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Weeping for World Building

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

There is one term that always makes me cringe when I hear it: world building. World building is the term that always comes out when someone is proactively making excuses for a flawed story.

“That movie wasn’t so hot.”

“Well, it’s the first in a trilogy so it’s mostly world building.”

You know how a world should be built? Through the story, and that’s why so many great films are great. They immerse you in a world without bogging you down in the details of what the world is. You know everything you need to. You can go in further in subsequent movies if called for, but focusing an entire film on building the world instead of the characters is a recipe for disaster.

Look back at A New Hope (1977) as one of the most obvious examples. Through this first stage of the journey of Luke Skywalker, how much time do we spend world building? Almost none. We learn the elements of the world that are relevant to our character and move on. We get the Empire is bad. The Rebels are good. The Jedi are legendary knights. We don’t spend a lengthy amount of time learning why a Jedi uses a lightsabre, we just learn that’s their weapon and most people don’t use it.

As the franchise moves on, we are able to delve deeper and deeper into what the world is. Some may argue too deep if you include the prequel trilogy, but we sat through that trilogy because of the subtle world that was built over the course of three movies originally.

A more modern example would be a film like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl  (2003). We again learn about the world of this film as we need to. Initially it seems to be exactly the historical world we would expect, until we subtly realize this is a fantastical version of that reality. Take the scene where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) steal a ship. The set-up is for them to take a boat out to the ship to steal it, but the execution is them using the boat to create a pocket of air as they walk on the bottom of the harbour out to the ship. Would it work in real life? No. That’s why it’s a beautiful, simple piece of world building. It serves the story and allows the expansion and belief of a world where these fantastical moments are possible.

On the flip side, there are far too many movies that sacrifice character and story to create a world. In many of these cases, the world created is spectacular and beautifully realized, but lacks staying power because the audience has no real entry into that world. You need character and story to make a world memorable.

So what do you think? What are some of the examples where World Building overtook story and character? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Zac Hogle is a producer/writer who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

 

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Categories: Movies, Writing

The Top Films of 2012

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, the new year is upon us so I thought this to be the perfect time to look back at the films I saw in 2012. Below is a list from least favorite to favorite. I’m sure some choices will have people scratching their heads, but I do my best to explain my opinions. Also, Les Miserables isn’t on the list. I know. I haven’t seen it yet.

Enjoy, leave your thoughts in the comments below and have a happy new year!

23. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Just because it’s last on my list doesn’t mean I didn’t take something from this film. While it may not have been everything I had hoped it would be, Vampire Hunter does have its high points. Too lengthy a build-up and some flawed execution detract, but there are moments of pure camp glee; most notably a scene in which a vampire starts throwing horses at Abraham Lincoln and they then stage an elaborate chase scene over the backs of the same stampeding horses. But in the end some fun moments can’t save this movie from the bottom of my list.

22. Rock of Ages

I actually enjoyed Rock of Ages when I saw it in theatres, but I think it was more because of the star-studded cast playing the Broadway musical that I loved so much. In retrospect the story didn’t translate well to the screen and became more of a playground for on-screen personas as opposed to the driving plot of two young kids trying to make it in LA. As fun as it was to see many of these people (Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti to name a few) in this style of a movie, in the end many were miscast and couldn’t carry the weight. Take a pass on this one and go to New York to see the Broadway musical.

21. The Pirates! Band of Misfits

This one is the first disappointment of the list. I am a big fan of Aardman Animations work, but this one just fell a bit flat. I can’t say much more than that. It’s not a bad movie, but it falls down the list as I was expecting more.

20. End of Watch

Here’s the thing: End of Watch was good. It might have been really good. Excellent performances and a rock solid script had me anticipating every twist and turn. The problem was the combination of shaky cam and found footage. It’s a personal thing for me, and this movie may deservedly rank higher on other lists, but I found myself queasy from the filming style and the extremely visceral gore on screen. Had this been shot differently, End of Watch may very well have ended up in my top ten.

19. Prometheus

Described to my friends as the best movie I’ll ever be disappointed in, Prometheus is the unofficial prequel to Alien (1979) that we’ve been hearing about for years. In the end it turned out to be more Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Ridley Scott than Alien.

18. The Watch

IT had some laughs, but it ended up being much of the same trope that Ben Stiller comedies tend to trot out. Predictable and full of plot holes, The Watch would probably be a fine rental for some easy jokes.

17. Django Unchained

I for one can’t wait for Quentin Tarantino’s next film, if for no other reason than he seems to be following every stellar film with one that is barely watchable. See the Kill Bill (2003/2004) duology which was followed by the poorly executed Death Proof (2007), which was subsequently followed by the incredible Inglorious Basterds (2009). Three years later we get a bloated opus full of character flaws (see when King Schultz completely inexplicably kills Monsieur Candie), lengthy periods of redundant verbose dialogue (see when the slaves explain to Michael Parks the entire plot of the movie we have just watched), and repeated examples of Tarantino’s blood as art (see any number of shots where blood is splattered on something white and delicate). Django  plays as too much of Tarantino left to his own devices, and less of a strong film despite excellent performances from the cast. Unfortunately there is more taste of Death Proof than Basterds here.

16. The Campaign

Seeing Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanakis as two small town politicians is enough of a concept to sell an 85 minute movie. The plot is a little weak but serves its purpose to move from seemingly sketch to sketch in a series of funny events leading to the election. This is a great example of a movie that new what it was and had the good sense to get out before it could wear out its welcome.

15. The Dictator

How about another political comedy? Sascha Baron Cohen is back with an original character in a comedy that plays on our sensitivity to terrorism and the general protectionism of the USA right now. There’s nothing new here, but the film is a logical extension of Cohen’s Borat (2006) and is well balanced between ironic political humor and complete toilet jokes. If you liked Borat, then you’ll enjoy this one.

14. The Amazing Spider-Man

Completely unnecessary remake, but a fun film overall. Emma Stone is fantastic as Gwen Stacy, while Dennis Leary and Andrew Garfield give solid if not exceptional performances. Subpar effects work detract a bit, but it’s a solid entry into the superhero genre.

13. The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games did exactly what it should for me: entertain me enough with fast action, witty dialogue, and strong performances to hook me into the series. While I wasn’t blown away, I’ll be back on the next opening night to see the next film.

12. Wanderlust

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston are well paired as a couple who have to live on a commune while they try to get back on their feet. I’ve long been a  fan of the work of David Wain, and he has another solid and funny film here. Great performances from Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman and the always hilarious Joe Lo Truglio round out the film.

11. The Woman in Black

It’s been a while for a really good traditional horror film, so I was pleasantly surprised by The Woman in Black. Daniel Radcliffe is solid in the lead and the filmmakers do an excellent job of balancing suspense and actual scares. It follows my cardinal rule of horror films: don’t explain the villain. You only need to know the villain is out to get you, and sure enough The Woman in Black ends with the woman still haunting and killing.

10. 21 Jump Street

Remakes are always a hard sell, but the exceptional performance of Channing Tatum in this film makes it a great comedy. I knew Jonah Hill could pull off the film, but Tatum was surprising in his comic timing. Fun jokes and the surprising reveal of this as a sequel instead of a remake keep this one feeling original.

9. Lawless

Lawless is a fun ride with prohibition-era rumrunners in Virginia. Shia LaBeouf may be the star, but Tom Hardy steals the show as the eldest brother who is rumored to be invincible. Some moments feel a little cheesy, but the film wins over the audience with a strong Romeo and Juliet scenario while also building its own legend of the rumrunners.

8. The Dark Knight Rises

A fitting cap to the Christopher Nolan films, The Dark Knight Rises is not without its problems. Pacing issues, questionable motives, and a very dubious ending make this the weakest film in the franchise, but a must see to finish the trilogy.

7. Wreck-It Ralph

The very original and nostalgic Wreck-It Ralph is entertaining for the entire family. Well cast and solidly (albeit simply) written, this is a night out that everyone can get something out of. My personal highlight was the performance of Sarah Silverman as Venellope Von Schweetz.

6. The Hobbit

Some have complained of The Hobbit‘s simplicity but, based on the source material, I find it to be a fun adventure. Clocking in at nearly three hours, it is too long and the filmmakers have added in more material than necessary for the short book. But it has to be a trilogy and, once you get past that, an excellent score and the lovable Martin Freeman as Bilbo carry the film. The return of Gollum to the big screen is also a crowd pleaser.

5. Looper

Original and well thought out, this time travel tale overcomes the use of cheesy face prosthetics on Joseph Gordon-Levitt to give a fun sci-fi flick. They gloss over the time travel so that it isn’t an issue as it becomes for many time travel films, and the play of Levitt against Bruce Willis is fun to watch.

4. Skyfall

This is the blockbuster recovery that Bond fans were hoping for after Quantum of Solace (2008) missed the mark. Daniel Craig is as perfect as ever and the film brings an exciting close to the trilogy that began with Casino Royale (2006). Skyfall treads a lot of new territory into this grittier Bond, but also harkens back to some of the history that has brought Bond to this point. The reveal of the Aston Martin with the ejector seat brings a smile to the face of every bond fan, and the casting of Ralph Fiennes as Mallory leaves plenty of hope for the direction this series is heading in.

3. Lincoln

As one who dosen’t normally go for the lengthy, epic film, Lincoln blew me away. The man is masterfully portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, and Day-Lewis is masterfully directed by arguably Hollywood’s most celebrated filmmaker in Steven Spielberg. Janusz Kaminski returns to shoot this beautifully crafted tale of Lincoln’s life, while a well-penned and self-admittedly heavy script from Tony Kushner seems to fly by in the blink of an eye.

2. The Avengers

A lot of why this film ranks so highly on my list has to do with hype. A movie that had taken years to develop and was previewed piece by piece in other Marvel films had a lot to live up to. Under the watchful hand of Joss Whedon, this film did just that and more. Well written, well performed, and never taking itself too seriously, The Avengers is a fun summer tentpole film that others will be trying to live up to for a while.

1. Argo

There is no doubt about it, Argo represents the finest in filmmaking this year. An incredibly original story along with Hollywood’s new wunderkind director Ben Affleck, Argo is paced perfectly and works on every level. Comic relief comes when it needs to, and is never too over the top to detract from the serious story. Affleck in the lead is also excellent, along with John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

That’s 2012 as I saw it. Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below. Happy new years to everyone!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Movies, Reviews

Adaptation: Who Did It Better, Spider-Man or Rock of Ages?

July 11, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve talked about adapting source work for the screen on this site before, but I feel it’s a topic worth revisiting right now. That’s because we have two very big films out right now that were adapted from different source materials, but that have both been very hyped and carried big expectations for their respective studios. I’m talking about The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and Rock of Ages (2012).

These two couldn’t come from more different source material, with Rock coming from the hit Broadway musical and Spider-Man coming from a 60’s comic created by legends Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. But which adaptation was more successful?  So far, the box office has spoken pretty heavily in favor of Spider-Man, but I’d like to delve a little deeper than just the dollars.

Premise

Let’s start by taking a look at the premise from each film’s source material. Rock of Ages: A young girl moves to LA looking to succeed in music and meets the man of her dreams working in a legendary rock bar. The bar is in danger of being shut down, and they all must band together to keep the bar they love open.

Spider-Man: A teenage boy is bitten by a radioactive spider and is given spider powers, enabling him to climb walls and perform feats of superhuman strength. When he fails to stop a burglar, his Uncle Ben ends up dead forcing Spider-Man into a continuing battle against crime.

So, looking at both of these, the movies are very similar in premise to their source material. Spider-Man expands on the comic universe to fill out the movie, but does spend a surprising amount of time building up the origin story and setting up Uncle Ben’s death.

Characters

Here’s where the movies choose to go two different paths. Spider-Man chooses to stay very close to it’s comic book roots, with several differences from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002). First is the web shooters. Where the 2002 film gave Peter Parker organic web shooters, this year’s film makes the web shooters a mechanical creation, which is closer to the original comics. Probably the most noticable difference is the absence of Spider-Man’s longtime love interest Mary Jane. While Mary Jane is by far the most known of Peter Parker’s loves, Gwen Stacy is actually the first if you are following the comic mythology.

Rock of Ages takes a very different approach to it’s characters, possibly a consequence of the star-studded cast. The characters are not necessarily changed, but have been given very different roles in the film version. Rocker Stacee Jaxx, as played by Tom Cruise in the film, is given a far larger and meatier role than in the Broadway musical where he exists as an enabling character for others. The role in the film is more rewarding, but it comes at a cost. Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand), leading and critical characters to the Broadway musical, are reduced to small bit parts. Yes, it is those two that have the most to lose in the film, but we still only see them as comic relief. In the Broadway musical Lonny actually serves as the narrator and pushes the story forward, allowing the other stories to revolve around and intersect at the Bourbon Room.

Overall

I enjoyed both of these films, and I had my reservations. Rock of Ages was coming on the heels of an amazing Broadway experience, while I felt that The Amazing Spider-Man was coming far too soon after the disappointing Spider-Man 3. But looking at them both with a little time under my belt, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed Rock of Ages as much without the background of having seen the original material. Characters are overdrawn and campy. There are moments of legitimate fun, but they’re connected by forced musical numbers seemingly jammed in to show off the skills of a cavalcade of movie stars. The Amazing Spider-Man, on the other hand, feels organic and natural with a real connection between the cast members. I have a feeling you wouldn’t need a connection with the source material to enjoy the film. However, it does suffer from being released so closely to Sam Raimi’s trilogy which leaves a lot of moments feeling like we’ve been there and done this.

This makes it a very unique scenario: two films released in the same summer that have equal positives and drawbacks. So, it’s up to you: which film was adapted more successfully? Vote in the poll below and leave your comments in the thread!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

How to Kill a Character the Avengers Way

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

SPOILER ALERT – THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS DETAILS FROM THE RECENT AVENGERS RELEASE

It’s become a cliche that is hard to get away from. To elicit an emotional response from the audience, you take away something your protagonist needs. In many cases, this thing that gets taken away is a person. Be it loved one or friend, it’s a person that our protagonist has come to rely on through the course of the film. So how do you make this an impactful moment? Too often the characters killed off are poorly developed or have no real attachment to the audience. It’s no easy task to make someone love a character and be upset when they die all within a two hour time period.

Before discussing any further, in case you missed the warning above, this article contains spoilers from the recent release of The Avengers (2012). If you have yet to see the film, I encourage you to do so before reading further.

When looking to kill a character to further the story, the first thing to identify is if the character means something to your hero; in this case the Avengers. If that answer is yes, move on and ask yourself if the audience is attached to this character. If your answer is no, then you need to figure out why and fix the issue.

Most movies that lose this moment haven’t taken the necessary time to promote and advance this character. They’ve gotten too little screen time, or not enough meaningful dialogue, or any other of a multitude of issues. The bottom line is the audience hasn’t been given or simply does not identify with your character and isn’t surprised or upset when thy die.

The recent release of The Avengers shows us a film that doesn’t suffer from this issue. While it is debatable whether the character is actually dead or not, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is the perfect example of an impactful character death. From the technical standpoint, his character’s abilities are not critical to the plot of the film and, therefore, he is an easy character to kill off. From a personal standpoint it comes as a shock when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) stabs him in the chest.

 

This shock comes from the simple fact that the audience identifies with Agent Coulson. Marvel has now spent four movies building up this character not as a superhero, but as the audience’s window to the action in The Avengers. Coulson is us, the fan of heroes who loves to be around them. He’s good at what he does, but more importantly he’s not as good as The Avengers themselves. While Coulson walks with his idols, he has reached his ceiling. The Avengers aren’t living up to theirs.

That’s why it takes Coulson’s death to pull the team together. He is the glue that brought the team together, and the one thing all The Avengers have in common. You could have killed other characters like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) or Mariah Hill (Cobie Smulders), but the audience reaction would be different. The audience doesn’t yet know if they should trust or even like Nick Fury, and his death would only leave them with question marks and an indifferent reaction. Mariah Hill is a mystery in this movie for the most part. She shows ability early on in the film, and comes across as Fury’s right hand woman, but doesn’t receive enough time for the audience to be surprised or care about her death. These are the reasons why Coulson is the perfect choice.

This isn’t writer-director Joss Whedon’s first foray into killing a character for emotional impact, either. In Serenity (2005) we can see the same stylings applied to fan favorite Wash (Alan Tudyk). When the team is most in need, the biggest shock of the movie is the death of Wash.

So what are your favorite and least favorite examples of killing off a main character? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

The Avengers Marathon – Live Tweet Extravaganza

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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All right, we’re trying something new tonight. In preparation for next weeks North American release of The Avengers (2012) the ZacHogle.com team and the team from TeachesYouLife.com will be live tweeting as we work our way through the six major pre-Avenger releases: Hulk, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America.

To follow along, be sure to follow @zhogle and @teachesyoulife on Twitter. We’ll be hash tagging #AvengersMarathon as well.

Categories: Movies

Up for an Oscar: Great Nominations and How They Got There

February 4, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s easy to look at the Oscar nominations list and talk about the favorites; who should win and who will win.I thought it would be fun to look at some of the unconventional nominations from this year’s field, and talk a bit about why they deserve to be there. This is by no means an exhaustive list; I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen all the movies and performances in the running. These are just a few of my favorite nominations, and why I feel they deserve to be in the running.

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids (2011) – Actress in a Supporting Role

What a run it has been for Melissa McCarthy. Before 2010, McCarthy was probably best known for her role as Sookie in TV’s Gilmore Girls (2000-2007). In the last two years, that has all changed. In 2010 her new series Mike & Molly (2010-Present) premiered and became a hit. In 2011 she stole the show in the hilarious Bridesmaids as Megan. People gave Bridesmaids credit with convincing Hollywood that, yes, women can be funny. But that’s a topic for another article.

The focus here needs to be on how a comedic performance ended up nominated for an Oscar, especially when The Academy tends to reward dramatic performances over comedic ones. The first thing that needs to be noted is the pure comedic value of McCarthy’s performance. There are a lot of comedic performances that pay homage to  earlier performances, but McCarthy created a truly original character that struck home with audiences. But I believe she got the nomination based on her character, and not just the comedic performance. In a brief moment of exposition, Megan explains how she was an outcast as a child. She rose above it to become the overconfident and sexually agressive woman she is today. This doesn’t become just a small detail. All the humor McCarthy portrays is deeply rooted in her overcoming her childhood problems and becoming confident in who she is now.

The character of Megan can also be used as a microcosm as to why the original screenplay for Bridesmaids, penned by Annie Mumolo and Kristin Wiig, is also up for an Oscar.

Animated Feature Film

While it’s no real surprise considering their entry this year, it’s important to note the growth of animation as a genre. This will be the first time since 2007 that Pixar will not win the Oscar for Animated Feature Film, and the first time ever that Pixar has not even been nominated since the category was introduced in 2001. This fact shows the growth of the industry internationally, with nominees from all over the world making the cut. Pixar will have it’s work cut out for them when Brave (2012) is released this year.

Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) – Actor in a Leading Role

Best Actor Oscars have a tendency to go to period pieces and overt displays of emotion. This isn’t to say overacting, but instead to congratulate an actor on being able to tap into difficult emotions and display them in a believable sense. This is why Gary Oldman’s George Smiley from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is such an incredible nomination.

Instead of an overt display of emotion, Oldman has to carefully control his emotions to play the introverted Smiley. Many times you can actively see Smiley’s internal emotions fighting to come to the surface, only to be pushed back down by his cold and calculating demeanor. Smiley’s struggle with the corruption of the spy organization he was a critical member of, is subtlely portrayed throughout. His final triumph is recognized by Smiley allowing himself a small, smug smile at the end of the film. In an era of overt emotions, it’s great to see an incredibly subtle performance get a nomination.

The Artist (2011) – Best Picture

The Artist, at first glimpse, seems to be an incredible triumph for a silent film. In an era of 3D, action, and explosions, a film that’s soundtrack consists of only music (for the most part) and has special effects that are nearly nonexistent, it’s incredible how The Artist has grabbed a hold of audiences and The Academy.

But on closer look, The Artist is a tremendously made film that speaks to the very culture that drives The Academy. Instead of a revolutionary or risque story in any way, The Artist compiles a greatest hits of Hollywood look and feel. Films ranging from Vertigo (1958) to Citizen Kane (1941) have visual and audio cues throughout, giving the film a legitimate feel. The Artist doesn’t have to fake its way through Hollywood’s golden era, it’s well versed enough to live in Hollywood’s golden era. Because of the incredibly well educated performances, cinematography, writing, and direction, The Artist fits right in as a Best Picture nominee.

How about you? What are your surprise nominations this year? How about all-time? Leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

The Oscars air February 26th, 2012 at 4PM PST on ABC

Categories: Acting, Industry, Movies

It’s in the Game: What Makes A Sports Movie?

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

There’s a great debate that rages among enthusiasts: what’s the greatest sports movie of all-time? The answers vary from every person, but the great hang-up of the argument is defining what a sports movie is. Is it a film that simply revolves around a sport or a team; or does it have to involve the actual participation in that sport?

Looking back, there are many great examples of movies on. both sides of the coin. Hoosiers (1986), considered by many the best sports movie ever, is a pure sports movie. While it focuses on the coach and the town, the crux of the movie revolves around the results of the team on the court. The underdog story is also probably the most common theme in sports movies.

The theme can also be found in Moneyball (2011), a very different take on the sports movie. While the film revolves around the success of the Oakland A’s, very little is actually seen of the on field performance. Instead the film focuses on the behind the scenes dealings of General Manager Billy Beane, who doesn’t even watch baseball. This fundamentally changes the perspective of the film. The audience doesn’t identify with much of the team and, instead, identifies with the upper management. In a sports movie, this is a large shift from tradition.

Looking at a film like Any Given Sunday (1999) or Major League (1989) we see the more traditional sports film perspective. Management and ownership is vilified, the source of the strife for the team. In the case of Any Given Sunday ownership is putting pressure on a legendary coach to win at any cost, or risk losing his job.In Major League ownership is actually putting pressure on the team to lose, hoping to move the team after a losing season. Purely coincidental, and possibly the topic for another blog, is the fact that both of these films feature female owners who have just come into power on their team.

But what if the film, like Major League, takes a comedic approach to sports?

Look at Slapshot (1977), the film about an endangered hockey team with an owner looking to sell. The team tries to become successful enough for the owner to be able to sell them, and the niche they find is to make a mockery of the sport of hockey. The team is stocked with goons to beat their opponents into submission. Instead of the classic story of a team rising above adversity to attain the unattainable, we find a team that decides to sink to the bottom of the barrel to get their goals.

I would be hard pressed to go any further in this post without discussing one of the perfect examples of this argument: Rocky (1976).

The ultimate story of a hero rising from the ashes and doing the unthinkable, Rocky is a fantastic movie in so many regards. The heroes goal is not the championship, like most sports movies, it’s just to not get knocked out in an improbable fight against the world champion. But the argument on Rocky is over its status as a sports movie. Yes, the movie is focused on a boxer with the fight being the climax of the film, but Rocky is an emotional drama. All the characters have things at stake that are only loosely related to the fight. The stakes are so high because of the interpersonal drama between each character.

So, in the end, what makes a sports movie? Is Rocky a sports movie or a drama? Can it be both? What are your favorite sports movies? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Movies, Sports
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