Stuck streaming: 20 sports movies that shoot and score
These sports hits are now streaming and help fill our sports void
Sports are on hold, but sports movies aren't.
And aside from reruns of old sporting events on TV, sports movies are the closest we're going to get to on-court or on-field action anytime soon.
Sports movies are inspiring, dramatizing the best of athletes and coaches and miracle last-second plays, and teaching life lessons along the way.
Sometimes they're clichéd, sure, but we roll with it because we all love a happy ending, and sports movies usually provide them. Much more than actual sports, anyhow.
Here are 20 sports movies currently streaming that help fill our sports void. Watch 'em again or watch 'em for the first time, just watch 'em. Stay safe, stay streaming.
20 Streaming Sports Movies that Shoot and Score
"Jerry Maguire" (Netflix) — Tom Cruise plays a sports agent who suffers a crisis of conscience in Cameron Crowe's 1996 sports drama/ love story that made a star out of Renée Zellweger, entered the phrase "show me the money!" into the lexicon and, as a bonus for Detroit sports fans, features a quickie cameo from former Lions coach Wayne Fontes. (R, 139 mins, 1996)
"Undefeated" (Netflix) — The title of this Oscar-winner doesn't refer to a win-loss record but rather the spirit of the Manassas Tigers, a Memphis high school football team that has never won a playoff game in its 110-year history. Directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin focus on coach Bill Courtney and his players and tell an extraordinary human story that just happens to include some gridiron action. (PG-13, 113 mins, 2011)
"Miracle" (Netflix) — This movie does just about everything right. Director Gavin O'Connor — get used to him, he's got three movies on this list — helms the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and its win over the Soviets, which was dubbed the "miracle on ice." Kurt Russell shines as coach Herb Brooks in this story that hits the right notes for the whole family, hockey fans or not. (PG, 136 mins, 2004)
"The Natural" (Netflix) — Robert Redford is Roy Hobbs, a hitter so powerful he tears the leather off a baseball in this film that's treasured by baseball fans, and for good reason. If it's not the greatest baseball movie ever, which many argue, you at least have to give it that it has the best home run in movie history, a blast so powerful it literally knocks the lights out. (PG, 144 mins, 1984)
"Space Jam" (Netflix) — Michael Jordan, currently starring in ESPN's must-see "The Last Dance" documentary, faces his toughest opponents since the Bad Boys in the Monstars, a group of NBA stars transformed into oversized alien hoopers, in this live action-cartoon hybrid that took Jordan's popularity and spread it throughout the galaxy. (PG, 100 mins, 1996)
"Hoop Dreams" (HBO) — This landmark documentary follows two high school basketball players from the inner city in Chicago and traces their chase for the big dreams, big fame and big paydays of the NBA, and shows that for most that hope for basketball stardom, not everything works out in the end. (PG-13, 175 mins, 1994)
"Cheer" (Netflix) — OK, it's not a movie. But this highly addictive Netflix series is an engrossing watch about a Texas junior college cheer squad championship dynasty, and it more than makes up for "Bring It On" not being available on streaming platforms. By episode 2 you'll be ordering Navarro cheer merch online. (TV-MA, six episodes, 2020)
"Warrior" (Hulu) — Gavin O'Connor again, this time directing the tale of two brothers — Iraq war vet Tommy (Tom Hardy) and high school teacher and ex-fighter Brendan (Joel Edgerton) — whose paths cross at an Atlantic City MMA tournament. The two actors (along with Nick Nolte, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the boys' father) lend this hard-hitting drama the conviction it needs to go down to the mat. (PG-13, 140 mins, 2011)
"Screwball" (Netflix) — To underscore the insanity of baseball's doping scandal, filmmaker Billy Corben casts children in the roles of Alex Rodriguez and the doctors who juiced him up in this hilarious docu-comedy. (not rated, 105 mins, 2018)
"Moneyball" (Starz) — Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who turns to the theories of a young statistician (Jonah Hill) to turn his team around. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Chris Pratt co-star, but the focus here is on the easygoing chemistry between Pitt and Hill, and it's a lot of fun. (PG-13, 133 mins, 2011)
"Hoosiers" (Starz) — The story of a small-town high school basketball team that wins the state championship in Indiana is rightfully recognized as one of the greatest sports movies ever made; in 2001, it was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It also made it okay to shoot underhanded free throws. (PG, 115 mins, 1986)
"McFarland, USA" (Disney+) — Kevin Costner stars as the cross-country coach at a high school in a dusty central California town in this Disney tale that goes the distance. The storytelling is old-fashioned and designed to inspire, but darn if it doesn't do the trick. (PG, 128 mins, 2015)
"Borg vs McEnroe" (Hulu) — Shia LaBeouf is the perfect choice to play the explosive John McEnroe, but this tennis tale focuses on Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason), the Swedish tennis prodigy who came into Wimbledon in 1980 looking to capture his record fifth straight title. When the two face off, it's a showdown for the ages. (R, 108 mins, 2017)
"The Rookie" (Disney+) — Dennis Quaid plays Jim Morris, a prospect who gets his shot at the big leagues at the ripe age of 35, in this heartwarming baseball tale, which is based on a true story. (G, 128 mins, 2002)
"Slap Shot" (Starz) — Paul Newman laces up his skates in this cult classic about a minor league hockey team whose brawler style brings them newfound popularity. We can't say for sure, but this was probably Bob Probert's favorite movie. (R, 123 mins, 1977)
"Creed II" (Amazon Prime) — Ostensibly a sequel to "Rocky IV," "Creed II" settles old scores from that 1985 Cold War classic. Heavyweight champ Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is challenged to a fight by Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of the Russian beast who killed Creed's father in the ring in "Rocky IV." It doesn't live up to its predecessor, but it never throws in the towel. (PG-13, 128 mins, 2018)
"Goon" (Netflix) — Seann William Scott (Stifler in the "American Pie" movies) plays ice enforcer Doug Glatt in this bawdy hockey comedy that leaves a bruise. (R, 92 mins, 2011)
"The Way Back" (VOD) — This redemption drama, which opened in theaters last month, was rush-released to VOD after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered movie theaters nationwide. Ben Affleck plays an alcoholic construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach, and director Gavin O'Connor (third time's the charm!) makes a point of avoiding sports clichés or offering easy answers for his characters. (R, 108 mins, 2020)
"Remember the Titans" (Disney+) — Sure, the story about about a Virgina high school football team's forced integration in the early 1970s is slathered in well-intentioned Disney cheese, but it's hard to deny Denzel Washington as the steely coach and leader of his young players. (PG, 120 mins, 2000)
"The Sandlot" (Starz) — You're killing me, Smalls. (PG, 101 mins, 1993)
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