Everything I Know About Football I Learned in Hollywood

By Steven D'Arcangelo      

Super Bowl XLVII is this weekend.  Or maybe it’s XLVVI or VVILX. Does anyone really speak Roman numeral anymore?  

Everyone will be watching.  Or will they?  Maybe you don’t plan on watching because your favorite team isn’t playing.  Maybe you don’t want to see Beyonce’s half time show, or opposing Manning siblings, or murderers who escaped justice via their celebrity (I’m talking to you, Raven linebacker Ray Lewis).     

Or maybe, like me, you know nothing about the game (Did you really think I knew any of the previous paragraph before researching this article?).  I always feel like Ralphie in A Christmas Story when Santa offers him a football instead of a BB gun -- “Football?  What’s a football?”  If you feel it’s time you finally learned, then here are some motion pictures that will teach you everything you need to know from all points of view (POV).

From the Sports Agent’s POV

Jerry Maguire (1996)
When was the last time Cuba Gooding Jr. was taken seriously in Hollywood?  Here, as hotshot wide receiver Rod Tidwell in a plot that explores the relationship between player and agent.

From the Sideliner’s POV

The Waterboy (1998)
Gunga Din ain’t got nothing on Adam Sandler’s waterboy who tackles better than anyone and fights to prove it on deck (Note to self: “On deck” is a baseball term, not football.)

 

From the Old Timer’s POV

Leatherheads (2008) and Horse Feathers (1932)
Make a double feature of these George Clooney and Marx Brothers movies to learn the origins of the sport.  Also, check out those dopey-looking uniforms.  What the hell are they wearing on their heads?     

From the Rich Screenwriter’s POV

The Last Boy Scout (1991)
With this script, Shane Black became the first writer to earn $1 million and I have got to say, it is hands down the best exploding football movie that Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans have ever starred in.

From the Mascot’s POV

Gus (1976)
This Don Knotts Disney starrer features a losing team that rebounds after their mule mascot becomes their top place kicker.  How did this ingenious script not sell for $1 mil?  (Note to self: “Rebound” is a basketball term, not football.)

From the Scab’s POV

The Replacements (2000) 
Have you ever cared what happens when rich players go on strike to get richer?  Me neither.  But you can’t go wrong with Gene Hackman’s gruff performance and Brooke Langton’s cheerleading legs.  I think Keanu Reeves may also be in this.   

From the Underdog’s POV

Rudy (Special Edition) (1993)
In between his stints as a Goonie and a Hobbit, Sean Astin personified Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger -- the real life Hobbit-sized undergrad determined to play ball for Notre Dame.    

From the blockhead’s POV

You're In The Super Bowl, Charlie Brown (1994)
Is this Peanuts special anywhere near as good as their Christmas and Halloween ones?  No.  But Lucy tricking Charlie Brown into kicking a ball that she yanks out from under him at the last second is a classic staple of pigskin lore and deserves to be treated as such.  AAUGH!!!

That should be enough to get your education started.  Plus, you need something to watch between the Super Bowl commercials, right?  Enjoy the face-off!

(Note to self: “Face-off” is hockey, not football.)

Steven D'Arcangelo is a transplanted Bostonian living in LA with his lovely transplanted wife Carrie. When not reviewing films, he writes screenplays. When not writing screenplays, he does graphic design and illustration. When not doing graphic design and illustration, he denies being a workaholic. When not denying he's a... Well, you get the idea.