The Super Bowl is upon us, which means millions of people will be emotionally investing in the man-on-man performance of football.
Despite being a child of a die-hard sports fan whose identity hinged upon the successes and failures of his favorite organization (the Cleveland Browns, I sh*t you not–can you imagine an entire lifetime of being fanatical over the Cleveland Browns?), I don't understand the hype around football. Albeit, when I was young, I pretty much refused to try to understand sports fandoms. But then I discovered the movie magic of the Sports Film, which somehow manages to capture the glittery allure of men bumping and grinding into each other over a coveted cylindrical object (aside from the obvious). Only a Sports Film allows me to understand the awe of watching mere men perform strenuous athletic feats and rise to victory–not just over their opponents but always over myriad disadvantages and personal obstacles that beat so many of us down.
So I admit to not caring about the Super Bowl–seriously, who's playing? What time does it start? Where will it be played? Just kidding, none of these questions matter to me; the Amazon Rainforest has lost the equivalent of 10.3 million football fields due to deforestation, and Australia is still on f*cking fire. But, to that exact point, change isn't going to happen unless we all practice a little more empathy. I would like to understand why large, beefy men in tight pants grabbing at each other is so integral to our national identity as Americans, as fellow humans in this rat race called life.
In service of that goal, it's far more productive to watch any of the following football movies than tune in to the Super Bowl game between the Carolina Stampeders and the Michigan Divers, or the Nevada Groundhogs and the Florida Snowpiercers, or the New Jersey Nunchucks and the Missouri Landlines, or, you know, that team that's playing against those other guys.