10 Sports Movies We Can't Wait to See in 2017

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2017

10 Sports Movies We Can't Wait to See in 2017

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    Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

    Who else is stoked for Cars 3? Anyone?

    Even if animated flicks aren't your thing, there are plenty of new sports films to look forward to in 2017. (There is a Goon sequel, for the love!)

    From documentaries to full-length feature films, true stories to works of fiction, boxing to poker—2017 looks like it'll be a good year in big-screen sports.

    Quick honorable mentions go out to the hypothetical Creed 2 and the untitled, sure-to-be-hilarious Will Ferrell esports movie. Neither have a release date—and Creed 2 isn't even confirmed—but if and when those two movies come out, they'll be big.

    All right, now on to the movies slated for the new year.

'Jawbone'

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    There can never be too many boxing movies, right? 

    Continuing the trend of 2016 releases Hands of Stone and Bleed for This, there will be at least one boxing movie in 2017 as well. 

    BBC Films was involved in the development of Jawbone.

    "Written as a semiautobiographical piece by actor Johnny Harris, the story revolves around fictional down-and-outer Jimmy, who returns to his childhood boxing gym for a shot at redemption," per Christina Newland of Fightland. 

    The film stars English actors Ian McShane and Harris. English singer-songwriter Paul Weller wrote the soundtrack and former Irish professional boxer Barry McGuigan is serving as a training adviser.

    Newland wrote, "It seems fitting to see some British swagger in response to the American boxing movie—especially given the current resurgence of British champions."

    UK Release Date: March

'Borg'

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    Noted for his hot temper, American tennis star John McEnroe won seven singles Grand Slams and spent time as the world No. 1 from 1981-84.  

    Shia LaBeouf will play McEnroe in Borg, the story of the legendary 1980 Wimbledon final between the American and rival Swedish star Bjorn Borg.

    Borg defeated McEnroe—1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6—in what some call one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.

    Borg said, per Sophie Eastaugh of CNN.com: "People come up and say, do you remember the final in 1980? Of course I remember the final. When I speak to John, sometimes we get together. ... The thing is, we both remember every single point. We talk about the final—we know exactly. It meant a lot to both of us."

    Sweden Release Date: September

'Nature Boy'

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    ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series has told dozens of sports stories over the years—from the Fab Five to O.J. Simpson.  

    And in 2017, the series will add iconic pro wrestler Ric Flair to its list of notable subjects.

    The film, to be titled Nature Boy, according to Ian Casselberry of Awful Announcing, is directed by Rory Karpf, who also directed 30 for 30 documentaries I Hate Christian Laettner and The Book Of Manning.

    Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated wrote:

    With professional wrestling boasting millions of fans over different generations, ESPN's upcoming '30 for 30' presentation on the life of Ric Flair­—the Rolex-wearing, diamond ring-wearing, kiss stealing (Woooooo!), wheelin dealin, limousine riding, jet flying son of a gun—promises to be one of the most anticipated sports documentaries next year.

    Release Date: "...scheduled for debut in 2017, possibly as early as the spring or summer," per Deitsch.

'This Was the XFL'

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    Speaking of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentaries, the XFL is getting its turn.

    The XFL was a failed football league created by WWE owner Vince McMahon. It lasted just one season (2001), but the potential for entertaining storylines is abundant. Imagine the ridiculousness of pro wrestling plus the violence of football—that was pretty much the XFL, in a nutshell.

    Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing wrote:

    Most of the iconic moments that have lasted far longer than the league itself include 'He Hate Me' and the ill-fated locker room shenanigans involving scantily-clad cheerleaders and WWE-style skits. But it might surprise you to know the XFL actually had a rather lasting effect on the world of professional football and the way TV covers it.

    Also, the trailer looks boss.

    Release Date: Feb. 2

'Final Score'

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    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Final Score, starring Pierce Brosnan and Dave Bautista, involves a football match but appears to be more of an action movie.

    In fact, producer Marc Goldberg said, per Variety's Dave McNary: "Imagine Die Hard in a soccer stadium."

    Premier League fans should be particularly interested, however, since filming took place at London's Upton Park, former home of West Ham United. In fact, parts of the facility—marked for demolition—were blown up for the film. 

    McNary explained: "Final Score, written by the Lynch brothers, takes place at a major sporting event, during which the stadium is seized by a group of heavily armed criminals demanding ransom. An ex-soldier must use his military skills to save the capacity crowd of 35,000—including the daughter of his fallen comrade."

    Release Date: 2017

'Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press'

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    Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

    The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker legal battle was big sports news in 2016. Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) sued the media company for posting a sex tape and his victory resulted in devastation for Gawker, namely in the form of bankruptcy and a sale to Univision. 

    And now, the whole saga is coming to the big screen as a documentary titled, Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press.

    Per sundance.org: "The trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, and raised important questions about how big money can silence media. This film is an examination of the perils and duties of the free press in an age of inequality."

    Release Date: January at the Sundance Film Festival

'Battle of the Sexes'

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    Really, it seemed only a matter of time before someone made a full-length feature about the infamous "Battle of the Sexes."

    In 1973, Billie Jean King was 29 years old and the world's No. 1 female tennis player. Bobby Riggs was a 55-year-old former player, "a 1939 Wimbledon champion turned hustler," per Larry Schwartz of ESPN.com.

    Riggs challenged King to a match, and she said, per Schwartz: "I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn't win that match. It would ruin the women's tour and affect all women's self-esteem."

    And she did win—6-4, 6-3, 6-3—scoring a major victory for women's rights.

    As if the storyline wasn't enticing enough, Emma Stone will star as King and Steve Carell will play Riggs. Yes, please.

    U.S. Release Date: 2017

'Molly's Game'

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    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    If Rounders is a sports movie, then Molly's Game is too.

    The film stars Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, a real-life, one-time skier who started an exclusive, underground poker game. The film is based on Bloom's memoir, Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.

    Rumors about cast additions have swirled over the later 2016 months, per Nancy Tartaglione of Deadline, but the film's IMDb page indicates sports-movie hero Kevin Costner, Idris Elba and Michael Cera will also be a part of the star-studded cast.

    To boot, the film will be the directorial debut of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (known for his work on Steve Jobs and Moneyball, among others). So, yea, put this one on the to-do list. 

    U.S. Release Date: 2017

'Cars 3'

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    Auto racing fans and families alike have followed the adventures of Lightning McQueen and his trusty pal Mater for years. They watched as McQueen learned some humility under the tutelage of Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman) in the original Cars (2006) and took on an Italian open-wheeled racer in Cars 2 (2011).

    Right on schedule, the third installment of the Disney/Pixar film is set for 2017. The first trailer for Cars 3 looks pretty intense. Crashing is part of racing of course, but Lightning McQueen? What happens? Is he OK? How is it that "everything will change" as the trailer suggests? 

    Also, consider this from Scott Mendelson of Forbes: "First, the animation for the cars is a lot more lifelike than we saw back in the original 2006 offering, and that was pretty darn good at the time. The level of realism on display is rather stunning, to the point where I wish that this film was showing in 120fps/3D/4k at a theater near me next summer."

    U.S. Release Date: June

'Goon: Last of the Enforcers'

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    Warning: Trailer contains NSFW language.

    Goon, released in 2011, is a highly underrated sports movie. In May, Esquire's Diana Bruk named it one of her "15 Extremely Underrated Films That Every Movie Buff Needs to See."

    Starring Seann William Scott (aka Stifler) as endearing minor league hockey enforcer Doug Glatt, the film is a delight. It has an 82 percent critic's score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

    Scott Tobias of NPR wrote, "It's made with affection both for the ritual of hockey fights and the strain of sports movies that care more about wisecracks and pranks than winning the big game."

    Given all that, the 2017 release of its sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, is an exciting prospect.

    Canada Release Date: March