Mandatory Movies: What To Watch When You Need Hardcore Fitspiration
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Swim trunk season is closing in, which means you might need to reconsider your game plan when it comes to diet and fitness. If you’ve let yourself (not to mention your resolutions) go, now is the time to get your rear into gear. Since the first step is often the hardest, Mandatory Movies rallied some cinematic inspiration to get you moving again.
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These sports-themed films will motivate you to put down the doughnut (delicious though it may be) and lace up your running (or basketball or cycling) shoes. If you’re exercising indoors, try taking your tablet with you and stream these flicks while you work out. You have nothing to lose but flab!
Sylvester Stallone’s eternal classic Rocky has been inspiring men to get their asses off the couch and take back their lives since its release in 1976. Becoming a boxer might not be in your future, but if you haven’t yet run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art yet, put it on your bucket list now.
Size doesn’t matter, whether we’re talking bank account balance or height, in this based-on-a-true-story drama about Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin), a steel plant worker gunning to play football for Notre Dame. After years of grunt work and humiliation, Rudy gets in the game, and his performance doesn’t disappoint.
If you don’t know the name Steve Prefontaine, you’re not a runner. Get schooled and inspired on this speed demon legend with this flick starring Jared Leto. In his youth, Prefontaine was deemed too short for basketball and football, and took up track instead. It wasn’t long before he was setting records at the University of Oregon, training for the Olympics, and acting as the guinea pig for his coach, Bill Bowerman, who co-founded Nike.
Can’t get enough Pre? Check out Without Limits, another great biopic starring Billy Crudup. Then hit the road!
Bloomington, Indiana high school grad Dave Stoller (Dennis Christopher) dreams of one day competing in a bike race against the Italians, Team Cinzano. He’s so obsessed with the idea, he rides his bike mercilessly and appropriates Italian culture. With the help of his friends, and a lot of training miles on his wheels, Dave finally gets his long-awaited chance in the saddle.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) knows what he’s worth. Now he just has to prove it to get the $10 million contract he’s jonesing for. Jerry Maguire, a sports agent who recently (and recklessly) launched his own athlete management company, vows to help him. While football does factor into this funny and heartwarming film, its focus is more on the importance of having a squad that supports you and fights for your success.
'The Cutting Edge'
Doug Dorsey is an injured Olympic-level hockey player looking to get back on the ice. Figure skater Kate Moseley is in need of a new partner. Personality-wise, they’re diametrically opposed – he’s a blue-collar rough-and-tumble kind of guy and she’s a frigid little princess – but with enough determination, Doug learns how to transfer his skills to figure skating and earns another shot at Olympic gold. And that “opposites attract” thing? Totally true. All their bickering turns out to be so much foreplay.
A man can be good at more than one sport, even at the Olympic level. That’s the realization of Leon Robinson (Derice Bannock), a disqualified Jamaican sprinter who assembles a rag-tag team of bobsledders to compete in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Hilarity ensues as the foursome prepare for competition under the guidance of coach Irvin Blitzer (John Candy).
Surfing isn’t just a sport; it’s a philosophy. So learns FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) when he goes undercover to catch a group of crooks suspected to be surfers who rob banks to finance their wave-riding adventures.
There’s just one problem: Utah doesn’t know how to surf. Enter Tyler (Lori Petty), the instructor that teaches him the ways of the board and inadvertently introduces him to Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), the kingpin of the shady operation. Sometimes, getting fit leads to the most unlikely of introductions.
'White Men Can't Jump'
Sometimes, plans to get fit fail because we take ourselves too seriously. Let loose, laugh a little, and find an opponent who will leave you out of breath from laughing as much as physical exertion. That’s what basketball hustlers Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) and Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) do in this 1992 comedy that never gets tired.
This is more of a cautionary tale than fitspiration. In what might be his best performance ever, Mickey Rourke plays Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a professional wrestler past his prime. This poor guy’s body has been completely destroyed by the “sport” and his spirit isn’t far behind. But since he seems incapable of doing anything else with his professional or personal lives, he literally stays in the ring ‘til the bitter end. As Bukowski said, "Find what you love and let it kill you."