Amazon Prime Video UK has lots to offer sports fans. In our first look at the service, we went over the best Amazon prime UK sports documentaries and live events. This time we turn to fiction and hunt for sports-based film and television.
Friday Night Lights started life as a book by H.G. Bissinger (you should read it) which became a film, directed by Peter Berg and starring Billy Bob Thornton (you should see it) which became a TV series. All 5 seasons of the show are available to Amazon Prime Video members. Following the exploits of a high school football team in fictional Dillon, Texas, the series shows how much the team means to the small town through the eyes of the players and coaches who are so invested in it. Being a show about teens, there’s plenty of family and relationship drama on offer. One of the more interesting angles portrays the impact of the success of the team on local business, and the politics with so many people in the small town wanting to bask in the teams glory. The show aired between 2006 and 2011 and offers a chance to see early appearances from actors who’ve gone to bigger things, notably Michael B. Jordan and Jesse Plemons.
Film-wise there are relatively slim pickings. Whilst there are plenty of sports movies to rent or buy there aren’t too many available to Amazon Prime Video members. There are a few gems though, here are five of the best:
Tenuous I know, but bowling feels like an important part of The Big Lebowski. Most films from the Coen brothers are worth watching and this is one of their best. Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey Lebowski, an avid Ten Pin Bowler who gets caught up in a crime caper. In way over his head, he needs the help of his bowling friends to navigate the web he stumbles into. An all-star cast and plenty of laughs on offer here.
Blades Of Glory (2007) is about rival skaters (Will Ferrell and Jon Heder) who are forced to team up as the only way to compete after a series of fights sees them banned from singles skating. Ferrell, in particular, is having a great time. Craig T. Nelson is on board as their coach and Will Arnett and Amy Poehler shine as the main competition. Just a tremendously fun film.
There can be few people who didn’t have a phase as a wrestling fan growing up. To them, I suggest The Wrestler (2008) directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Micky Rourke and Marisa Tomei, both of whom received Oscar nominations for their performances. Rourke plays an ageing wrestler who can’t bring himself to give up the sport. Whilst facing the reality of his mortality he’s also trying to be a better father to an estranged daughter. It must be good because I loaned the DVD to my sister and have never seen it again. A sure sign of quality!
The Blind Side (2009) based on a book by Michael Lewis, tells the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and his journey to the NFL. From humble beginnings, Oher became a star of college football and then a first-round pick in the NFL draft. The film earned a Best Picture nomination and Sandra Bullock a Best Actress Oscar.
Back on the ice I, Tonya (2017) is about the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her rivalry with Nancy Kerrigan. Filmed in an interesting way, it’s presented in a mockumentary style and stars Margot Robbie in the title role and the always outstanding Allison Janney, taking home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, as her mother.
Happy sports viewing and if we missed anything, please share with us in the comments.
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Shaun is FinalBoss’ most prolific cinephile. If he hasn’t seen it, it ain’t worth watching. You’ll find him writing about everything from blowout blockbusters to small-screen splendours as he waits impatiently for Lord of the Rings to be released by Amazon. Catch up with Shaun and see what he’s been watching on www.letterboxd.com/shaun_1982.