‘The Blindside,’ directed by John Lee Hancock

Movie, 2009 Movie based on a true story of a campaigning mother who adopts a down and out kid. Kid grows up, mentally and physically, and becomes a professional American footballer. With the rags to riches element, the big budget and the root in true life, the schmaltz gets turned up to a ferocious degree. There are moments where the film tries to do a … Continue reading ‘The Blindside,’ directed by John Lee Hancock

‘Love of the Game,’ by Ricky Hill

Non-fiction, 2021 Account of professional footballer and coach Ricky Hill, and how his success at battling racism as a black player taking his first steps in the professional game in the mid 1970s hasn’t translated into appointments in the British managerial and coaching side of the game. While Hill is eloquent and the issues he raises have more than a feeling of truth about them, … Continue reading ‘Love of the Game,’ by Ricky Hill

“Ball Four,” by Jim Bouton

Non-fiction, 1970 ‘Tell-all’ memoir from a baseball pitcher, chronicling ups and downs of his two teams in Seattle and Houston, with various tittle-tattle and damning thumb sketches of team mates, opponents and coaches. All of which seems pretty tame to the twenty-first century reader. Pills and suggestions of infidelity rear up, but it all feels fairly low-grade stuff. An entertaining account, nonetheless, though it may … Continue reading “Ball Four,” by Jim Bouton

“Borg vs McEnroe”, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen

Movie, 2018 Tennis fans will probably enjoy; non-tennis probably won’t enjoy this film. The degree to which one enjoys (or doesn’t enjoy) tennis will probably dictate how much enjoyment can be taken here. Borg and McEnroe may or may not be the fascinating characters they’re relentlessly flashbacked to be here, and the 1980 Wimbledon mens’ final was surely a classic, though the whole formula is … Continue reading “Borg vs McEnroe”, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen

"They Made Me a Criminal", directed Busby Berkeley

Movie, 1939 Boxing movie which looks tired and dated, even if the opening premise, at least, is intriguing. After a while, the plot, acting and narrative all flop, leaving a pretty mundane picture with a few baffling scenes which do little to carry the action forward or comment on the main plot (borrowed from an earlier film). Difficult to know who this film was aimed for, and … Continue reading "They Made Me a Criminal", directed Busby Berkeley

"Foxcatcher," directed by Bennett Miller

Movie, 2014 Adaptation of a real life story involving an Olympic wrestler and a philanthropist whose interest in the sport bring the men and families closer together. In a film where the drama builds and fortunes interweave and develop, there’s plenty to admire, even if a few bits and pieces are a little hard to get used to, mainly John DuPont’s odd prosthetics and very … Continue reading "Foxcatcher," directed by Bennett Miller