I'm a sucker for a good sports movie. Actually, I've been a sucker for a number of middling and plain bad ones too, here's looking at you Youngblood.
Yes, you might have a bit of time on your hands in the coming weeks but I'm not going to convince you to invest time in downloading movies that are rubbish, or teenage wet dreams committed to celluloid.
I'm not going to waste your time recommending movies that you've already seen. So you won't find Million Dollar Baby , Moneyball or Chasing Great , the existential masterpiece where Richie McCaw is trapped in a matrix and forced to spend eternity pretending to be Richie McCaw.
If you've seen more than half the movies on this list, I salute you; if you've seen all 10 then you've clocked the movie-watching game and the sports world has nothing left to teach you.
There are no documentaries or docuseries on here either, so you won't find Icarus , When We Were Kings , Hoop Dreams or a multitude of surf movies like The Endless Summer . Don't be surprised if they appear on another list shortly.
This is not a rundown of the greatest sports movies of all time, though IMHO several would make that list (and one would be on the shortlist for greatest movies of all-time in any genre). It's a list of fascinating though sometimes flawed sports films that might have slipped you by.
Without further ado, here's a list of 10 sports movies you should watch that you probably haven't before the Covid-19 curve flattens. Click on the titles to watch the trailers (NB, No3 is NSFW).
10. Spetters (1980)
When Dutch actor Rutger Hauer died last year the obituaries never failed to mention his role as Roy "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe" Batty in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner , or as the psychopathic hitchhiker in The Hitcher .
Spetters barely got a mention, which is a shame because more people should see this.
This movie is streaming only. Should we lower our expectations?
Cinemas stay open despite coronavirus, industry coy on numbers
Directed by Paul Verhoeven of Basic Instinct fame, the Dutch-language film was hugely controversial because of its depiction of both Christianity and homosexuality (which sounds awfully like an Israel Folau biopic, but it's not).
The film is set in Rotterdam and follows the lives of two aspiring motocross riders as they long to leave the drudgery of their Monday to Friday lives and chase fame and fortune on the dirt. There's a simultaneous love story involving a chip caravan vendor called Fientje, but it would take too long to properly explain.
Some people are put off by subtitles, but you can watch the whole thing for free on YouTube.
9. Brian's Song (1971)
Unlike boxing and baseball, another US pastime has always had a patchier transition to film: American football.
Whether it's Al Pacino hamming it up in Any Given Sunday , or the mawkish clichés of Remember the Titans and The Blind Side , perfection has always been elusive for gridiron movies.
Buzz Kulik's Brian's Song encapsulates the potential and the problems of turning football yarns into great films.
Based on the real-life relationship between Chicago Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, the film straddles the racial divisions that marred professional sport for generations.
There was a limit to how brave movie-makers were about race and sport in the 70s though, so the truth of it is that this is really just an old-fashioned tearjerker, and that's as far as this spoiler will go, though the trailer kind of gives it away.
Piccolo is played by James Caan, who probably hadn't evolved into the complete jerk he would soon become, and Sayers by Billy Dee Williams.
The film was remarkable in that it was made-for-telly and screened less than two years after the reason-it-was-made-that-I-won't-spoil-here. It was so well received, it was then re-released for theatres.
If you like this, you'll also like 1973's Bang the Drum Slowly , starring Robert De Niro.
8. This Sporting Life (1963)
"It takes you to the centre of a man's passion and a woman's heart," so says the guff for this black-and-white classic that saw the emergence of future hellraiser Richard Harris as an actor with serious chops.
Harris plays Frank Machin, a coalminer and local Wakefield rugby league legend who is adored by everybody except the one woman he covets.
OK, so I'm not doing the best job of selling this, and some of the domestic frisson will seem dangerously ropey in the #MeToo era, but as a portrait of life and love in a northern town, they don't come more powerful (or unrelentingly bleak) than this.
The screenplay was written by David Storey, who adapted his book of the same name. He was a former professional league player for Leeds.
7. The Boxer (1997)
There are many who believe Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest method actor of his generation and that perhaps even that description is too reductive for his enormous talent.
He's got it all working here in this film about Danny Flynn, a fighter and a criminal trying to turn his life around against the backdrop of The Troubles.
This is a too-often-overlooked classic of the boxing genre, or perhaps it's just seen as part of the Northern Ireland in the 70s canon. Either way, watch it because even if you've got something against DDL, you can't ignore Gerard McSorley's malevolent turn as Harry, an IRA lieutenant.
6. Breaking Away (1979)
The premise doesn't exactly get you rushing for the ticket booth, nor does the nebulous coming-of-age genre, but if you'll be doing yourself a grave disservice if you ignore it based on the fact it is a movie about a teenager bicycling around the flyover state of Indiana.
It's much more than that. It's a movie about Italophilia, betrayal, love and, in particular, class.
It's revolves around four working-class boys who feel out of place in their own town, Bloomington, which is dominated by the affluent Indiana University.
It's rises above the cheese and the corn (it even won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) and be honest, you'll never regret watching a movie starring Dennis Quaid.
5. The Wrestler (2008)
It's OK to approach this with a deep, sneering cynicism.
A film about professional wrestling?
Starring Mickey Rourke?
But stop with that now.
This is a serious piece of art and director Darren Aronofsky squeezes a truly affecting performance from Rourke as beaten-down wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson.
It's a simple story based on an ageless theme – what happens to people when the spotlight dims (especially if the light was never that bright to begin with)? – but the setting and performances from Rourke and Marisa Tomei as ageing stripper and sage Cassidy elevate this to don't-miss-it levels.
It doesn't hurt to have a great theme tune written by Bruce Springsteen either.
4. I, Tonya (2017)
Not surprisingly, sports films with males as the primary character vastly outnumber those about females.
While Robert Towne's Olympic movie Personal Best (1982) starring Mariel Hemingway is a fine picture, I, Tonya is different class.
"There's no such thing as truth," the largely reviled Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie, says. "Everyone has their own truth."
Harding should have been famous for being the first woman to complete a triple-axel, instead she became a global pariah after her hopeless, brutish husband Jeff Gillooly organises a hit on her well-to-do rival Nancy Kerrigan.
It would seem hard to carve a sympathetic character out of Harding, who has been variously belittled as trailer trash or a porn star on skates throughout her life, but Robbie manages it without ever gilding the lily.
Allison Janney as Harding's chain-smoking mum never once ekes out even a modicum of sympathy.
There are so many relevant, contemporary themes crammed into Craig Gillespie's movie that it seems futile to offer pithy analysis. Just download it and enjoy.
3. Bull Durham (1988)
This is just a great movie, with wonderful lines that never fail to raise a smile even on multiple viewings, which makes you wonder why the official trailer is essentially a soft-porn mash-up of the love triangle between Crash Davis, Nuke LaLoosh and Annie Savoy.
Only boxing can compete with baseball for the amount of consistently good films it has produced, and this is arguably top of the league.
"The only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball," says Savoy near the start of the movie and by the end you're a disciple.
The film revolves around a Durham Bulls' hapless minor league baseball team that has two things going for it: a baseball groupie (Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon), and a fire-throwing, but erratic young pitcher (LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins).
The LaLoosh character is based on Steve Dalkowski, a man many believe to be the hardest throwing pitcher to ever live, but one who never made it to the major leagues because of his lack of pitch control and alcoholism.
The other curious factor here is how born to the role of Davis, a veteran catcher, Kevin Costner was. After his Waterworld farce, Costner became a popular punching bag, but it cannot be denied that the man has been involved in some of the most eminently watchable sports movies of all time.
Field of Dreams and Tin Cup would have been shortlisted if I didn't know you'd already seen both several times.
2. The Damned United (2009)
For a sport that has taken over the world, football has a deeply disappointing cinematic history.
There are some who adore Bend it Like Beckham . I am not one of them.
To me, this stands head and shoulders above any other football movie that isn't a documentary. It flips the script on what a sports movie should look and feel like.
The main protagonist, Brian Clough (played by Michael Sheen), is more antihero than hero, and he is surrounded by a cast of characters, Timothy Spall's Peter Taylor aside, who are various shades of unlikeable.
Ultimately, the film celebrates not triumph, but ignominious, utterly hubristic, failure.
And yet it is exactly that – a triumph.
1. Raging Bull (1980)
You could have a Top 10 of Boxing Movies – there's another idea – and still have no room for classics like Charles Bronson vehicle Hard Times and kind-of-our-own Rusty Crowe's Cinderella Man .
The sport has been a gift for theatres but the best boxing film was directed by a man who really has no time for the sport, or any sport really, the peerless Martin Scorsese. That might be the reason why the fight scenes are so unremittingly barbaric, or perhaps it's just because Jake "The Bronx Bull" LaMotta was a barbarian.
This was a labour of love for De Niro, who plays the lead, who reportedly spent years trying to convince a sceptical Scorsese to take on the project.
There is another familiar face in the movie: Joe Pesci as Jake's brother Joey LaMotta. While it seems perfectly natural now for Scorsese, De Niro and Pesci to work together – Goodfellas , Casino , The Irishman – when Pesci got this part he hadn't acted for four years and was running a restaurant in New Jersey.
Raging Bull pulls no punches as it depicts LaMotta's trail of self-destruction. This is a little over two hours of emotionally wrenching filmmaking.
That boxing is inherently cinematic is evidenced by the fact that two movies, this and the original Rocky (which surely you've all seen?!), are worthy candidates for a list of greatest movies ever made.