Remember the Titans may be one of the most renowned American sports films. It is also remains one of the most significant. Similar to all sports movies, it follows the trials of the underdog and peoples’ vulnerabilities coming to a head. Sports, in this case football, have a way of speaking out against the issues plaguing the community. In this film, football was the tool to fight racism and discrimination.
Based on a true story, Remember the Titans follows a team in Alexandria, Virginia - a place where football is a way of life. In 1971, Alexandria had a recently integrated school system where Coach Boone, played by Denzel Washington, takes over the head position at the school. The white players originally refuse to play for a black coach, but former head coach and now assistant coach, Coach Yoast, played by Will Patton, drags them back to the game out of fear that missing a season will lead to no scholarships.
There is constantly the battle of race within the framework of the team, but also externally —within the town and when the team steps on the field to play opposing teams. Coach Boone teaches his players lessons beyond football, most importantly being the value of working together and respecting one another, regardless of their background.
Today the south is still deeply divisive, yet sports can continue to play a role of diplomacy within communities. Remember the Titans reminds us of the power of working together, showing and earning respect as well as the trials and benefits of hard work.
"Battle of the Sexes" is a kick-a**, girl-power film based on the true story of female American tennis player Billie Jean King. King was ranked number one in the world for five years, won six Wimbledon singles championships and four U.S. Open titles. Utilizing her prestige and talent, King during her tennis career and through today fights for equal pay for female tennis players. Because the USTA (United States Tennis Association) was discriminating against female players and not paying them equally- even when the female players sold the same number of tickets, the “original nine” women decided to form their own league, the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association).
King was challenged by Bobby Riggs - a fellow Wimbledon champion nearly twice her age and chauvinistic pig - or at least he was portrayed as such, in the film. Riggs was an addicted gambler in need of money, so he challenged the best female tennis player in the world. Hence the title, Battle of the Sexes. This event actually did take place on September 20, 1973 in Houston, Texas. King crushed Riggs “in a match the London Sunday Times called ‘the drop shot and volley heard around the world.’”
This was a win not just for King, but for all female athletes. This was no easy feat, for King feared what a loss to Riggs would mean. She was quoted saying, "I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn't win that match.” Fortunately for womankind, BJK won. Billie Jean not only blazed a progressive trail for female athletes, but she was also an activist for the LGBTQ community as well as gender equality - both on and off the court. She was even ranked as “One of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.”
So, if you’re in the mood to watch some women ace chauvinism, this is your film.