Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy “Champ” Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there’s nothing Andy wouldn’t do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda’s rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda’s son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink’s place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion.
Billy Flynn, a former boxing champion, is now horse trainer in Hialeah. He makes just enough money to raise his little boy T.J., over whom he got custody after his wife Annie left him seven years ago. T.J. worships The Champ who is now working on his come-back in order to give his boy a better future. But suddenly Annie shows up again …
Trouble Along the Way (1953) Michael Curtiz, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Charles Coburn, Comedy, Drama, Sport
Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying to bring back to football respectability.
Banchikwang / The Foul King (2000) Jee-woon Kim, Sang-Myeon Park, Kang-ho Song, Ho-kyung Go, Comedy, Sport
Dae-Ho is an unproductive bank clerk who is late to work every morning and the object of his manager’s frustrations. He was a fan of TV wrestling as a child, but can’t get out of a headlock. He finds a local wrestling trainer and through a series of events eventually starts to train. He is slowly transformed as he begins his second job as the cheating villain wrestler known as the Foul King. He starts to stand up for himself in odd ways that are not really in his own best interest. Events get out of hand as conflicting influences come together.
A small country on the verge of bankruptcy is persuaded to enter the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics as a means of raising money. Either a masterpiece of absurdity or a triumph of satire, depending on your mood, but it’s quite possibly the funniest movie ever made, and becomes even funnier with subsequent viewings.
Apflickorna / She Monkeys (2011) Lisa Aschan, Mathilda Paradeiser, Linda Molin, Isabella Lindquist, Drama, Sport
When Emma meets Cassandra, they initiate a relationship filled with physical and psychological challenges. Emma does whatever it takes to master the rules of the game. Lines are crossed and the stakes get higher and higher. Despite this, Emma can’t resist the intoxicating feeling of total control.
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Ken Burns, Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Documentary, Biography, Sport
The story of Jack Johnson is huge. The first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908 to 1915, he was rowdy, smart, rebellious, and proud. He was also resilient in the face of unrelenting racism. And, as Stanley Crouch observes in Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, “There is nobody like Jack Johnson, because, first thing, when Jack Johnson was fighting, he could have been killed at any of his major fights. There were people out in the audience who were probably willing to murder him. He knew it, they knew it, everybody in the world knew it.”
Talented and world-famous as a young man, as well as essentially unbeatable, Johnson was champion when (official, as opposed to underground) boxing was a wholly white province, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Jack London, all editorialized as to natural orders, in which African Americans were humble and inferior, and Caucasians were honorable, strong, and always right. And yet, as courageous and frankly brilliant as Jack Johnson was, his story is frequently forgotten in the wake of more recent flashy sports and other celebrities.
The inspirational story of the famed basketball tricksters The Harlem Globetrotters is chronicled in this drama. The Trotters began in the 1920s when a manager catches a group of talented players on the basketball court. He becomes obsessed with getting these young black men the recognition he feels they deserve. He gathers them together as a team and they begin barnstorming a series of small towns. The film’s climax takes on overtones of the Civil Rights Movement when it depicts a major game between them and an all-white team of champions. The Globetrotters beat the tar out of their opponents. One of the main storylines concerns the friendship between Saperstein and his wife, and player Inman Jackson and his wife.
Parpaillon / Up and Down (1993) Luc Moullet, Jean Abeillé, Clément Boutterin, Brigitte Canaan, Comedy, Sport
Muhammad Ali stars as himself in this dramatised version of his life story up to the late 1970s. It includes his Olympic triumphs as Cassius Clay, his conversion to Islam, his refusal of the Army draft and the legal battle after being stripped of his World Title.