Welcome to Classy Movies for Classy People. You are reading this, so we shall assume you are a classy sort. Why else would you click on an article specifically labeled for “Classy People?” If you are not classy, I please ask you to leave. We’ll have no lowlifes here.
Ah, yes, welcome back to Classy Movies for Classy People. You’re looking quite dapper. I see you’d like some more recommendations of classy movies to keep your classy self well entertained and properly cultured. Rest easy, we’ve got what you got came for.
You may be classy, but I’m sure you still got a tad caught up in the Super Bowl the other evening. Maybe it re-kindled a latent interest in sport. Of course, many films have covered the topic of organized physical activities. Teams. Competition. Overcoming the odds. Sport is the stuff of myth, and myth is the stuff of cinema.
Considering there are so many sports films out there, it’s easy to get lost in the tawdry realm of simpleton entertainment, or, God forbid, the sad sub-genre of animals playing sports. Good thing that you’ve come to us, for we will separate the low from the grand.
As we can all surely agree, there is no pastime classier than watching men savagely punch each other in the face. Boxing pictures have a long history, even going back to the silent days. In fact, one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s first films was a silent called The Ring, the story of a love triangle between a woman and two boxers. The boxing sequences in the film are quite dazzling for their time, and the love story provides a tasteful framework for all the action.
Many decades later we come to one of the more recent examples of a classy boxing film. No, not Rocky, though that film is quite admirable. And not Raging Bull, which may be a great film, but is hardly a work of class. I’m speaking of the Ron Howard film, Cinderella Man. It’s a boxing picture with a period setting, a brilliant performance by Russell Crowe and even better one by Paul Giamatti. Cinderella Man tells the true story of James Braddock, a boxer who fell on hard times during the Great Depression, but managed to work himself back into shape and become heavyweight champion of the world.
Food Tip: A steak, because steak is classy and manly, much like the sport of boxing.
Another sports films with a period setting is the 1981 Best Picture winner, Chariots of Fire. Famous almost entirely for shots of men running on a beach set to the iconic Vangelis score, Chariots of Fire is a film rarely discussed today. That’s quite a shame. Potentially overshadowed by its undeserved Oscar win, the film is really a very good, very emotional depiction of the power of sports in overcoming adversity. Not only is it a story of the Olympics, but it’s a story of friendship in the face of clashing religions and social norms.
More period, Olympic goodness comes in the form of Gavin O’Connor’s 2004 film, Miracle, which tells the extraordinary story of the American men’s hockey team beating the unbeatable Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics. It’s a beautiful, uplifting story about a team playing with their heads held high and with courage in the hearts, beating the odds and taking the gold. Really, what could be classier than that?
Food Tip: Baked macaroni and cheese is a fine meal on a cold day, or while watching a film about ice hockey.
John Sayles’ Eight Men Out, which tells the true story of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which members of the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series, is another remarkable sports film. In this case, the film isn’t much about winning the game, but it does examine the role of sports in the lives of players, as well as in the hearts of society. Perhaps the most fascinating element of it today is seeing what professional sports was like before the days of trades and multi-million dollar salaries.
Finally we come to that most classy of sports, horse racing. There’s nothing quite like a day at the races, and this could not be truer when it comes to the story of Seabiscuit. Once again, an underdog story (underhorse story?), this time about a diminutive horse who nobody could have guessed would become the best in the world, beating a heavily favored Triple Crown-winner. It’s a truly heartwarming film.
Food Tip: Basashi, a kind of sashimi… made from raw horse meat.
There you have it. Classy sports films for the discerning cinema lover. Of course, there are many sports and films we left out, though we maybe cover them in the future. Football, basketball, croquet. It would be nice to include a film about golf, which as we all know is the sport of the modern classy person, but unfortunately there are no good films about golf. Hopefully somebody sees fit to make one in the near future.
Until then, you stay classy, Internet.