Spring in Australia merges with sporting finals in a series of codes, but if your team has missed out, you can always fall back on uplifting or downbeat sporting films to fill (or at least, line) that emotional void.
1. The Underdogs Triumph
A most unlikely hit, this film meanders around the back streets of Philly for what seems like years, and then down-an-almost-outer Rocky Balboa gets pummelled for 15 rounds but stays on his feet. Total schlock, but try to resist.
Year of the Dogs
Sensational documentary about the struggling Bulldogs in the VFL, turfing their head coach and replacing him with no-nonsense premiership player Terry Wallace. The triumph here is subjective, in what is a great behind-the-scenes look at a struggling team expending all the blood, sweat and tears that go as much into losing as well as winning. The Varnished Culture‘s stand-out favourites are the mother and daughter duo that follow Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs) through thick and thin.
Robert Redford realises the dream of every old bloke who would have achieved greatness but for the distraction of chance or vice.
1984 Norwood Premiership
2. How You Play the Game
Chariots of Fire
No competitive running on Sundays.
Heaven Can Wait
Warren Beatty is going to win the Super Bowl, even if he has to die twice to do it.
Character beats talent every time.
3. The Industry
A League of Their Own
In wartime, opportunity knocks at a woman’s door (but then leaves when the fighting stops).
I don’t know what they have against Susan Sontag but the Durham Bulls symbolise all second-tier sports teams, where the youths dream of ascending to ‘The Show’ and the older hands realise that all glory is fleeting.
4. Lessons for Life
Those Glory, Glory Days
L’s favourite, a weird account of school-girlish obsession with Tottenham Hotspur. P would rather be at Twickers…
This Sporting Life
Grit, grunt and cups of bad tea.
5. Big Fat Fraud
Field of Dreams
No comment, other than: “Build it and I won’t be there.”