Grab the popcorn

Forget Home Alone, here are the sports movies you need to watch this Christmas

And no, Space Jam isn’t one of them.

DITCH THE FESTIVE stuff, Christmas is as good a time as any to watch a sports movie.

So get that popcorn poppin’. Here are five classics that should be top of your list.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Starring Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.

What’s it all about?

Gruff boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) has managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. However, the fall out with his daughter haunts him every day. A fighter he’s trained into a championship contender has signing with someone else. Dunn is left high and dry. His life starts to move from bad to worse. Enter Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank). She walks into his gym and announces she needs a trainer. There is only one man for the job.

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The Wrestler (2008)

Starring Mickey Rourke

What’s it all about An ageing professional wrestler struggles with the realisation that his career is ending. As he battles health difficulties, he attempts to come to terms with his life outside the ring. An offer of a high-profile rematch with his 1980s arch-nemesis, The Ayatollah, might just be his ticket back to the big time.

The Fighter (2010)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams

What’s it all about? The Fighter centres around the life of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). His road to the world light welterweight title was guided by half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale) – a boxer-turned-trainer on the verge of being floored by drugs and crime. Ward grapples, not only with rivals,  but with his family too on his long road to success.

Moneyball (2011)

Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill

What’s it all about? Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane is handicapped with the lowest salary constraint in baseball. If he ever wants to turn the team into a success and win a World Series, Billy must find a competitive advantage.  He uses computer-generated statistical data to analyse and place value on the players he picks for the team. The concepts featured in Moneyball have gone on to infiltrate many other sports, including soccer.

Raminder Hayre / YouTube

Remember the Titans

Starring Denzel Washington

What’s it all about? Suburban Virginia schools had been segregated for generations. However, when one Black and one White high school are closed the students sent to T.C. Williams High School under federal mandate.

This story, based on actual events that took place in 1971, tells of a newly appointed coach (Denzel Washington) and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

The team becomes a unifying symbol for the community as bonds form and trust grows.

‘If anything, I’ve written this almost too well’

Conor McGregor on why he didn’t attend the RTÉ Sport awards

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