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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Written by Kirk Baird

The National Football League kicks off the regular season tonight at 8:30 p.m. EDT with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the defending Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants. Here are a few football films to help pad the season.

The Replacements (2000): This 2000 comedy starring Gene Hackman and Keanu Reeves tackles that brief period in professional football when substitutes took over for the striking players.

Any Given Sunday (1999): A gritty behind-the-scenes examination of professional football directed and co-written by Oliver Stone, with Al Pacino chewing scenery (as only Pacino can) as the head coach, Cameron Diaz as the team’s president and co-owner, and Jamie Foxx as the promising young quarterback, a role that made Foxx a star.

Brian’s Song (1971): This made-for-TV film is the ultimate tear-jerker for grown men, chronicling the true story of teammates and friends Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams).

Invincible (2006): Mark Wahlberg plays Vince Papale, a bartender turned improbable walk-on with the Philadelphia Eagles in this drama based on an incredible true story.

Friday Night Lights (2004): Texas is crazy for high school football — I know, I grew up there — and this drama based on the bestselling book by H.G. Bissinger and starring Billy Bob Thornton captures it like nothing else. Also check out the award-winning TV series (2006-2011) as well.

Rudy (1993): Sean Astin takes on the inspiring true story of a Notre Dame football player considered too small to play and who fought the odds to take the field.

Jerry Maguire (1996): A terrifically entertaining look at the money side of football through the up-and-down career and relationships of a sports agent (Tom Cruise), with an Oscar-winning performance by Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a difficult but talented wide receiver.

The Longest Yard (1974): The original drama starring Burt Reynolds is far superior to the Adam Sandler comic remake about a former pro quarterback now in prison who fields a football team of inmates to play the prison guards.

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