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7 Movies with Obsessed NFL Fans

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Here we are at the first Sunday of the NFL season, and the excitement is running pretty high. It’s a beautiful thing. As we await the festivities, take a look at these films featuring characters who take their pro football VERY seriously.

DINER (1982)


Great, great movie with an amazing cast, including Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin and Paul Reiser. It’s set in Baltimore, where one of the characters, Eddie (played by Steve Guttenberg) makes his girlfriend take a written quiz on the Baltimore Colts before he’ll marry her! I love how seriously everyone takes it, even though they understand on some level that it’s nuts.

BIG FAN (2009)


Patton Oswalt dives into the crazy end of the pool as “Paul from Staten Island,” who loves his New York Giants and makes frequent calls to a sports radio station. Things do not go well for Paul when he encounters his favorite player making a drug deal. The movie doesn’t flinch in dealing with obsession and delusional behavior – but it also gets the intensity of sports fandom right.



For me, the Solatano clan in “Silver Linings Playbook” is the gold standard for NFL fans in movies. These folks live and die with their beloved Philadelphia Eagles. Robert DeNiro’s dad character is essentially a walking set of Sunday superstitions, which any NFL fan completely understands. One of my favorite scenes in this movie involves Jennifer Lawrence setting DeNiro straight on both his Eagles knowledge and the nature of jinxes. Crabby snacks and homemades for everyone!



One of the underrated things about this much-quoted movie is Regina King’s performance as the wife of an NFL player (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). She follows every play as if her husband’s life depended on it, which it does.



Alan Alda (that’s right) plays a writer for Sports Illustrated who attempts to understand the game from a new perspective by posing as a quarterback for the Detroit Lions. What’s truly wild about this is that it’s based on the true story of George Plimpton’s famous book, also called “Paper Lion.” Real NFL player Alex Karras, who later became a successful actor, plays himself here.

BUFFALO 66 (1998)


This one is most definitely not for everybody. Vincent Gallo’s gritty film is about a guy who gets out of prison, kidnaps a woman and forces her to pretend to be his wife during a visit to see his parents. How does the NFL factor into it? Well, Gallo’s horrifying parents (Angelica Huston and Ben Gazzara) are huge Buffalo Bills fans. They even named their son Billy, after the team, and have a picture of O.J. Simpson among the family photos. As if that weren’t enough, the plot involves Billy’s desire for revenge against a Bills kicker who missed a crucial field goal in the playoffs.



A personal favorite, because it accurately reveals the love-hate relationship you can have with your team. Darren McGavin plays a rough-around-the-edges Dad in northern Indiana in about 1940, dealing with the usual car problems, home repairs and odd neighbors. There’s a classic scene where the mom character knows exactly how to break up some possible tension at the family dinner table: mention that the Chicago Bears are playing the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. It immediately sends McGavin into a sarcastic meditation on his “Monsters of the Midway.”

That’s all for now, sports fans. Are you ready for some football?


4 Scary Movies From The ’70s That Aren’t Really Scary But Feature Oscar-Nominated Actors

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Have you ever gone back and watched a movie that creeped you out as a kid and realized it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as you remember? I have. Here’s a quartet of them from the 1970s:

FROGS (1972)

Do a Wikipedia search for “preposterous” and you might well find a link to this unmitigated stinker that I – beyond all reason – kind of dig. The plot is some kind of screwy take on nature striking back against humanity for being such jerks. I think. Anyway, you end up with poor Ray Milland and a young Sam Elliott (before his moustache required its own dressing room and legal representation) trapped on an island that’s slowly being overrun with snakes, lizards and … frogs. Mind you, there are no special effects here. Just the uncanny knowledge that if you see hundreds of close-ups of frogs you will want to run out of the theater shuddering.


Alan Alda (?!) is a brilliant young pianist who becomes the protege of a mysterious, older man (Curt Jurgens) who envies his talent and vigor. What develops is a moody tale of murder, lust and BARGAINS WITH SATAN! Jacqueline Bisset is utterly luminous in this film, which also features some of the scariest turtlenecks in motion picture history.

MAGIC (1978)

For my money, the best demonic ventriloquist dummy film that Anthony Hopkins ever made. Seriously, though, the dummy here – Fats – is frightening in the way that all ventriloquist dolls are. You’re always waiting for that one eyelid to open unexpectedly, am I right? It’s a strange cast here, as well, with Hopkins, Ann Margret and Burgess Meredith emoting all to hell as if this was a Paddy Chayefsky character drama. What’s most interesting now is to watch Hopkins and look for any hints of the Hannibal Lecter still to come.


You absolutely have to see this movie to believe it. That incredible bundle of crazy-eyed moxie, Karen Black, stars in a trio of scary stories. She’s sexy, she’s mousy, she’s tragic, she’s tough. But the whole ball of wax is the final story, about a woman who buys a figurine of a Zuni warrior. It’s campy, creepy nirvana, friends – with an ending shot that stays lodged in your brain for decades.

Have a fun Halloween, everyone, and feel free to tell me about the scary movies from your past that aren’t scary anymore.