Now, it is with some trepidation I write that I am going to start my own little series recommending movies that people may not have seen, but are well worth a look (at least, in my opinion). The reason this concerns me is that it will probably open me up to some serious ridicule. Many of the movies will be from my personal collection, many of them will not have been commercial hits. I have no timeline, no set pattern for publishing these recommendations, so you’ll have to take them as you find them I’m afraid. It should also give me a chance to share some of the lesser-known films to be produced in this green and pleasant land.
Having said all that, I’d like to kick-off with The Replacements. Why? Well, I watched it the other day, so it’s fresh in my mind.
The Replacements is an American football film. These don’t tend to do so well outside of North America*, mainly because it’s played in very few countries, and in a limited way in those where it is. As such, I’m not sure this even got a cinema release in the UK. I know I first picked it up in Blockbuster, though I was aware of it through trailers before that. It’s the old tale of underdogs overcoming the odds. Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), a quarterback who is infamous for losing the Sugar Bowl (the Super Bowl but for college teams), is called back from the sidelines to head a team of ‘unknowns’ who will act as replacements for the Washington Sentinels during a players strike. Unorthodox coach, Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman), puts together a team of talented misfits who haven’t made it into the big league for one reason or another. We follow the team through four games that will decide if the Sentinels will get into the playoffs. The film exploits the differences and flaws in their characters, their inexperience at high-level football and the expectations of everyone around them for comedic effect. The characters are what bring the film alive though. I’m not saying this is a classic, but it is very watchable and pretty funny.
- Did you know that Canadian football is different to American football?
- Personally, I think the lack of interest in American football films might have something to do with the fact that the name was stolen from the world’s most popular sport, football (soccer in the US), where it made sense (you use your feet in football, where you primarily use your hands in American football).
* Some points I’d like to say about American football: