Pigskin in the 80s
The high school football season officially began last night here in Florida, where we like our games to be played in steamy, mosquito-infested swamplands during hurricane-like rain storms. Since I'm a football referee in my spare time, I'm spending today bleaching the blood and mud stains out of my knickers.
Back in the 80s, there was a slew of great movies involving high school football. So perhaps I'll spend some time between spin cycles enjoying these classics.
Best 80s movies about high school football:
Lucas (1986): OK, it's not a great movie. Not even a good movie. And the idea that Corey Haim is athletic enough to play football (except maybe Maddon '06) is comic. But man ... there aren't a lot of 80s movies to choose from. "I guess everybody has their own idea of fun. Some people go to football games. Other people do less superficial things."
Johnny Be Good (1988): Anthony Michael Hall goes from Farmer Ted to America's hottest high school QB recruit. The late, great Paul Gleason plays his coach. And Robert Downey Jr. gives off the first warning signs that he's a drug-crazed lunatic. Oh, and Uma Thurman makes her big-screen debut as Hall's girlfriend. In between, there's about 4 minutes of actual football action.
Wildcats (1986): So you didn't buy Paul Gleason as a coach? Try Goldie Hawn. I'm not going to pretend for a moment that she knows what she's saying, but add early roles for Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Mykelti Williamson, and we're finally on the right page of the playbook.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982): Some would say this is a movie about malls and sex. Hell no! It's about about the big game between Ridgemont High vs. Lincoln High -- "and I know we're going to destroy Lincoln tonight ... all riiiight?" Thanks to bone-crushing Charles Jefferson (Forest Whitaker), who takes out a half dozen opposing players in comic fashion, the home team wins. (Podcast)
The Best of Times (1986): Robin Williams plays a man haunted by his failure in high school to catch the would-be winning touchdown pass. So he and pal Kurt Russell get their rivals to agree to rematch 14 years later. I'm in tears when it's over.
All The Right Moves (1983): In AmPipe, Pennsylvania, nothing is more important than football and beating rival Walnut Heights (not Walnut Grove -- that'd be Little House on the Prairie). The best movie when it comes to overall action and realism. Tom Cruise bawls out the coach (Craig T. Nelson, in a preview of his "Coach" TV series) and sees his future go up in smoke. Wow, Tom, a real foreshadowing of your movie career there.