Movies / Documentaries
Invictus (76% on Rotten Tomatoes): is a 2009 biographical sports drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The story is centers around the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. South Africa was hosting the World Cup, thus earning an automatic entry in an event they were not expected to fare well in. Freeman and Damon play the South African President Nelson Mandela and François Pienaar, respectively. François was the captain of the South Africa rugby union team, the South African National Team, the Springboks. Great sprots movie in today’s divisive world.
Jerry Maguire on Prime (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) – not unexpectedly, many young players have not seen this. So it makes the cut. The 1996 American romantic comedy-stars Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, and Regina King and is considered by many the best sports movie of our time. Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a 35-year-old sports agent who gets fired and stays focused on the only client that stayed with him (Cuba Gooding Jr.). My favorite movie ever. Worth watching again.
Fighting with my Family on Prime (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) – Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her loved ones behind and face this new cutthroat world alone. Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star. Based on the true story of WWE star Saraya-Jade Bevis, know in the ring as Paige.
Ice Guardians on Prime (100% on Rotten Tomatoes) (Prime Video) – Ice Guardians is a 2016 feature documentary film directed and written by Brett Harvey about ice hockey enforcers. The film includes interviews with former National Hockey League players including Hall of Famers Chris Chelios, Bobby Hull and Brett Hull. Other players interviewed include Dave Brown, Kelly Chase, Wendel Clark, Glen Cochrane, Riley Cote, Todd Fedoruk, Nick Fotiu, Mitch Fritz, Luke Gazdic, Clark Gillies, Brett Gallant, Eric Godard, Joey Kocur, Zenon Konopka, Jarome Iginla, Steve MacIntyre, Brian McGrattan, Gino Odjick, Colton Orr, Scott Parker, George Parros, Rob Ray, Dave Schultz, Dave Semenko, Zack Stortini, Rick Tocchet and Kevin Westgarth. Outstanding!!
Fire in Babylon on Prime (91% on Rotten Tomatoes) Capt. Clive Lloyd transforms his 1970s-era West Indies cricket team into champions who dominate the sport for many years.
The documentary describes the ascension of West Indies cricket from being a team largely composed of highly talented, entertaining, “Calypso Cricketers” to a determined unit that dominated world cricket for nearly twenty years. For those fighting for a playoff spot, everyone on the team should watch it.
Icarus on Netflix (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) – fascinating story about the Russian Olympic team doping strategy. More spy thriller than sports story. Bryan Fogel’s stunning documentary about Russia’s Olympic doping program won best documentary feature at the 2018 Academy Awards—a deserving accolade for a film that not only lifted the veil on the Kremlin’s state-sponsored cheating, but plays out like a real-life political thriller.
Team Foxcatcher (Netflix): ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE-84% – This film tells the story of John du Pont, the wealthy heir to the du Pont family fortune and USA wrestling benefactor who was eventually convicted of murder. Steve Carrell’s turn as du Pont in the 2014 film Foxcatcher earned him a best actor Oscar nod, but this documentary digs deeper, using family footage to tell the tragic true crime story behind the late du Pont. Dupont is nuts and the ending insane, but it’s a really good true story.
VALIANT (Amazon Prime) – chronicles the unprecedented inaugural season of the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team as they climb to the top of the NHL standings and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, all against the backdrop of a city reeling from the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Compelling story worth watching with for players and spouse/girlfriends.
CINDERELLA MAN (Amazon Prime and You Tube) – during the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko). This a great sports and relationship movie that players and spouses/girlfriends will enjoy.
THE WEIGHT OF GOLD (Amazon Prime) – narrated by a disarmingly frank Michael Phelps, The Weight of Gold provides a sobering testimonial to how the world’s most celebrated athletes are still vulnerable to mental health struggles. The pressure of winning a gold in an event that unfolds over minutes at the Olympics every four years after years of dedicated practices, creates unique pressures, not all that different than that facing NHL players right now in a very difficult pandemic like environment. A very good reminder about the weight of gold and a lesson on why it is important to seek help for the anxiety and stress these unique types of pressures elite athletes are often left alone to face.
In Search of Greatness (Amazon Prime Video) – we all play the game over and over in our heads the night before we went out onto the field – Jerry Rice. A great documentary on the keys to greatness with Wayne Gretzky, Jerry Rice (one of the best receivers in NFL history), Serena and Venus is Williams, Muhammad Ali and Tom Brady.
Hoop Dreams (Amazon Prime) – Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way. This acclaimed documentary was shot over the course of five years.
Free Solo (Amazon Prime) – a look into Alex Honnold’s seemingly insane efforts to climb so of the world’s most dangerous shear fades free solo (no ropes or anchors). The last 20 minutes display an unparalleled level of athletic focus and human achievement.
Senna (Amazon Prime) – incredible rivalry, great race footage, phenomenal behind the scenes look at one of F1’s greatest rivalries. A bit tough to watch give a fair amount of subtitles. Senna’s focus on being a better man is a great metaphor.
Dear Basketball (Watch at dearbasketball.com) -the Academy Award Winning short five- minute movie written by Kobe Bryant. It’s terrific. I would recommend you watch this after you listen to the Kobe Bryan podcast interviews below.
All or Nothing: The All Blacks on Prime (100% on Rotten Tomatoes) – For the first time ever, The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, known as the winningest team in global sports history, allows cameras into their super secretive world to witness one of their most difficult seasons yet. Over four months, they face the demands of the most physically grueling team sport on the planet to uphold a legacy of excellence and dominance that goes back well over a century.
The Test: A New Era for Australia Cricket on Prime (89% on Rotten Tomatoes): Australian Cricket has suffered the most significant crisis in living memory when team members are suspended after being caught cheating. New coach Justin Langer is charged with rebuilding the team’s culture and regain their place on top of the cricket world. Cricket is an amazing game in knew nothing about.
The Short Game (Netflix) – a series about the best 7 and 8 year old golfers in the world and their quest to win the world golf championships in their age group. The kids are incredible and will make you feel embarrassed about your own golf game. Anna Kournikova’s little brother stars. It’s a worthwhile look at the future stars of golf from Palm Beach to South Africa and Asia. Worth a watch.
Last Chance U (Netflix): ROTTEN TOMASTOES SCORE 94% – is an American documentary streaming television series. There are 28 episodes over 5 seasons. The first 2 seasons (14 episodes) follows a group of young men training to become the future stars of the NFL. The football players are the latest recruits to East Mississippi Community College (EMCC), an undefeated team with 3 consecutive National Championships under their belt. The EMCC Lions have become a phenomenon in junior college sports, attracting elite athletes, some of whom have been held back by poor academic performance or behavioral issues. Under Coach Buddy Stephens, EMCC has become one of the most successful but least known athletic programs, graduating more than 20 players per year into football scholarships at four-year universities, with nine of his former players currently playing in the NFL.
The third and fourth seasons transition to Independence Community College in Kansas. The final season took place at Laney College in Oakland, California. It’s a very good watch with all kinds of twists, great characters and good stories. With over 40 hours to watch, it’s a road trip or two distraction.
TOM VERSUS TIME (Facebook Watch) – is an American documentary web television series created by Gotham Chopra that was released in 2018 on Facebook Watch. The six-episode series provides an intimate look at Brady’s off-season training regimen as well as his home life spent with wife Gisele Bündchen and their children. IT provides insights into why Brady is the greatest of all time. Take a careful look at his training, his work with teammates in the off season and his religious reliance on game video to improve every aspect of his game. His achievements are not an accident.
STEPHEN VS. THE GAME (Amazon Prime) – Stephen vs The Game introduces Stephen Curry’s journey to the NBA, his accomplishments and all the things he had to overcome to become the best shooting guard ever in the league’s history. Good story. Worth watching.
All or Nothing: Man City – an all access inside look into Man. City’s record breaking 2017/18 season under Pep Guardiola. 8 episodes. Has a 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic feel. Takes you inside with great camera work and superb access. All despite the injuries to Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany, Gabriel Jesus and John Stones
Brady 6 (You Tube) – good 45-minute review of Tom Brady’s career but you have to skip through a fair number of commercials.
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. The title of the series refers to a chess opening of the same name. The story begins in the mid-1950s and proceeds into the 1960s. It’s about chess, but it’s very good.