With Christmas coming up you may have a bit of time on your hands whilst you digest the turkey and the TV is playing Frozen on loop. You may need something to watch or listen to. You may even be in the need of a Christmas present idea for your Brother in Law/Dad/Uncle
I have put together a list of things I have enjoyed recently or in the past. It’s a little male-centric but all the items have a little something extra that I think everyone can appreciate. Most are related to sports, but not all. I have tried to mix it up a little bit and think all have a strong message and something to learn.
I kinda’ knobbled myself here having done a post about my favourite sports films, so you could just go and watch any of those.
I haven’t seen so many films this year but one I did enjoy was Creed. This is a spin-off of the Rocky franchise. The illegitimate son (Adonis) of Rocky’s greatest rival and later friend, Apollo Creed is a struggling young professional boxer and travels to Philadelphia to track down Rocky Balboa. Adonis asks Rocky to be his trainer, and though Rocky is reluctant he later agrees. Will Adonis get his big shot?
The film has many echoes of the original Rocky movies and ties them together nicely. The movie has been updated for a younger generation with a more youthful flavour with the use of hip hop, but still uses in some of the previous classic score. There is the classic love interest story line too, that harks back to when Rocky met his wife Adrian.
94% on Rotten Tomatoes and many thought Stallone should have won an Oscar for his role.
Push the boat out – go have a Rocky/ Creed double bill. Ding Ding!
Tin Cup (1996)
If boxing’s not your thing. How about golf!!!!
Tin Cup didn’t make my previous list (I already had two Kevin Costner films on it), but it is right up there. Kev plays Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy a former pro golfer, who now passes his days running a driving range and drinking with his buddies. When Molly (Rene Russo), an attractive psychologist turns up for a lesson, Roy is smitten and the two end up exchanging golf lessons for sports psychology sessions. Roy attempts to changes his ways by trying to qualify for the US Open whilst presuming Molly romantically.
Costner and Russo are both excellent (as always) and the laughs are provided by Cheech Marin as Roy’s best friend. A feel-good romantic comedy with plenty of laughs and a man looking to changes his ways and seek redemption.
Without Limits (1998)
Steve Prefontaine is the legendary runner US runner, who at one time held seven American track records from the 2,000m meters to the 10,000m, fought for professionalism in the amateur era and help kick start a pastime called “jogging” as the early poster boy of a fledgling sports company called Nike.
Two biopics (Prefontaine and Without Limits) were made about Pre within a year of each other. I am going to go for Without Limits starring Billy Crudup and Donald Sutherland. As you can guess, the film tracks Pre’s life as he becomes a college track star and his quest for gold at the infamous Munich Olympics in 1972. A great film that shows what makes the special ones, special and shows why Pre and the uncompromising way he ran can still inspire today.
Also, has a nice bit of sports trainer knowledge on how Nike Waffle trainers got their name.
This is a short film recommended by Rich Roll that can be found on YouTube showing the beginnings and people’s stories of the free American fitness movement, November Project. An uplifting film about people who felt like outsiders, which found community and friendship in running and exercise. Well worth a watch.
To listen to
Revisionist History Podcast
Want to feel a little smarter? Then try this podcast.
Author Malcolm Gladwell, synonymous with The 10,000 Hour Rule moves to the audio platform and goes back and reinterprets the past. Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance!
There are 10 episodes on various subjects from why basketball players don’t shoot free throws under arm even though it is more accurate (The Big Man Can’t Shoot), the fate of those first through the door, that is especially relevant with Hillary Clinton and the recent US election (The Lady Vanishes) and how genius emerges (Hallelujah). The stand out is the trilogy of episodes (Food Fight and My Little Hundred Million) about US education and higher education that starts with the heart-breaking episode (Carlos Doesn’t Remember) on how talented low-income students don’t make it to the nation’s top universities. I can’t say enough about these podcasts. I was a Gladwell fan before, but now I‘m even more so.
Undone is the new show from Gimlet media about how big stories we thought were over were actually the beginning of something else. Whilst I have not enjoyed every recent episode, the first episode was excellent.
Disco Demolition Night tells the story of how one summer night in 1979, 50,000 people got together at a baseball stadium to kill disco. And it worked. Kind of.
The podcast examines the socio-political situation in America at the time, that’s similar to the recent US election and how the disco sound pivoted into new genres.
I hope you enjoy some of the things on the post. Happy Christmas!
I will write another post about music and books. Coming soon….