofs from the Zucker Brothers, who later created the movie Airplane and the Naked Gun series.
Deborah Mossinghoff made mention of recently watching an episode of The Sopranos and hearing a familiar voice. It belonged to Len Dawson, and was taken from a segment of the HBO show Inside the NFL.
The Shadow pulled from the past an appearance on the television series The Invaders in 1967 where former Chiefs draft pick and quarterback Pete Beathard played an orderly. He also mentioned the 1972 movie Soul Soldier, which included Otis Taylor in a quiet role as an extra in the movie about the Buffalo Soldiers. The Shadow also remembered a brief appearance by Dawson in the 1975 movie The Love Butcher where he played a photographer.
Tony Greco mentioned Johnnie Morton and his appearance in Jerry Maguire. Thanks Tony; I knew he was in the movie but his appearance was obviously as memorable as his time with the Chiefs, otherwise easily forgettable.
Several writers mentioned Tony Gonzalez had a role in a made for TV movie called A.I. Assault. I missed that one.
And then there are spoil sports like Wayne Thogmartin, who wrote: “Who cares? Where’s the star rating scheme? If it were on this page, you’d get one star from me. All I want is Chiefs minutiae. Tell me about the battle for the third corner, tell me about the development of Svitek, what’s up with Herbert Taylor, James Newby and George Batiste? I could give a rat’s *#$@ about football movies.”
Wayne, since when did you stop having fun in your life? Movies, especially football movies are nothing but fun and let’s face it, the first week in July is not much on news, or at least news you would really want. Training camp is coming, there will be plenty of time for Chiefs minutiae. Live a little Wayne. Smile and go rent some of these movies. You are obviously in need of a football fix.