5 Alternative Sports Movies For The Offseason

Since the NFL season ends today and won’t be seen again until August, it seems like a good time to study up on some of the non-mainstream sports you might take an interest in until football returns.

Rollerball

rollerballDo I really need to say this would the 1975 version of Rollerball that I’m talking about? I wish it weren’t the case, because Chris Klein couldn’t even be in the same room as James Caan’s jockstrap, let alone hold it. The year is 2018 and Rollerball is THE sport. Two teams of ten (seven skaters and three on motorcycles) circle the track in an attempt to get possession of a grapefruit-sized steel ball and place it in a magnetic goal. It’s like a violent mix of roller derby, football, and roulette. Jonathan E is the best and most popular Rollerballer in history, but his ability to rise above his fellow players angers the corporate head that run the game. Their purpose for the game is that it showcases teamwork and highlights the futility of individual effort. Jonathan E operates in direct conflict with those ideals, and the corporate heads decide that he must be taken out. As the season progresses, Rollerball devolves from sport into gladiatorial combat. When the championship game rolls around and Jonathan E is alive and as popular as ever, the rules are changed- no penalties, no substitutions, no time-limit. The winner is the team with the last man standing.

Balls of Fury

balls-of-furyIn most of the world, ping pong has long been derided as a game relegated to the rec room, with the experience enhanced as you consume more beer. In some parts of the world it’s a serious sport with superstars and big trophies and the whole shebang. It nearly became that in the US, save for the epic failure of Randy Daytona at the 1988 Olympics. After living through years of disgrace and only able to get work as a ping pong dinner buffet act in Reno, Randy is contacted by the FBI to infiltrate an underground ping pong tournament run by Feng, who’s also responsible for killing Randy’s father at the aforementioned Olympics. In a Star Wars inspired turn, Randy trains for the tournament under the ping pong master that once trained Feng, before he turned to the evil side of ping pong. Randy manages to get a invitation to the tournament, only to find that it is a sudden death format- you lose, you die.

BASEketball

baseketballIn the future, people wil lose interest in sports and the idea of an athlete as a hero will be long gone. They’ll tire of franchises constantly changing cities and the athletes focusing more on their celebration routines than playing the game. This laid the groundwork for the rise of BASEketball, the brainchild of Joe Cooper and Doug Remer. It’s like basketball with baseball rules and rose to prominence in driveways across America. Once it catches the eyes people everywhere, it’s not long until the formation of the National BASEketball League. And they make sure the game won’t turn into those sports it replaced with rules preventing teams from changing cities and the players treated like indentured servants, just like the old days. It’s not long before the greedy owners want to start changing the rules and start making big bucks off BASEketball. It’s up to Joe to make everyone realize that they can’t let BASEketball go down the path of all the defunct sports.

Men with Brooms

men-with-broomsThe idea of curling sounds less than exciting- it’s like shuffleboard on ice and you sweep the ice with brooms to direct the sliding stones. No doubt it’s an exciting game to play, but a spectator sport? You might be skeptical, but it’s always one of the events I look forward to at the Winter Olympics. One of the very few movies to focus on this fringe sport is Men with Brooms. The small town of Long Bay, Ontario hasn’t been the same since Chris Cutter left town. You see, he was the local curling star who disappeared, leaving behind a fiancée and a shot at the curling championship. With his departure the town went into a downward spiral. When the old coach dies while trying to resurrect Long Bay’s curling team, Cutter comes back for the funeral and realizes he shouldn’t have ditched his fiancée, teammates, and the whole town to find out everything he wanted was right there. It plays a lot like Mystery, Alaska without all the Hollywood polish.

Gymkata

gymkataTrying to make men’s gymnastics cool is such an untenable proposition that Hollywood has only attempted it a couple times. The only other movie that comes to mind is American Anthem. For whatever reason, the producers felt it necessary to cast real Olympic gymnasts in both those movies. Anthem got Mitch Gaylord and Gymkata, Kurt Thomas. Thomas makes his film debut as Jonathan Cabot, in a surprising turn as an Olympic gymnast. He’s approached by agents from the Special Intelligence Agency who want him to participate in “the Game,” an athletic competition in the country of Parmistan. The winner of the Game gets their life and a wish. The SIA wants Cabot’s wish to be that the SIA can put a satellite monitoring station in Parmistan so they can monitor every satellite in space. Because this sounds like a truly idiotic task to undertake, the SIA tells Cabot that his dad previously entered the Game but was never heard from again. Cabot finally agrees and is trained in the deadly art of ninjitsu. If this sounds like a ridiculous premise for a movie, you’re right. This movie’s claim to fame is the goofy plot and poor execution. But sometimes that’s all you really need in a movie.

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