THE weekend's upon us, sports fans.
Now, if you're looking to keep the momentum going after a pick-up game or two, what better way to do just that than by binge-watching a number of sports-centric films and TV series on your favorite streaming service.
From comedies like Here Comes The Boom to dramas like Concussion, we picked the best sports movies on Netflix and shows that need to be on your must-watch list right now.
Some of these films you may already know by heart (but you won't mind rewatching, anyway), while some are undiscovered gems ready for your viewing pleasure. Either way, you'll want to dive into these, stat.
Coach Carter (2005)
This inspiring coming-of-age sports drama, based on the true story of controversial and no-nonsense former Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter, is legendary for making hoops fans and players alike cry and love the game even more. Carter, an education activist after his stellar coaching career, shows his undefeated team that the game doesn't just happen on the court. His brand of tough love—apparent in his initially much-scorned 1999 move to bar his academically underachieving boys from playing—is a slamdunk moment nothing short of inspirational.
Critically acclaimed Glow captures the lives of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as they bodyslam and suplex their way out of anonymity via the eponymously named and fledgling women's pro-wrestling circuit, a TV cult-hit in the '80s. There are catfights and drama galore behind-the-scenes, of course. But this spunky bunch of frustrated starlets, washed up soap opera stars, and jilted outcasts always rally at the last minute to work past their troubles and deliver a crowd-pleasing show that TV critics are already hailing as a masterpiece.
Here Comes The Boom (2012)
Scott Voss (comedian Kevin James), a 42-year-old apathetic high school teacher, moonlights as an MMA fighter to raise the funds necessary to save the school programs that are about to be shut down due to budget constraints. Inexperienced and out of shape, Scott repeatedly withstands the blows and rises up from extreme punishment, but never ever allows himself to be pushed into submission, endearing himself to the community whose spirits he's trying to lift up. This feel-good underdog tale can be quite predictable at turns, but it has tender touches in between that keep watching it from being such a waste.
If you’ve ever been the lost new kid in a school that makes you feel little and alone, you’re going to like this moving Netflix Original film. Amateur centers on the day-to-day struggles of 14-year-old phenom PG Terron Forte (Michael Rainey Jr.) as he plays himself into an elite NCAA prep school's roster spot amid his learning disability and the under-the-table dealings that happen unbeknownst to him and his family. Sports film tropes are easily detectable as minutes roll along, but Rainey, a relative acting newbie, quashes them with the uncanny savvy and winning personality of a battle-tested pro.
This Oscar-nominated baseball film is a smart and uplifting day-in-a-season tale of the Oakland Athletics' 2002 playoff push minus stars Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, and Jason Isringhausen who all left through free agency. It's also a clever depiction of the stats-driven sabermetrics and the role it plays in a sport that hardly paid in-depth attention to this area back then.
Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, an ex-pro turned front office executive, who spearheads a novel, but much derided, approach to assemble a competitive team on a shoestring budget that bypasses inputs from traditional baseball scouts in favor of the number-crunching doled out by assistant GM Peter Brand (a superb Jonah Hill).
You'd think a Steve Zaillian- and Aaron Sorkin-penned film that expectedly talks a lot—and talks about stats at that—can't be that riveting a watch. But Pitt, Hill, and Oscar winner Philip Seymour-Hoffman (as A's manager Art Howe) carry the film down to its satisfying home run of a finish.
A spiritual awakening captures the hearts of the Woodlawn High School Football team in 1973. Led by their coach, Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) and fueled by the their collective dedication to rise above the racial tension that is prevalent in the community, the team banks on the school's first African-American superstar-in-waiting as it launches a thunderous run at the playoffs, capping it all off with a stint at the biggest high school football game ever played in the torn city of Birmingham, Alabama.
This biographical sports drama tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who first discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (or CTE), an American Football-related brain malady that has claimed the lives of many an ex-pro. Powered by a desire to reveal his findings and protect both retired and present-day competitors, he vigilantly fights the National Football League (NFL) for a chance to be heard. This quest, of course, puts Omalu at the crosshair of not only the NFL but also some of the most powerful and richest organizations in the world.
First Match (2018)
Hardened by years in foster care growing up in Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood, plucky Monique figures the only way to reconnect with his ex-con and ex-wrestler of a dad is by joining an all-boys' wrestling squad. Our lionhearted protagonist, who's no stranger to the violence of underground bare-knuckle boxing, runs mostly on grit and determination as she makes a name for herself. WIll this be enough to make her coveted reunion happen? And will her dad even acknowledge his daughter's dogged determination to win his heart?
High Flying Bird (2019)
This clever little movie focuses on the behind-the-scenes power dynamics that play out during an NBA lockout. At the center of this iPhone-shot movie by director Steven Soderbergh is Ray Burke (Andre Holland), a sharp-witted agent who hopes to end the lockout through innovative schemes with the help of his primetime client, top rookie pick Erick Scott (Melvin Gregg). Yes, there's hardly a prolonged basketball sequence depicted onscreen here, but that doesn't make High Flying Bird any less engrossing. Some of the business calls proposed here may border on the controversial, true, but the film embraces them with good intentions. Basketball as we know it in the age of social media, after all, has evolved into something where not only the owners have a say. And that should be celebrated all the way.