I am definitely a movie person. I love movies. I love comedies, dramas, action movies, foreign films and romantic comedies. I even watch dance movies with my wife. Not really my thing, but I’ll still watch them because I love movies. However, there is one genre that really irks me: sports movies. I just can’t really get into them.
For one thing, you always know how the movie is going to end. The good guy wins. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Rocky), but this is definitely the rule. This defect can be set aside, but the real issue I have is that pretty much every sports movie is the exact same. They might feature different sports, and they may have different settings, but they all have the same story. To illustrate my point, I present the plot outline of every sports movie ever made with examples on some points.
– Introduction to the underdog, illustrated with a crushing defeat, taunting by winners and depression
– New coach introduced (Might Ducks, Hoosiers, A League of their Own, Coach Carter, etc.)
– Everyone hates coach for unorthodox ideas (possible racial tension) (Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Mighty Ducks)
– Team trains
– Team loses (racial tension flares)
– Reluctant Savior introduced (Mighty Ducks, Bad News Bears, Remember the Titans)
– Coach pushes harder
– Team starts to come together (racial tension starting to ease)
– Reluctant Savior rejected by team
– Reluctant Savior proves himself
– Team accepts the Reluctant Savior
– Intense training montage (racial tension gone)
– Team begins to win
– Star player has secret academic problems, cannot play (Glory Road, Coach Carter)
– Coach who is surprisingly smart tutors player
– Team gets cocky, slacks off (Glory Road, Karate Kid, Rocky, Major League, Days of Thunder, Teen Wolf, etc.)
– Team loses game due to lack of training
– Team loses confidence
– Impassioned speech
– Team trains
– Big game
– Team is losing at half time
– Cocky team captain gives up spot on field so season-long benchwarmer can play (Rudy, Remember the Titans)
– Unifying chant/cheer (Angels in the Outfield, Rudy, Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, Mighty Ducks, etc.)
– Underdog defeats team that beat them in the beginning (All of them)
Sound familiar? The nice thing for the studios is that the bold section can be repeated verbatim in as many sequels they care to produce.
And so the lessons we are to take away form these movies are:
1. Underdogs aren’t really underdogs because they’re always going to win in the end.
2. If you can make the crowd do something ridiculous yet somehow unifying, you will win.
3. Years of ingrained prejudice can be forgotten if the coach yells loud enough.
4. If someone doesn’t want to play a sport, that means they are actually really good at it.