I love a good sports movie. Lucky for me, sports movies have been a go-to genre in Hollywood for years. Sports movies can typically be produced for low to medium budgets and historically their box office returns assure the studio behind a film a solid return on investment.
The sports movie genre is typically represented by two types of films. The outrageously over-the-top comedy (i.e. Bull Durham, Major League, White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup), and the inspirational, almost always based on a true story, movie (Hoosiers, Rudy, Miracle, Hoop Dreams). Unfortunately, movies about running are typically few and far between. McFarland, the Kevin Costner led Disney film about an upstart cross-country team in a small California farming community that beat the odds and became 9 time state champions is the last running movie released by a major studio (Disney), and that was a couple years ago.
Although most of the Hollywood films that have been based on distance running have performed fairly well at the box office, runners are only treated to movies based on their sport once or twice a decade. With that being said, I have GOOD NEWS!
The good news? There are two new running movies coming in May! The films were not produced by major Hollywood studios, but I believe that is a positive thing. Independently produced movies can stay true the vision of the filmmakers behind them because they are not being forced into making changes to the plot in an effort to guarantee bigger box office returns. So what are the two movies the distance running community can look forward to in a few weeks?
First up is 1 Mile to You. Based on 2003 the novel “Life At These Speeds“, the movie tells the story of a talented runner that loses many of his friends and his girlfriend in a bus crash and finds the only thing that helps him feel closer to his girlfriend is pushing himself to his physical limits while running. As luck would have it, the boy in the movie is coached by none other the Billy (I played Steve Prefontaine) Crudup! I admit, the plot is young adult novel sappy, but Billy Crudup being in the cast assures that I will be paying to see this movie (you can find it on Amazon Video and iTunes).
1 Mile to You Trailer
The second running movie coming in May is called Tracktown, and it has me very intrigued. The trailer prominently calls out the fact that this movie is “The debut film of Writer/Director/Actor/Olympic Runner Alexi Pappas”. I don’t know if there has ever been a movie that was written by, directed by, and acted in by an Olympian. The trailer left me hopeful that the film will convey just how deeply invested many long distance runners are to the sport. Not many of us are Olympians, but a lot of us know the amount of time and sacrifice that it requires to run at a high level of fitness year in and year out. I look forward to seeing how a film that is written and directed by an Olympic runner portrays the sport.
Here’s to hoping that neither of these films is a let down! I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on the films in the comments after they have had a chance to see them.