Thursday Movie Picks: Female Athletes

a weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves

I feel like I'm saying it a lot lately but I once again struggled to find three films that fit the week's theme for the Thursday Movie Picks series. I guess I just don't want a lot of films about sports. It's not like there are a lot of movies about female athletes anyway though. It's always about this male champion and that male champion. Anyway, here's what I came up with with the help of Google. 

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

While I'm not sure the two girls (played by Parminder Nara and Keira Knightley) can be considered athletes, I loved this film when I was younger and I can't believe I needed Google to remember about it. 

I, Tonya (2017)

I didn't come up with this one either at first mainly because when I think of this film, I think of Margot Robbie's Oscar-deserving performance, the toxic mother-and-daughter relationship, and the abusive husband. But it is still the biopic of a figure skater.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

This, on the other hand, is the only film I could think of without any help. I just love Hilary Swank, I sympathised with the character, and the ending just broke me. This is probably my favourite movie about sports. 

11 comments :

  1. Great choices! Million Dollar Baby depressed me so much! But I loved I, Tonya. I would have loved to see Robbie win the Oscar for it.

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    1. I love that McDormand won for Three Billboards that year but I would have loved it more if Robbie won. Her performance simply was on another level.

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  2. I absolutely think of those girls in Bend It Like Beckham as athletes, not pro but definitely competitors. It was one of those films that I didn't know much about but took a chance on when it was in theatres and ended up really enjoying.

    I can't say the same for I, Tonya. The performances were terrific but those are some loathsome people it essays. Once was more than enough, I'll never watch it again.

    The performances in Million Dollar Baby were very good but it was terribly derivative. I knew exactly what was going to happen every moment. It's another I've only watched once.

    When you mentioned that you had to Google I was sure A League of Their Own would be on your list (and all over the place today but I've yet to see it) but if the filmmakers saw my first pick I wonder if it served as at least somewhat of an inspiration. My others are also older but I think you're right, there really aren't that many films about female athletes.

    Girls Can Play (1937)-Ambitious cub reporter Jimmy Jones (Charles Quigley) covering the sports beat meets Ann Casey (Julie Bishop) player on an all-girl softball team sponsored by local drugstore owner Foy Harris (John Gallaudet). Jones thinking he smells a story about women in competitive sports pursues Ann, there’s a story alright but it’s not the one he thinks. Using the team as a mask of respectability Harris runs a bootleg operation from the back of his store. With the girls out on the pitch and Jones digging for dirt team catcher Sue Collins (Rita Hayworth) learns too much and pays the price. Lower case Columbia B has a shadow of the future A League of Their Own, but nothing is done with the idea. It does provide a glimpse of future star Hayworth, still a brunette, working her way up before the studio transformed her into one of the premiere love goddesses of the Golden Era.

    Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)-When teenager Florence Farley’s (Sally Forrest) skill as a tennis player begins to attract attention, her manipulative mother Milly (Claire Trevor-easily stealing the picture), pressures her to join the competitive women’s tennis circuit over the objections of Florence’s father Will (Kenneth Patterson). Florence's fame and success grow and so do her mother's ambition and chicanery. Look at the mid-century women’s sports world was both written (Martha Wilkerson) and directed (Ida Lupino) by a woman…the ONLY film directed by a woman in all 1951!

    Pat and Mike (1952)-College athletic director Pat Pemberton (Katharine Hepburn) decides to enter some professional women’s golf matches to see how she’ll do. She excels until her domineering fiancĂ©, Collier Weld (William Ching), turns up and distracts her. But before that happens sports manager Mike Conovan (Spencer Tracy) sees her talent and offers to train her, and she turns pro. After realizing that Pat stops trying when Collier is around, Mike works to keep them apart especially when he takes a shine to her himself. Written specifically for Hepburn by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon because of the star’s athletic skill the film also features many of the top women athletes of the day including top golfers Betty Hicks, Helen Dettweiler and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

    Babe (1975)-Speaking of Zaharias, considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, this TV biopic follows her life (enacted by Susan Clark) from just before she won two gold medals in the 1932 track and field Olympics through her dabbling and excelling in baseball and basketball, her courtship and marriage to professional wrestler George Zaharias (football star Alex Karras), her decision to pursue golf, her ascension to the top of that game and finally being felled by cancer at age 45. Susan Clark (who won an Emmy for her performance) and Karras fell in love and married after the film remaining together until Karras’s death in 2012.

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    1. The reason why A League of Their Own didn't make it to my list is that I'm yet to see that movie. Not really sure how I managed to miss that one.

      I haven't seen any of your picks but Pat and Mike was mentioned several times this week and now I really want to see it.

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  3. Bend It Like Beckham absolutely qualifies. However, I've only seen it in pieces, never the whole thing. I should change that. I absolutely love the other two movies. Great choices all around.

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    1. I haven't seen Beckham in years but it's a light, fun and enjoyable film.

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  4. I've seen all 3 of these films and they're all awesome as we share a pick with I, Tonya. Tonya Harding was unfairly mistreated as I hope she gets another chance as a coach and discover new skaters who don't play by the rules and win it all.

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    1. I don't know about that. I mean, she was kind of a bitch. She does deserve a second chance though.

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  5. ok..I wrote here and..poof...it disappeared. I love all 3 picks but, you are right, there are not that many films about female athletes. I haven’t seen Bend It Like Beckham in years but I do love it. I, Tonya, I was reluctant to see because I didn’t like that skater getting any sympathy. I remember her pout and cry at the Olympics which totally screwed with our poor Canadian Gal who came on right after that bitch. That being said, it’s a really good film and so well acted. Alison Janey is evil. Million Dollar Baby is also very good but not my favourite to be honest.

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    1. I knew nothing about Harding nor the other skaters before watching the movie (I wasn't even born back then) so I didn't have any issues sympathizing for Harding. I must admit though that she was an awful person.

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  6. Bend It Like Beckham - they are definitely athletes. Athletes are anyone that compete in a any sort of sporting competition game, you don't have to be a pro...you can be an amateur or a student athlete...

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