Thursday Movie Pick #12: The Underdogs

Thursday Movie Picks by Wandering through the Shelves returns. According to the theme of the week, three to five movies are picked and shared with the reason. Should anyone be interested in joining in, feel free to visit the main page here.

This week’s theme is: The Underdogs or from-zero-to-hero guys or comeback kids, you name it. I must admit that this theme mostly revolves around sports movies, but I’m glad that I found beyond that ‘stereotype’, too. So, here’s my most favorite underdogs movies.

01. Million Dollar Baby (2014, Clint Eastwood)
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Clint Eastwood’s veteran boxing coach, haunted by a ghost of his past, attempts to train an underdog female boxer (Hillary Swank) in order to atone his deed. Both – the coach and the boxer – are underrated; they climb up the ladders to stardom. Dedication and patience has led Frankie the coach to deliver his mo cuishle, Maggie, to the title shot she’s ever wanted; but, it’s not the kind of underdog story you’ve ever wanted to watch. I personally could never forgive that ending until today.

02. The Damned United (2009, Tom Hooper)
TheDamnedUnited-Sinekdoks-2

The Damned United is a biography of the best football manager England has never had – The Special One of his era, Brian Clough (portrayed brilliantly by Michael Sheen). Starting off as a manager for a provincial club, Derby County, which struggled with relegation in England’s third-tier league, his managerial skill helped the club to gain double promotion and even win premier league. Once again, it’s not the kind of underdog story you wanted to watch, because it’s set in Clough’s ill-fated 44-day tenure in a club he hated the most.

03. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010, Edgar Wright)
00-scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world

Edgar Wright’s comic-book inspired bravura is definitely ‘the underdog’ story you’d like to watch. It’s a feel-good, energetic and vibrant coming-of-age romance that goes beyond genre. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a regular guy in a band called Sex Bob-Omb. One day he meets a purple-haired girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and fell in love. To be with her, this underdog (yes, Michael Cera is a certified one) must defeat Ramona’s evil exes. Weird? Yes, but it’s a fun ride in the end.

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Author: Paskalis Damar AK

A Bali-based blogger. A cinema loner and self-claimed movie fan since 2013. Public Relation in non-cinematic world. bit.ly/1iSSB2Q

22 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Pick #12: The Underdogs”

  1. Sports underdog stories are very popular today but then they lend themselves to the theme. I’m not a huge fan of Million Dollar Baby, it was fine the once but not something I’d watch again. I did like The Damned United, I usually enjoy Michael Sheen unless it’s those damn Underworld films, and it’s a great fit. Haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim but it’s on my list.

    I have one sports film in my choices and two other favorites, the last is one of my all time favorites.

    Little Miss Sunshine (2006)-Young Olive (Abigail Breslin) has a dream shared by her grandfather (Alan Arkin). She wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine contest but that requires a road trip with her dysfunctional family, inventor dad Richard (Greg Kinnear), willfully mute brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), suicidal Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and flustered mom Sheryl (Toni Collette). At first it looks doubtful but then they all pile into the van and go on a bumpy road to give Olive her chance despite the odds. Just quirky enough to be charming without wearing out its welcome thanks to a great cast all doing terrific work. Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

    Miracle (2004)-The true story of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) the hockey coach who took the rough material that was the US hockey team and whipped them into Olympic gold medal winning shape. Wonderfully detailed with athletes rather than actors as the team mates, though they perform their lines well, and a powerfully convincing lead performance from Russell, one of his best. Despite the known outcome the film is quite involving and the end exciting.

    October Sky (1999)-Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is just another backwoods teen in a slowly dying coal town in the 50’s until he witnesses Sputnik flying by one night. Filled with the wonder of space and encouraged by his young teacher Miss Riley (Laura Dern) he convinces his friends O’Dell & Roy Lee to work with him to try and build rockets. Enlisting the school outcast and brain Quentin they plunge in against many obstacles, including the stubborn resistance of Homer’s good but pigheaded father (Chris Cooper). Meeting with some success they determine to enter the national science competition in pursuit of college scholarships. A great film with tremendous performances full of determination to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds and all around American can-doism with one of the most beautifully evocative and fitting scores ever.

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    1. Yessss! Sport films actually lend most of its substance from ‘underdog’ formula.
      You know, I’m glad you love Michael Sheen. He’s great!
      I’ve watched Little Miss Sunshine and the rest are coming soon!

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  2. Sports films for this type is always big because one can see that in real life. Million Dollar Baby is a tough film and hated that ending. I haven’t seen the other 2 but The Damned United sounds quite good. I am not much into Michael Sera so unsure about your last film.

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