By DNA Smith
We’re winding down 2010 and barreling like a runaway train to New Year’s Day 2011, and that can mean only one thing to every red-blooded American: Football!

Yessir, Bowl Games out the wazzoo — and what better way to celebrate than with a marathon of Gridiron Greats. So here then, is a sampling of some of the best football movies ever made.

“The Longest Yard” (R) — Burt Reynolds stars as Paul Crewe, a former pro quarterback disgraced for shaving points. After being sent to prison for hitting his girlfriend and stealing a car, Crewe finds himself at the mercy of a sadistic warden (Eddie Albert), who tries to force Crewe to lead his semi-pro football team made up of the prison’s guards. Crewe sets up a “friendly” scrimmage between the guards and his fellow prisoners — leading to one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. Adam Sandler remade the film a few years back, and although not as epic as the 1974 Reynolds original, it’s still a pretty good flick.

“Go Tigers!” (R) — This 2001 documentary about the Masillon, Ohio, Tigers high-school football team is a gripping account of how the success or failure of a local team can affect a small community. Voted by ESPN as one of the top six best sports documentaries of all time, “Go Tigers!” is an eye-opening portrait of the spirit of small-town America.

“Paper Lion” (Unrated) — Alan Alda stars in this 1968 classic based on the a series of articles written by George Plimpton for Sports Illustrated. In 1963, Plimpton went undercover for the magazine to the Detroit Lions training camp to try out for the team. The result was the first-ever look into what goes on during NFL tryouts and training camp. What makes this film fun is the inclusion of many of the actual Lions players of the time: Alex Karras, Joe Schmidt, Pat Studstill and others.

“Invincible” (PG) — Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale, a substitute teacher and bartender from Philadelphia who gets a one-in-a-million shot at trying out for the 1976 Eagles team. And somehow, for a guy who never played college ball, he makes the cut. What follows is classic Hollywood feel-good flick about overcoming the odds and the triumph of the Common Man who followed his dream.

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“Archer” Season 1
“Baccano” The Complete Series

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.