Researching this list was a tedious and painful test of endurance, which ultimately led me to three unfortunate conclusions:
1. With few exceptions, the 2000’s seriously lacked in both quality and quantity of sports movies.
2. Sure they weren’t all bad, but of the few actual great sports movies of the decade, only two or three of them feature prominent female leads.
3. Of the prominent female leads in quality movies, only a handful of them are decidedly non-ugly.
Thankfully, the decade had no shortage of horrendous sports movies that used hot chicks to distract from the overall badness; thereby allowing me to create a list of more than five girls.
Everybody (besides the movie going public) wins!
Honorable Mention: Her over-the-top wholesomeness disqualified her from contention.
The Girl: Lily Collins plays Oher’s sweet as sugar sister, Lilly Tuohy.
Worth seeing? I hate when people tell me to buy the book; but you should buy the book.
Honorable Mention: Does it count as a sports movie if Woody Allen is the director? No. Unfortunately this disqualified one of the hottest girls on the list.
The Movie: A former tennis pro begins an affair with the ex-girlfriend of his girlfriend’s brother; Nola Rice. Things get dicey.
The Girl: Scarlett Johansson plays sexpot, Nola, an American actress who makes life more interesting and more complicated.
Worth seeing? Absolutely, this movie is top notch.
Honorable Mention: Playing a nun is an automatic disqualification.
The Movie: This kind of idiotic freak-show is Jack Black’s bread and butter.
The Girl: Ana de la Reguera plays Sister Encarnación, the only character in the movie that you could be chained to without cutting off your own arm to escape.
Worth seeing? Does 90 minutes of a half-naked Jack Black overacting in powder blue spandex sound appealing to you?
Honorable Mention: Inexplicable badness combined with a complicated and convoluted storyline disqualify this movie from contention.
The Movie: Fighting is the story of Shawn MacAurther, a street hustler who is forced to defend his ticket scalping territory from bullies via a complicated street fighting network.
The Girl: Zulay Henao is Zulay Velez, a single mother who Shawn once tried to rip off before the two became involved.
Worth seeing? If you don’t value your ears or your eyes or your brain or your dignity.
The Movie: It seems like it’s going to be about the military but it’s actually about boxing; in the military.
The Girl: Jordana Brewster plays hot tomboy, Ali, an upperclassman/instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy who steps in to train James Franco’s character, and steps out with his heart.
Worth seeing? The Department of Defense said the story does not accurately portray Midshipmen or the Navy's standards. The Naval Academy asked Midshipmen and Navy personnel planning on going to the movie not to wear their uniform.
I often turn to the Department of Defense for movie suggestions, so I passed on Annapolis.
The Movie: A surprisingly hilarious depiction of the absurdity of NASCAR and the business of being the best. If you ain’t first, you’re last.
The Girl: Leslie Bibb plays Ricky Bobby’s gold-digging wife, Carley Bobby, who divorces him and marries his best friend after losing his spot on the team.
Worth seeing? Here’s the deal, this movie is the best there is. Plain and simple. It wakes up in the morning and pisses excellence.
The Movie: It taught me that if I capitalized on my parents’ cluelessness by building an elaborate web of lies to disguise my double life as a star soccer player, then I can travel internationally and date my coach. Ultimately, this act will bring enough public shame on them that my sister’s fiancé will be pressured to call off their wedding--though it doesn't happen. At the end of this crazy mess, I will be rewarded with an international soccer scholarship. Score!!!!
The Girl: Parminder Nagra plays, Jess, who manages to break through traditional Indian convention with nothing more than a soccer ball and compulsive lies.
Worth seeing? It’s definitely not bad for a movie about girls playing soccer.
The Movie: Tells the story of a boy who achieves his Goal! of playing professional soccer in England by practicing, playing hard, and lying about a medical condition.
The Girl: Anna Friel plays the team nurse, Roz Harrison, a much sexier profession than doctor, who gets the guy at the end.
Worth seeing? Yes, assuming that an overdramatic tear-jerker that tells the story of a young immigrant living in Los Angles, who overcomes physical and financial adversity, and achieves his dreams (and gets the girl), is something that appeals to your sensibilities. .
The Movie: A complicated teen with a dark past has trouble fitting in at a new school and is lured into an ultimate underground fight club.
The Girl: Amber Heard plays manipulative Baja Miller (seriously) who, despite having a boyfriend (Ryan), develops an immediate interest in the complicated stranger (Jake). Naturally a bitter feud develops after Baja dumps Ryan and the two square-off in the final minutes of the movie. Jake wins the fight, as well as the girl and the respect of his fellow students, including Ryan.
Worth seeing? Certainly not after some jerk gave away the entire plot; complete with the happy ending that teaches everyone something about life.
The Movie: Clueless overbearing mother is determined to transform her shy and awkward teenage daughter into the beauty queen. Sulky outsider daughter eventually dyes her hair blue, quits pageants, and finds a place to belong: the roller derby. Mom comes around; daughter calls mom her hero and everyone is a better person for it.
The Girl: Ellen Paige plays Bliss Cavendar, a teenage girl fed up with living under her mother’s thumb and convinced that nobody understands her. Original (thbbbtfff).
Worth seeing? Only if you are a complicated teenage a girl.
The Movie: A scrupulous high school basketball coach imposes strict academic and behavioral standards for his unruly players and stuns the entire community when he decides to enforce them. Everyone is outraged but the coach doesn’t back down and "peace's out" when the school board tries to force him.
The Girl: Ashanti plays Kyra, a girl in a complicated relationship with problematic basketball players. They break up early in the film, but he changes his ways thanks to Carter’s positive influence and the two reunite.
Worth seeing? Samuel L. Jackson is almost always worth watching and Coach Carter is no exception.
The Movie: Think Scary Movie but spoofing sports movies instead of scary movies.
The Girl: Brooke Nevin plays Michelle Fields, the daughter of the new football coach, who was brought up as a son by her father and has a black boyfriend.
Worth seeing? I won’t pretend like I’ve watched this pile of cinematic garbage, but pointing out Michelle’s black boyfriend in the summary is a clue that this movie is potentially offensive... and unquestionably an unpleasant way to waste an afternoon.
The Movie: An anti-union comedy about one-time OSU star Shane Falco, a scab QB who crosses the picket line and eventually leads a rag-tag bunch of Replacements to the playoffs. On his road to redemption, Falco manages to land the head cheerleader and find inner peace, thanks to his second chance at football glory.
The Girl: Brooke Langton is Annabelle Farrell, the head cheerleader for the Washington Sentinels, with a distaste for primadonna pro athletes. Her world is turned upside down when she falls for the scrappy new QB who lets her down at first, but ultimately redeems himself by apologizing and kissing her on national television.
Worth seeing? Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever. The movie is stupid, but enjoyable.
The Movie: A hot and adorable blond high school cheerleader ends up pregnant with the star quarterback’s baby. The couple is shunned by their parents and the destitute cheerleader (with the help of her squad) concocts a plan to rob a bank in order to provide a better life for her unborn child.
The Girl: Melissa George is Cleo Miller, a seductive brunette who has a passion for cheerleading and an obsession with Conan O’Brien. “Can you imagine Conan's head on Keanu's body? Unstoppable.”
Worth seeing? Sure it’s kind of stupid, but it’s supposed to be. It’s also a little darker and funnier than you’d imagine.
The Movie: The Rancho Carne Toro’s cheerleading squad is a predominately blonde, cheering juggernaut, who's stunned to learn their former captain jacked their winning routines from the East Compton Clovers. The Clovers’ sassy new captain, Isis, challenges Toro’s captain Torrance to beat them on an even playing field with an original routine.
The Girl: Gabrielle Union is Isis, newly elected captain of the East Compton Clovers fed up with seeing their routines performed on ESPN, who, along with her teammates, confront the Toros at a football game. This sets the stage for victory at their cheerleading national championship showdown.
Worth seeing? There is almost nothing to dislike about this movie.
The Movie: Prison inmates challenge crooked prison guards to a game of prison yard football in which the inmates emerge victorious. It ends with one prison guard trying to convince another to shoot the inmate who threw the game winning two-point conversion, who wasn’t trying to escape, for trying to escape.
The Girl: Courtney Cox is Lena, the big breasted wife of a former NFL player, who starts the argument which ultimately leads to her drunken husband wrecking his car into police cruisers and a three year sentence for grand theft auto.
Worth seeing? This garbage is a remake, but the original movie features Burton Leon Reynolds in his prime and, thus, is a must see.
The Movie: Is the true story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender who was the only person to make the 1976 Eagles’ team after Coach Dick Vermeil held open tryouts.
The Girl: Elizabeth Banks is Janet Cantrell, a sassy Philadelphia bartender who was raised in New York and is a devout Giants fan who can seriously rock a jersey.
Worth seeing? Absolutely. It’s a perfect blend of cheesy sentimentality and inspirational achievement.
The Movie: Summer Catch is the story of a blue-collar athlete living in Cape Cod who dreams of playing major league baseball, but when he meets a beautiful young woman summering at the Cape, he is faced with a distraction and temptation which could force him to choose between the future he’s always dreamed of and the woman he loves.
The Girl: Jessica Biel is the distractingly beautiful Tenley Parrish, the privileged daughter of a wealthy family who vacations on the Cape, who diverts the attention of a blue-collar baseball star; whose talent may be the only ticket out of the industrial town he longs to escape.
Worth seeing? OMG NO. Worst. Movie. Ever.
The Movie: Blades of Glory is the compelling story of two rival Olympic ice skaters who are stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from the single’s competition. Rivals, Chazz and Jimmy, exploit a loophole which allow them to compete as a pair and ultimately win a gold medal.
The Girl: Jenna Fischer is Katie Van Waldenberg, sister of Fairchild and Stranz Van Waldenberg, the brother/sister skating duo who are the reigning U.S. national pair’s champions, and who try to use their sister’s affection for rival Jimmy MacElroy to gain a competitive advantage.
Worth seeing? Do you enjoy homoerotic figure skating with incestuous undertones? If you answered "yes", then this movie is for you.
The Movie: Fired Up! Is the inspirational story of two formerly popular high school football players (Nick and Shawn) whose sadistic, and legally questionable, plan to attend a cheerleaders’ summer camp is threatened when sentimental Shawn has the audacity to fall for one of the dimwitted cheerleaders he hoped to dupe.
The Girl: Sarah Roemer is Carly Davidson, the head cheerleader, with a douchey doctor boyfriend who becomes the object of Shawn’s affections, and ultimately, his girl via a series of increasingly inexplicable circumstances that are best forgotten.
Worth seeing? Yes, if you are a douchebag with a God-given ability to lure ladies into your lair through deception.
The Movie: The story of two childhood friends (Monica and Quincy) whose love-hate relationship spans decades. Their past and mutual desire to play professional basketball prove to be unbreakable bonds.
The Girl: Sanaa Lathan is Monica Wright, an emotional basketball star with more desire than ability, who only has eyes for childhood friend Quincy; a born star who rests on his talent. The pair date in high school, but Quincy’s growing number of female admirers, and Monica’s struggles on the court, drive them apart before they are reunited years later for a happy ending.
Worth seeing? The romance is predictable but the characters are not and it’s definitely worth watching, if you’ve got a weekend lacking in substantial plans.
The Movie: The story of three surfer girls trying to raise the 14-year-old sister of Anne Marie Chadwick, since their mother ditched the islands for Las Vegas.
The Girl: Kate Bosworth is Anne Marie Chadwick, a surfer trying to prepare for a comeback competition in Hawaii. She becomes distracted by a sudden relationship that develops with an NFL quarterback in town for the Pro Bowl.
Worth seeing? It’s predictable and fairly boring; no small feat for a movie packed with gorgeous girls in bikinis.
The Movie: A teen 'dramedy' that tells the story of a young rebellious gymnast forced to return to the sport she abandoned, after a judge mandates her attendance at an elite gymnastics academy following a run-in with the law.
The Girl: Missy Peregrym is the cantankerous gymnast Haley Graham, a one-time star who walked out of an Olympic competition and cost America the gold medal, and forced into unretirement by an activist judge.
Worth seeing? Not at all..
The Movie: Is an influential film based on the true story of “The Z-Boys,” a revolutionary group of skateboarders who defined the sport.
The Girl: Nikki Reed is Kathy Alva, the younger sister of professional skateboarder Tony Alva who becomes involved with her brother’s friend Stacey, but they break up after a fight. She ultimately ends up with Jay, another friend of her brother.
Worth seeing? The acting isn’t bad, the characters are engaging, and the story won’t make you puke.
The Movie: In November 1970, most of Marshall University’s football team died in a plane crash that occurred just one mile short of the the runway. We Are Marshall tells the story of a young head coach who wasn't on the flight and manages to rebuild the team from freshman who didn’t make the trip, and walk-on athletes from other Marshall sports programs.
The Girl: Kate Mara is Annie Cantrell, the head cheerleader who was engaged to one of the players who died in the horrific crash.
Worth seeing? The story is so extraordinary that it makes the ordinary movie worth watching.
The Movie: As you may recall, Fired Up! is the inspirational story of two formerly popular high school football players (Nick and Shawn) whose sadistic, and legally questionable, plan to attend a cheerleaders’ summer camp is threatened when Nick begins to pursue their coach’s wife Diora.
The Girl: Molly Sims is Diora, the wife of the camp owner who is immune to the advances of pathological liars.
Worth seeing? Again, if you are a douchebag with a God-given ability to lure ladies into your lair through deception, you will truly enjoy Fired Up!
The Movie: The Wrestler is the story of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an aging professional wrestler whose declining physical ability is nudging him towards retirement and forcing him to define his life outside the ring.
The Girl: Marisa Tomei is Cassidy, a stripper well beyond her prime, who strikes up a friendship with Randy, a regular at the club. Cassidy tries to help Randy reconnect with his estranged daughter, but her rejection of his romantic advances sends him running back to wrestling, which ultimately costs him his life.
Worth seeing? Certainly one of the best sports movies of the decade.
The Movie: Is the story of a small-town high school football team in Texas that loses their star quarterback to a career-ending injury and whose entire reality is redefined when backup QB John Moxon exposes their legendary coach as an immoral out-of-touch relic.
The Girl: Ali Larter is Darcy Sears, the ladder-climbing cheerleader girlfriend of the injured Lanrce Harbor, who attempts to seduce the backup QB within hours of her boyfriend’s career ending injury.
Worth seeing? You’ve already seen it and you know it rules.
The Movie: The Fighter is the story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward’s career, and the complicated relationship between he shares with half-brother Dicky Eklund, a former boxer-turned-junkie most famous for knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard during a televised fight on HBO.
The Girl: Amy Adams is smokin hot Charlene Fleming, a former college athlete who Micky firsts notices working at a local bar. They become seriously involved and Charlene's presence immediately irritates Micky's mother and his seven sisters.
Worth seeing? This is one of the best sports movies of all time, and if you haven’t seen it already, you suck. Sorry.