It’s more than just a sports movie
What makes a good sports movie great? There are two common threads that run through some of the greatest masterpieces of the sports film genre: an inspiring triumph and an overcoming of adversity outside of sport.
Many movies have performed it successfully – “Remember the Titans”, “Miracle” and “Coach Carter” to name a few. But a sports movie has been obnoxiously overlooked when it contains both qualities and more.
Simply put, it’s the greatest sports movie of all time. And its name is “High School Musical”.
In the opening minutes of “High School Musical”, you can tell that Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) has two incredible talents, basketball and singing. But the people he surrounds himself with don’t want him to be anything other than a basketball player. Only Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) supports her ambitions. Considering the first film in the “High School Musical” trilogy was released in 2006, it’s actually an important and nuanced idea to tackle. The sports world is filled with people who don’t believe athletes should be involved in any other avenues and “High School Musical” aims to break that mold, albeit through contextual music rather than politics or politics. ‘activism.
That’s not the only issue the film focuses on, either. In one scene, music teacher Mrs. Darbus (Alyson Reed) and basketball coach Mr. Bolton (Bart Johnson) burst into the school principal’s office for a heated conversation. At this point, the director pretends to view the theater department as an equal to the sports program, but the true hierarchy emerges moments later when it becomes clear that basketball is viewed on a much higher pedestal. . Colleges are increasingly grappling with this problem as athletics departments receive plentiful funding while other crucial academic fields find themselves with barely enough money to survive. Look no further than recent football coaching salaries and benefits to see just how lopsided this gap may be.
It seems like a stretch to draw comparisons between a lighthearted Disney Channel movie and very real issues in the world of sports, but consider the target demographic of 10- to 16-year-olds who unwittingly have these issues ingrained in their minds. These are seeds that can be developed as they age. And even if the connection doesn’t prove beneficial, it still makes for great on-screen storytelling.
High School Musical’s biggest message is to be yourself. No one is confined to one thing, and the song “Stick to the Status Quo” responds to that. An athlete can also be a singer, a brain can also be a dancer. Don’t let the world define you, let yourself define you. These are important messages to send to children and adults alike. Hell, even I want to make sure I’m not just a sports journalist; I try to expand to cover all sorts of different interests.
And even packing all those messages into a movie under 100 minutes, “High School Musical” still meets the two basic criteria of sports film. Troy and the East High basketball team overcome confusion to not only find each other, but also succeed on the basketball court, lifting a trophy when the final horn sounds. They showed teamwork on the pitch, and even greater teamwork off the pitch, devising a plan that would see Troy and Gabriella sing their encore audition for the musical and continue to compete. in the championship game and in the school decathlon. And the dynamic duo pulled off a hat trick, winning all three challenges simultaneously.
“High School Musical” is the best sports movie because it’s so much more than a sports movie. It will have you singing and dancing, laughing and crying, and ultimately always giving you the warm feeling of triumph at the end. Sport is much more than dribbling a basketball, and “High School Musical” is a perfect representation of that.
Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.