Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Underdogs

When I think of underdogs I normally go straight to sport so each of these picks will be related to sports. You will also notice that each of these picks are based on true stories because, as commentators frequently say “you can’t write scripts like this”. Because who would have imagined that Leicester City would defy 5000-1 odds and pull off the greatest achievement in the history of team sport by winning the Premier League. Who would have thought Japan would beat two-time world champions South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup to win their first Rugby World Cup game for almost 25 years? It’s true…you can’t write scripts like this.

Anyway my picks. Also make sure to check out -
Jamaica is quite a hot country, and snowfall is probably pretty low so they don’t get much chance to participate in bobsleigh, but in 1988 Jamaica did compete at the Winter Olympics. Cool Runnings is a very fictionalised telling of this story, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Like the above film, Eddie the Eagle is about an underdog who competes at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Eddie may have finished dead last, but everyone loves a plucky underdog, and he even got a special mentioning at the closing ceremony…which was nice.
When this film was released, it was literally impossible to be bigger underdogs in the World Cup than the America Samoa National Football Team as they were ranked right at the bottom of the FIFA rankings. They’ve scored just twice in 17 years, and were yet to register a single compeitive win. However, as this wonderful documentary shows they didn’t lack spirit, pride or pluckiness as they tried in vain to restore credibility (the team were an international joke for losing 31-0 to Australia) and go for that first ever competitive win. Amazing stuff.


  1. Just saw Eddie the Eagle last weekend - what an insanely charming movie. Great to see it featured here!

  2. Yay, more love for Cool Runnings. Nice. I plan on watching Eddie the Eagle soon.

  3. I didn't like EDDIE THE EAGLE and I thought COOL RUNNINGS was merely decent.

  4. I've only seen Eddie the Eagle and I loved it.

  5. A double theme within the theme! Bravo! Sadly I've seen none of these but I've added all to my list, particularly Eddie the Eagle.

    I have one sport related film this week, they tend to be a popular place for this sort of story, and two others that are competition related.

    Little Miss Sunshine (2006)-Young Olive (Abigail Breslin) has a dream shared by her grandfather (Alan Arkin). She wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine contest but that requires a road trip with her dysfunctional family, inventor dad Richard (Greg Kinnear), willfully mute brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), suicidal Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and flustered mom Sheryl (Toni Collette). At first it looks doubtful but then they all pile into the van and go on a bumpy road to give Olive her chance despite the odds. Just quirky enough to be charming without wearing out its welcome thanks to a great cast all doing terrific work. Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

    Miracle (2004)-The true story of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) the hockey coach who took the rough material that was the US hockey team and whipped them into Olympic gold medal winning shape. Wonderfully detailed with athletes rather than actors as the team mates, though they perform their lines well, and a powerfully convincing lead performance from Russell, one of his best. Despite the known outcome the film is quite involving and the end exciting.

    October Sky (1999)-Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is just another backwoods teen in a slowly dying coal town in the 50’s until he witnesses Sputnik flying by one night. Filled with the wonder of space and encouraged by his young teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern) he convinces his friends O’Dell & Roy Lee to work with him to try and build rockets. Enlisting the school outcast and brain Quentin they plunge in against many obstacles, including the stubborn resistance of Homer’s good but pigheaded father (Chris Cooper). Meeting with some success they determine to enter the national science competition in pursuit of college scholarships. A great film with tremendous performances full of determination to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds and all around American can-doism with one of the most beautifully evocative and fitting scores ever.

  6. I haven't seen any but want to see your first 2 picks. Cool Runnings has been on my list forever since I love John Candy. I also love Hugh Jackman

  7. Not seen any of these. One day I'll watch Eddie but everyone went on about Cool Runnings at college to the point I don't think I'll watch it. The doc sounds interesting but sad.

  8. Cool Runnings!!! Love it! Shame really I didn't pick it but considering the fact that it has been picked this week by others so all good!

    Eddie the Eagle is also a great pick!