A sports movie is a mainstream movie genre which makes use of sports as the main theme of the movie. It’s usually a fictional production in which an athlete, sports event, game, player, or fan of particular sport are heavily involved, and that depend heavily on sports to an extent for their overall plot resolution or motivation. One example of such a movie is the 98% full length film called The Game. It’s based on the true story of professional American football player, Michael Vick. Another famous example would be the movie American Pie, which was a comedy about life in the big screen, following the lives of the main characters and other famous people from the baseball scene.
There are two major varieties of sports movies that use the spectator sports aspect. The first type is made around a single sport – such as American Idol, Glee, Ripper Street, etc. They’re normally about the main character and his/her struggle to be the best, as is the case with American Idol, where contestants are put through a gauntlet of physical activity, while watching their various performances. The second kind of movie that makes use of spectator sports is comedy, where a sport is used as a punchline or a part of a storyline. Some examples of this are There’s Something About Mary, The Cable Guy, Edward Scissorhands, The Cable Show, Kingpin, The Perfect Storm, and The Hangover.
The second major sub-genre of movies which make use of spectator sports is the disability sports film. These films deal with a main character who has either a physical limitation, or some sort of mental challenge that limits their ability to enjoy regular sports. In a way, these films represent the bridge between traditional entertainment, as well as disability. For example, the late Vincent Sarafonas, who was known for his legendary portrayal of a character who struggles with cerebral palsy, often appeared in or inspired disability movies.
And then, of course, there are the sports movies that make use of popular sports for the whole spectrum of the plot. These are movies which make use of popular sports for the purpose of fiction, which is one reason why they tend to be more successful than the typical Hollywood film. One such example of this is the Bodyguard, which is based on the true story of bodyguard trainer, Mark Zucherberg. The movie’s protagonist is a former college athlete who returns to his old college to become a full time trainer for football, a sport which was virtually unheard of in the early 80s when the movie was made. This is just one example of a successful and popular sports movie coming out of Hollywood, which demonstrates the fact that there is definitely money to be made in the arena of spectator sport. This is especially true if you happen to be able to find an independent film with a strong story and excellent acting.
Finally, there are also the more ‘traditional’ sports movies, which attempt to combine aspects of several different genres into one. For instance, one such sports film, The Blind Side, makes use of sports for the story, but also makes use of interviews and other elements from other parts of the story to give it a much richer and layered feel. Another very successful and highly acclaimed movie is the Oscar Award winning Inglourious Basterds, which follows the story of an young German soldier, tasked with destroying the most powerful Nazi war machine ever made. As a result, Basterds loses both his legs and ultimately finds himself become a quadriplegic. The Blind Side and Inglourious Basterds were two of the few successful films of 2021 that managed to create a mainstream buzz about disability and the theater.
So what’s next for Hollywood and its once again blossoming role as a producer of popular sports movies? For now, it appears that Hollywood has learned it best to stick with the big-screen thrillers and horror flicks, rather than attempting to tell a complex and intricate story about a life-long disability. However, if the trend continues, we may soon see more feature length films including stories and characters specifically tailored to cater to the needs of those with physical challenges. Of course, no matter what happens in the future, the importance of sports in our everyday lives will always remain. Today, more people are starting to realize the importance of sports and other spectator sports, regardless of whether they have any sort of physical handicap. As such, Hollywood may continue to cultivate new talents that will help make these sorts of sports more accessible to audiences all around the world.