Excited for Mercer’s opening game day? Just can’t quite wait until kickoff? Do you need something to tide you over? The Cluster has a list of football movies that just might do the trick until the tailgate begins:
Rudy- If true inspirational stories are your thing, then pick up “Rudy”. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger is your typical blue-collar boy who grows up admiring Notre Dame football. His entire family lives and breathes football, but he is always told he is not smart enough and doesn’t have the grades. He does what is expected of him and follows his father and brothers to employment at a local steel mill.
After a tragic accident, which results in the death of his best friend, Rudy has a life crisis and decides to leave his family and friends to pursue Notre Dame. He is accepted into Holy Cross College, a junior college in the area, and does everything he can to get into Notre Dame. We won’t give away the end, but this story is one you will always remember.
The Longest Yard (Original 1974 Film) – Burt Reynolds, as Paul “Wrecking” Crewe, stars in this movie about prisoners who play football against their guards. Despite a scandal that took place during Crewe’s football career, he wins the trust of his fellow prisoners.
At the insistence of the prison guards, Crewe and the inmates form a football team With a comedic twist that is sure to lighten up your football movie list, “The Longest Yard” will keep you laughing for the rest of the evening.
Radio- Starring Cuba Gooding Jr, as Radio and Ed Harris as Head Coach Harold Jones, this true story is sure to bring tears to anyone’s eyes. Radio is a mentally handicapped boy who often lingers around the football field of T.L.Hanna High School in South Carolina. After some football players play a cruel prank on Radio, Coach Jones then brings Radio into his fold, allowing him to assist with the football team.
The movie focuses on the relationship between Radio and Jones, as well as Radio and the townspeople, and is tied together with the underlying football theme. At the time of the movie’s release in 2003, Radio was still participating in football games and was still considered an 11th grader at T.L.Hanna at the age of 63.
Varsity Blues- For those of you who prefer a less serious football movie and more gratuitous nudity and underage drinking, this might be the flick for you. James Van Der Beek, during his Dawson’s Creek days, stars in this movie along with other B-list actors such as Paul Walker, Amy Smart and Ali Larter. Jon Vioght delivers as Coach Bud Kilmer, the typical “evil” coach whose whole life revolves around winning football in his small Texas town.
Van Der Beek’s character, Mox, is your typical academically gifted kid who happens to also be the backup quarterback. When his best friend, Lance Harbor, goes out with an injury, Mox suddenly steps up to the plate and delivers in a way never thought possible.
Remember the Titans- We saved this one for last because it has Mercer ties. Real life Coach Bill Yoast attended Mercer University, after having served time in the Air Force and also attending Georgia Military College. He was also a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity on campus.
This movie also takes place during racial desegregation, and is the story of the first integrated football team in this Virginia town. Coach Yoast is set to make the Virginia Football Hall of Fame when his head coaching job is taken from him and given to Herman Boone, an African-American coach.
Throughout the movie, racial themes are addressed. Not to give away an ending, in case you have not seen it, but a tragedy will bring these players closer together at the end. This is a good movie to watch because it also coincides well with Mercer’s 50th anniversary of desegregation.