From Draft Day to Jocks, the Mixed-Bag That is Hollywood College Sports Movies

From Draft Day to Jocks, the Mixed-Bag That is Hollywood College Sports Movies
Hollywood has long drawn on sports for inspiration for its movies. The Karate Kid is one of the biggest grossing sports movies ever and has spawned a multi-season TV show. Eight Men Out, put together an ensemble cast to tell the true story of the Black Sox Baseball Scandal back in 1919.
When it comes to college sports movies, there are plenty to choose from. All manner of sports are covered and genres include drama, historical, biographical, comedy, and documentary. There are some great true stories of college athletes who had extraordinary lives.
Louis Silvie Zamperini’s life story was told in the World War 2 movie, Unbroken. Although it is more about the way that Zamperini’s spirit couldn't be broken during his time adrift in the ocean and his subsequent imprisonment as a POW, it also shows how his college sports achievements took him to the Olympic games.
Not all college sports movies match up to Zamperini’s story though, and here are some of the best, and the worst college sports films.  
True stories from college sports
The UK and the USA are very different when it comes to school and college sports.There is no such thing as Draft Day in the UK and Kevin Costner’s movie failed to make a dent overseas.
The film is based on actual events that happened on one particular draft day, and in the movie, Chadwick Boseman’s character, Vontae Mack, urges Costner to review his college football tapes while he is studying NFL draft profiles, which results in Mack being drafted. 
The Blind Side
One Grid-Iron movie that did do some damage at the box office was The Blind Side. The uplifting true tale of how the son of a drug-addicted mother was adopted and helped into college, resulting in an NFL career. The movie itself took hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales.
Michael Oher, the movie’s subject, slated the film and said it probably did more damage than good. Audiences, however, loved it. 
Prefontaine and Chariots of Fire
Two running movies from opposite sides of the Atlantic. Over in the USA, Steve Prefontaine was a serial record-setter who ran through his school and university life and right into the Olympics. Jared Leto plays the gifted runner who was doomed to die at the early age of just 24.
There have been many great soccer movies but when it comes to British college sports movies, it tends to be running that gets the spotlight.
The four-time Oscar-winning, Chariots of Fire tells the story of two runners from different walks of life. Eric Liddle was Scottish and a devout Christian, while Harold Abrahams was a Cambridge University student and an English Jew. Running for God and to overcome prejudice respectively, they both achieved Olympic glory in the 1920 Paris games. 
Comedies about college sports
Not surprisingly perhaps, college sports have found their way into some comedies of varying quality. Maybe it was looking to pick up on the success of previous college movies such as Revenge of the Nerds, but Jocks was one of the biggest box office flops of 1987.
Based around a college tennis team and their high jinks in a Las Vegas tournament. The movie follows the tennis team in and around the casinos, bars, hotel rooms, and the tournament itself in Vegas with little in the way of laughs. It is doubtful anyone would enjoy being in a casino with this haphazard group, LVBET would be a better option for most people. Incredibly, Christoper Lee and Richard Roundtree managed to find their way into this flop somehow. 
College sports dramas
There have been some big names in movies based mainly or loosely around college sports. Denzel Washington plays a convict trying to win a sentence reduction by convincing his son to join a college to play basketball. The Spike Lee movie was well received and is currently rated Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes.
Ben Affleck was recently seen in another college basketball movie, The Way Back, which focused on his failure as a player, his alcohol addiction,n and his subsequent attempt to find redemption as a high-school coach.
All the Right Moves, sees Tom Cruise try to find a scholarship for football and an escape from his miserable hometown. The movie also stars Lea Thompson and the late Chris Penn. 
As with many subject matters, documentaries about college sports have worked better than Hollywood-style movies in some instances.
Undefeated is an emotionally involving and uplifting movie about the Manassas High School football team. Since the team was founded way back in 1899, they had never won a playoff game, then in 2004, a former high-school coach offered to help turn this record around.
Away from uplifting stories are 3 more documentaries that explore the darker elements of college sports. Schooled: The Price of College Sports, Big Time Losers, and Student Athlete, all look at what happens to athletes when sports become a multi-billion dollar business. 
Top-grossing sports movies ever
Strangely, when searching for a list of the top-grossing sports movies ever, the entries seem rather tenuous at times.
James Bond is clearly a fan of baccarat, betting, and Texas Hold ‘em, and perhaps poker is a sport of sorts, but is Casino Royale really the 10th highest-grossing sports movie? Working down the list it isn’t until number 19 with high-school martial arts movie The Karate Kid, and number 23, with The Blind Side that something akin to college movies appears.
At number 23 is Jerry Maguire which, like Draft Day, touched on college football with the fictional number one pick Frank "Cush" Cushman being touted as a future superstar. These movies not only took hundreds of millions of dollars but are also the highest-rated legitimate sports movies on the list. And, they all feature college or high school sports. 
College sports are immensely popular and it is no surprise that Hollywood has seen fit to mine this material to make popular movies. While there are some very gritty in-depth documentaries looking at the less attractive sides of the money surrounding these sports, there are also some uplifting films and tales out there.
One other movie not mentioned above but deserving of a few lines is, We Are Marshall. Although the movie itself was not well-reviewed, the story is a tragic one and worthy of anyone’s time. The film follows the attempt to rebuild the Thundering Herd football team after the 1970 air crash that saw the deaths of 75 of its high school staff, boosters, and players. A solid cast makes this an inspiring feel-good movie for any football fan.