The Adam Sandler renaissance is in full-swing with the Happy Gilmore star’s latest effort, Hustle, releasing on Netflix to wide critical acclaim.
The new basketball dramedy is one of just many excellent sports films on the streaming service right now and as this Sunday is one with sporting action few and far between, we’ve decided to delve into their back catalogue to find the best.
Basketball: Hustle (2022)
Described by some as the best Adam Sandler film since the 1990s (especially impressive considering the excellent Uncut Gems was released just last year). Hustle doesn’t break ground in story-telling, treading a well-worn narrative of an underdog triumphing over massive odds, but it has exceptional heart and Sandler’s performance is terrific.
Anything else? Coach Carter (2005), Uncut Gems (2019)
American Football: The Blind Side (2009)
When The Blind Side was released in 2009 it was an immediate hit, transforming its $29m budget into a whopping $309m and garnering a Best Actress Academy Award for Sandra Bullock and a Best Picture nomination. The story of Michael Oher, who overcame an impoverished upbringing to star in the NFL, is as heart-warming as they come.
Anything else? Jerry Maguire (1996), Concussion (2015), The Express (2008), The Longest Yard (2005)
Formula One: Rush (2013)
With a script as slick and well-oiled as an actual F1 car, Rush is an exhilarating ride from start to finish. This battle between English playboy James Hunt and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda is like Rocky on four wheels.
Anything else? There aren’t any other Formula One films on Netflix, but any racing fans looking for a fix should check out the Schumacher (2021) documentary or A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story (2020).
MMA: Warrior (2011)
Much like Hustle, Warrior’s story doesn’t exactly break new ground but what it does, it does very well. Powerhouse performances from Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton give, on paper, a flimsy premise a punch to the gut, turning Warrior into something of a hidden gem.
Anything else? Fighter (2019), Here Comes The Boom (2012), Bruised (2020)
Football: United (2011)
United tells the true story of Manchester United's "Busby Babes" and the aftermath of the tragic 1958 Munich air disaster. There are certainly more cheerful films to choose on a lazy Sunday, but the story it tells is one of great importance. David Tennant and Jack O’Connell shine as Jimmy Murphy and Bobby Charlton, respectively.
Anything else? Kicking and Screaming (2005)
Baseball: Moneyball (2011)
Baseball is famously known as ‘America’s Sport’ and doesn’t screenwriter Aaron Sorkin know it? A sizzling script performed exquisitely by Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Brad Pitt as Oakland Raiders general manager Billy Beane, trading barbs with a whole lot of gusto and heart.
Anything else? Hardball (2001)
Boxing: Creed (2015)
Balboa might not be the titular character in the seventh entry in the Rocky saga but Creed certainly delivers some heavy blows, taking the series in new and exciting directions. Sylvester Stallone puts in arguably his best performance as ‘The Italian Stallion’ since Rockys 1 and 2, and hands over the gloves to Michael B. Jordan who shines as the new leading man.
Anything else? Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Golf: Happy Gilmore (1996)
What else is there to say about Happy Gilmore? It is quite simply one of the most beloved sports films of all-time and endlessly quotable.
“You’re not gonna sink this putt, you jackass!”
Anything else? The Short Game (2013)
*18+ | BeGambleAware