The Year in Sports Media: Movies

December 24, 2012

Real-life Drama

Though it was a slow year for sports-related feature films, two documentaries made a trip to the multiplex (or art-house theater) worthwhile. Ballplayer: Pelotero tells the story of two teenage Dominican baseball players with dreams of signing major league contracts. The parallels to Hoop Dreams are abundant: two protagonists, one outgoing and one reserved, trying to use sports to escape poverty while surrounded by adults whose motives are not transparent. And the result is similar: a stark film that raises awareness of the troubling manner in which young athletes are often handled. Head Games, from Hoop Dreams director Steve James, also tackles a serious issue—concussions—by humanizing it. He spent time with ex-athletes, up-and-comers and the family of a college football player who committed suicide, producing an arresting film that could make up for the Oscar snub James experienced in 1995, when despite near-universal critical acclaim, Hoop Dreams wasn't even nominated in the documentary feature category. In a year in which the feel-good sports movie was absent, these two films at least made audiences feel something.

—Mark Bechtel

PHOTOSTRAND RELEASING (POSTER)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)