The "beginning of the end" finally makes its way into stores this week. If you're looking to bring your team together before the holiday tournament season, this week's pick is a must-see.
Terminator Salvation [Warner Bros.]
Release Date: December 1
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin
In the not-too-distant future, the long-predicted war between man and machine begins. John Connor [Bale], leader of the human resistance, is on a mission to destroy Skynet and prevent the machines from creating a new T-800 robot, which will look like and mimic the human race. But when he runs into Marcus Wright [Worthington], a man with few memories, things begin to unravel. The two must trust each other and join forces to free the human race; however, only one of them is human. Judgment Day has already arrived, and the battle for human survival rests on the shoulders of a few. Will man destroy machine, or will technology prevail as civilization is destroyed?
STACK's Take: Pretty accurate title, because Terminator Salvation may have salvaged the Terminator franchise. With action scene after action scene, what's not to like? Bale plays the tough guy perfectly, giving a performance that will rally any team together with excitement. Far better than the 2003 installment, which showed an out-of-his-prime body builder performing the exact same chase scenes, this is the movie you must watch in December to bond and get pumped up for those long holiday tournaments.
PREVIOUS PICKS OF THE WEEK
What's it like to be inside the mind of an NBA All-Star during a game? This documentary by Spike Lee answers that question, along with many others you may have for Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Doin' Work [ESPN]
Release Date: November 24
Starring: Kobe Bryant
In collaboration with ESPN and the NBA, director Spike Lee spent a day with the Lakers' All-Star shooting guard as he prepared for a late season match-up against the San Antonio Spurs.
The camera is on Kobe from the moment he rolls up to the Staples Center to begin his pre-game routine. Viewers get an exclusive look at his physical and mental preparation. Once the game starts, you hear what he says to his teammates and what's going through his mind as he tries to lead the Lakers to victory in a game that has serious playoff implications. This is Kobe at his best; this is Kobe Doin' Work.
STACK's Take: This film conveys some of what it feels like to be an NBA champion. No other movie provides such deep insights into a player's mind during a game. In contrast, the LeBron James documentary, More Than A Game, tells a story spanning more than four years of LBJ's development as a young player. Kobe Doin Work focuses on just one game, and it gets the job done authentically. What Spike Lee captures on film is fantastic. His amazing close ups and sound track of Kobe's voice make viewers feel like they're actually on the court.
What does Philadelphia 76ers G/F Andre Iguodala watch to get himself ready for hardwood play?
He Got Game [Touchstone Pictures]
Athlete's Choice: Andre Iguodala
Starring: Denzel Washington and Ray Allen
Rated: R for adult content and language
Jesus Shuttlesworth [Allen] is the number one high school basketball recruit in the country. He can choose any college he wants, or he can skip it all, turn pro and rescue his family from poverty. Schools and teams offer him all sorts of inducementsmoney, cars, even womenbut Jesus rejects them all so he can stay on the right path.
One week before the NCAA signing deadline, Jesus' life gets more complicated when the governor releases his father Jake [Washington] from prison after serving time for murdering his wife. Jake must try to persuade his son to choose the governor's alma materand if he does, he'll be set free.
Tired of contemplating the right choice, Jesus decides to roll the dice by going one-on-one against his father, the man who taught him everything he knows about the game. Who wins? You'll have to watch to find out.
STACK's Take: Every year, one or two high school ballers are faced with the choice between going to college or making money in the NBA. Remember LeBron James in 2003? Luckily for the City of Cleveland, he chose to go pro. But this film isn't just about college vs. money. It's about dealing with temptation, discovering who you can trust, managing the pressure to please everyone and listening to your gut. You don't have to be an elite high school basketball player to relate. For every athlete and any person who's ever had to make a life-changing decision, this is must-see movie.
One would think that a Super Bowl MVP quarterback might prefer to watch a football flick, but for Eli Manning, a comedy about life as a country club caddy is the way to go. Check out Eli's DVD Pick of the Week.
Caddyshack [Warner Bros]
Athlete's Choice: Eli Manning
Starring: Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight
Rated: R for adult content and language
Golf is a gentlemen's game, played at country clubs throughout the world amid the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. But for Bushwood Country Club and its misfit members, it's anything but peaceful and quiet on the greens.
This classic comedy is not just about a young caddy (Chase) trying to earn money for college by sucking up to rich, pompous jerks. It also features the club's zany groundskeeper, Carl Spackler (Murray), who goes toe-to-toe against a smart gopher and loses, plus lots of verbal sparring between smart-talking newcomer Al Czernik (Dangerfield) and the prim and proper Judge Smails (Knight).
STACK's Take: What's not to like, other than that it spawned Caddyshack II (which should be consigned to the dustbin of movie history). With classic lines throughout the film, Chase, Murray and Dangerfield will make you look back and laugh at your crappiest summer job ever. Fun fact: most of the dialog in the film was ad-libbedi.e., made up directly during filming. Now that's creative thinking. This Happy Gilmore of the 1980s is sure to bring a smile to any viewer's face.
High school football playoffs are underway in most states, and the pressure can be nerve-racking. Help ease the tension by checking out the Pick of the Week, submitted by former NFL d-tackle Warren Sapp.
Varsity Blues (Paramount/MTV)
Athlete's Choice: Warren Sapp
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight and Amy Smart
Rated: R for adult content and language
On Friday night in Texas, there's only one show in town, and every member of the community shows up to watch. Football is a religion in West Canaan; and for head coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), nothing is more important than winning his 24th district championship. But when his star quarterback blows out a knee, the Coyotes' only shot is with backup QB Jonathon "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), who doesn't want to play by coach's rules. Tension between the two builds as the season wears on, and Mox begins to feel the pressure of leading the team in the right direction. With the championship on the line, he must rise up and be the hero his team needs while risking his future in order to set his coach straight.
STACK's Take: Not one of the more original football movies ever made. Just analyze the characters: a typical mean-tempered coach, a typecast fat lineman, the original all-star QB, the stereotypical vixen cheerleader, and several hyper-intense dads reliving their glory days through their sons. What distinguishes this film is that it convincingly portrays how a high school team can have a powerful effect on a town. With a few outlandish scenes and some memorable dialog, the film is also a coming-of-age story, one that most high school athletes can relate to. It's not an Oscar-winning sports flick like Rocky, but it will put a smile on viewers' faces and have them cheering for the home team.
When the fate of your team rests on your shoulders, here's what to do: transform into the player who overcomes all obstacles and comes out on top. Sure, easier said than done. But you can gain inspiration by paying close attention to this week's DVD pick.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [Paramount]
Release Date: October 20
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson
When an evil band of alien robots tries to take over the world (again!), there's only one person to callOptimus Prime. Prime teams up with the Autobots, Sam Witwicky [LaBeouf] and other humans to do battle with the Decepticons and (of course) decide the fate of the planet. With the help of some new Autobots and the U.S. military, Optimus takes on his most challenging opponents yet; but he fulfills his destiny by destroying the Fallen.
STACK's Favorite DVD Extra: "The Human Factor," an in-depth look at the making of the movie, including interviews with cast and crew. This full-length documentary reveals exactly what went into creating one of the biggest hits of the year.
STACK's Take: With action, adventure and a pretty hot female robot, played by sexy Aussie Isabel Lucas, director Michael Bay had all the ingredients for a successful blockbuster. Though the storyline and dialogue are a bit ridiculous, occasionally reaching for cheap laughs, this is one of the better sequels made in the last few years. Viewing it on Blu-ray pushes it above averageespecially seeing Megan Fox on a high-def TV.
As Zambonis across North America start to warm up, it can only mean one thing: hockey season is finally here! And what better way to get your mind in mode than with this Pick of the Week offered up by NHL veteran and Stanley Cup champ Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Slap Shot [Universal]
Athlete's Choice: Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Starring: Paul Newman, Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and David Carlson
Rated: R for adult content and language
A ragtag minor league hockey team in Charleston is on the verge of disbanding due to poor crowd attendance and a losing record. Player/coach Reggie Dunlop [Paul Newman] is forced to spread a little white lie to boost morale in the locker room. He tells the team that if they win, they're moving to Florida.
With the help of three crazy brothers, who drop the gloves at any moment, both on and off the ice, the Chiefs begin to roll over teams and bring excitement and old school hockey to their games. The only question is will a winning team of misfits be enough to keep the team alive, or is it all just too little too late?
STACK's Take: This is one of the best sports movies of all time. It's straight up old school. Granted, the sports scenes aren't filled with special effects, and the plot may be a little ridiculous, but this film was the gold standard of sports films in the '70s.
Loyalty and respect are necessary for a team to be a successful unit. The proof dates all the way back to the beginning of time and a team of two fighting to survive. It may not be the truest of stories, but this week's DVD pick will have you and your crew laughing and bonding while watching the true meaning of teamwork at its inception.
Year One [Columbia Pictures]
Release Date: October 6
Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera and Hank Azaria
When two slacker hunter-gathers [Jack Black and Michael Cera] are kicked out of their tribe, they find themselves roaming the world. Although they lack the skills necessary to survive in their tribe, both have plans to make a huge impact on the world. They hit a few speed bumps on their quest for greatness, but they stick by each other, showing what it truly means to be loyal.
The film is the 21st century version of Mel Brooks' The History of the World: Part I (if you're unfamiliar with the movie, feel free to find it on Netflix and compare.) Year One is filled with humor and a simple plot. Black and Cera play typical Harold Ramis rolesa quick-talking funny man [Black] and a smart, quirky straight man [Cera].
STACK's Favorite DVD Extra: Scope out deleted scenes, gag reels and a Line-O-Rama, and find out what had the actors laughing during scenes.
Every Sunday, NFL gladiators put on a brutal show in coliseums across the nation. Here at STACK, we think now would be a great time to sit back and chill with your crew while watching the Pick of the Week, nominated by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees.
Athlete's Choice: Drew Brees
Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and Djimon Hounsou
Rated: R for strong violence
A successful Roman general, Maximus Decimus Meridius [Russell Crowe], is betrayed by the new Caesar of Rome [Joaquin Phoenix], who murders his wife and child and sentences him to death. Maximus does what he was created to dohe declares war on the emperor and seeks his revenge.
Disguised as a slave to be sacrificed for the entertainment of the Roman masses, Maximus fights for his life against unfair odds and the toughest gladiators in the world. Although he does not find killing entertaining, the body count multiplies until Maximus begins to win over the mob, setting up a one-on-one battle against the evil emperor.
STACK's Take: This is one of the few movies of the 21st Century that can be watched over and over again and still remain awesome. The movie can claim responsibility for every athlete who rubs his hands in the dirt before taking the (battle) field. The story, action and special effectseverything in this filmwill have viewers wanting to give it their all come game day. No wonder Gladiator won five Oscars.
Today marks the first day of autumn, and October is a week away. That means only one thing for fans of America's national pastime: MLB playoffs. What better way to get in the mood for fall ball than chilling with your crew and watching Boston Red Sox stud pitcher Jon Lester's pick of the week.
Major League [Paramount Pictures]
Athlete's Choice: Jon Lester
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen and Corbin Bernsen
Rated: R for adult content and language
For Cleveland fans, this 1989 classic hits home. The new owner of the Cleveland Indians hates the city and wants to move the team to Miami. The stadium lease won't let her, unless attendance tanks. So she fields a team of misfits, has-beens and losersthe worst players she can find. Once this motley crew get wise to her plot, they fight back, start winning and compete for the title.
Headed by over-the-hill catcher Jake Taylor [Tom Berenger], a pitcher who can't hit the strike zone and an overpaid prima donna, the ragtag team must come together and reverse their reputation as losers. So it's the top of the ninth, and Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn [Charlie Sheen] is throwing heat for the Tribe. You'd better believe something exciting is about to happen.
STACK's Take: It's easy to see why Lester picked a movie about a pitcher who throws in the hundreds. But it's highly unlikely we'll see Lester rockin' the Vaughn haircut. With memorable lines like "hats for bats," this cult classic is guaranteed to make viewers laugh even if they aren't Tribe fans.
Want to become your team's X-factor? If you need some helpful motivation to spark your inner animal, look no further than the X-man himself, Logan (aka Wolverine). He tears up the big screen Hans-style [Solo, get it?] in STACK's DVD pick of the week.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Marvel]
Release Date: September 15
Staring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Reynolds
TV Rating: PG-13
When a young boy filled with rage kills the man who murdered his father, then flees the scene, he turns to the only person he can count on, his brother. As the years pass, Logan [Hugh Jackman] and his brother Victor [Liev Schreiber] realize that they're different from everyone else, and they join a secret military unit headed by Major William Stryker [Danny Huston].
Logan decides to leave the unit and start a life of peace, but things quickly get turned upside down when Victor murders the woman Logan loves. Again consumed with rage, Logan decides to undergo an intense surgery to become indestructible and unleash the beast within so he can seek revenge. However, Logan soon finds out that there's more to the murder than meets the eye.
STACK's Favorite DVD Extra: The Roots of Wolverine: a one-on-one conversation with X-men creators Stan Lee and Len Wein, during which they provide an in-depth look at the creation of Wolverine.
In team sports, togetherness is necessary for success. However, the same fusion that drives a team to win is also needed once the players hang up their cleats and head into the real world. Some will probably work 9 to 5 desk jobs.
Is there a better-bonded work team than the one at Dunder Mifflin? The people are all about togetherness, in and out of the office. So sit back and relax with your crew, and feel free to take notes on bringing your team closer with hints from this week's DVD selection.
The Office: Season 5 [NBC]
Release Date: September 7
Starring: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer
TV Rating: PG
Ever wonder what your parents do all day at their offices? Well, this show doesn't really answer that question. Inside Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, located in beautiful Scranton, Pa., the office is anything but ordinary.
Head chief Michael Scott (Steve Carell), with help from his right-hand man Dwight Schrute [Rainn Wilson], is all about team bonding and making sure the work environment is always upbeat and fun. Filled with unique characters, this place of business is all about team building, and what goes on will have viewers falling out of their chairs in laughter.
STACK's Favorite DVD Extras: More than three hours of deleted scenes (it's like watching another six full episodes), gag reels and 100 moments from 100 episodes
This week's DVD choice isn't a new release. It's an Athlete's Choice. That's because, in all honesty, there isn't anything new that we consider worth hyping. So, we turned to a STACKlete's all-time favorite sports movie. For many of you, our first Athlete's Choice will bring back fond memories.
Athlete: Dwight Howard
Athlete's Choice: Space Jam
Starring: Michael Jordan, Bill Murray and Bugs Bunny
Leave it to the 6'11" center for the Orlando Magic to pick this old school basketball flick. During the EA Sports fall videogame preview, Dwight told STACK that this 1996 classic was his favorite movie to watch growing up. The plot features your typical good versus evil scenario. MJ must come out of retirement and play in a Loony Tunes basketball game to restore the talent of top NBA stars and prevent Bugs and the gang from becoming slaves. Loaded with humor and fun, Space Jam is sure to lighten the mood on your team and offer some relaxation after a hard day of practice.
STACK's Take: MJ dunking on the Monstars with Bugs feeding him the rockwhat can we say, other than, "Where can I get some of Mike's special stuff?" It may not be the most realistic sports movie, but it'll bring back childhood memories, and you'll share some laughs with your teammates.
Looking for something to do on Tuesdays? Trying to come up with a team ritual? Well, look no further. Tuesday isn't just a day that falls after a gloomy Monday; it's new DVD release day, which mean stores have new DVDs on sale before the price is jacked up. Take a night to relax with your teammates with STACK's weekly top DVD pick.
Release date: 8/25
Starring: Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard and Zulay Henao
Small-town boy Shawn MacArthur [Channing Tatum] moves to the city that never sleeps and discovers that life isn't as easy as it seems. When local scam artist Harvey Boarden [Terrence Howard] introduces him to the underground world of street fighting, Shawn decides that some dreams are worth fighting for and lays it all on the line for a chance to live the life he always wanted. What he doesn't know is that each knockout brings him deeper into a dangerous underground world that he can't escape.
DVD Extra: Includes a theatrical and the unrated version of the movie; also packed with deleted scenes
STACK's Take: It's the Blood Sport of the 21st centurya nicely developed plot line with great action scenes. And boxing is a great way to train your body both aerobically and anaerobically. Want proof? Look at Shawn Porter's training routine on STACK TV. Just don't get any ideas and start street fighting for fun.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock