In our weekly feature, we highlight movies that work for the young and the young at heart. This weekend's picks are a few ageless sports classics.
Gene Hackman stars in one of his most iconic roles as Norman Dale, a failed college basketball coach. Dale gets a second chance, though, when he's called upon to lead a high school team from a small Indiana town. The story, based loosely on the Milan high school team that won the national championship in 1954, is a timeless, rousing tale of underdogs that work together to overcome the odds.
The basketball scenes are thrilling, and the incredible electronic score by Jerry Goldsmith was nominated for an Oscar. Also nominated was supporting actor Dennis Hopper, playing the town drunk and resident hoops genius who's given a chance by Dale to prove himself as the assistant coach.
This 1993 cult classic is sort of the "Stand by Me" of coming-of-age baseball movies. Fifth grader Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new town, and has trouble making new friends. Eventually, he ends up playing baseball at the sandlot with a bunch that does welcome him into their group. When he loses his stepfather's baseball over the fence, it's up to the boys to figure out how to recover it from the yard's dog, known as "the beast."
Those and other adventures with the sandlot kids become Scottie's most treasured childhood memories. Years later, he's a sports journalist, covering the baseball career of one of his sandlot buddies, now a player for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Remember the Titans
"Remember the Titans" is based on the true-life story of high school football Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), tasked in 1971 with integrating an all-white squad and all-black squad at T.C. Williams School in Alexandria, Virginia. Against several formidable challenges, Boone and his players not only survive together, but thrive both on and off the football field.
Regarded as one of the best football films at any level, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Disney flick is a highlight for everyone involved, especially Denzel Washington as the team's tough but fair leader. The movie also features an early appearance by future superstar Ryan Gosling as one of the team's players.
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