On August 28 the world lost a pure talent as Chadwick Boseman passed away. In this spot this week I was going to look at my favorite football films, as the season begins tonight, but that can wait until next week. Instead, I want to look at some of the films that Boseman made during his career. I’ll also be switching things up a bit, as I won’t be using any stars this week. This isn’t about reviewing or ranking, simply appreciating the legacy left behind.
But if you were hoping for football, never fear, Boseman has you covered with a couple good ones. As always, I encourage you to share your favorite Boseman films and performances. Hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment and get the discussions started.
Black Panther (2018)
About: Boseman played a key role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Black Panther. He had memorable performances in the role in Captain America: Civil War, where the character debuted, and the last two Avengers films. But it was his solo film, Black Panther, that was one of the best in the expanded universe. His partnership with Ryan Coogler and a cast that included Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sterling K. Brown was great. I think the film is a Top 5 entry in the MCU, and a can’t miss for comic book fans or just fans of cool and inventive film.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
About: Earlier this year, Boseman was part of a great ensemble cast in Spike Lee’s film, released on Netflix. It was one of the most fascinating films of the year. Delroy Lindo gives a great performance, and a lot of his arc revolves around the supporting role of Boseman.
21 Bridges (2019)
About: This wasn’t a wildly popular film, but I thought Boseman was great in the lead role as a dogged investigator who gets put on the trail of a huge corruption scandal in the midst of investigating a brutal crime in the heart of the city. In lesser hands, this could go by the wayside. But with Boseman in the lead, I found this pretty interesting to follow.
About: Boseman had a gift for taking on the roles of famous people in our history. That really began with 42, an excellent exploration of Jackie Robinson and his experiences breaking the color barrier in baseball. If you regularly read this space, you’ll know I praised 42 as one of the best baseball films, and Boseman is a huge reason why.
Get On Up (2014)
About: A year after taking on the role of Jackie Robinson, Boseman tackled another iconic performer in James Brown. I didn’t love the film, as the way the narrative played out didn’t work for me, but Boseman did a great job inhabiting another iconic character and disappearing into the role.
About: Finally, in between outings as Black Panther, Boseman tackled another biopic as Thurgood Marshall. Here he played the future Supreme Court Chief Justice as a young lawyer battling injustice. He starred opposite Brown and Josh Gad in a film that I thought was criminally under-rated at the time.
The Express (2008)
About: Way back in 2008, a decade before he’d star in Black Panther and five years before he’d become Jackie Robinson, Boseman was in another sports film, playing another real character. While this one focuses on Ernie Davis, who was played by Rob Brown, Boseman has a role as Floyd Little, who went on to star for the Denver Broncos. Perhaps this is a little personal to me since Little is in the Ring of Fame for my favorite team, but it’s a performance in a solid little sports film that will get you primed for the season.
Draft Day (2014)
About: This was Boseman’s other film in 2014, this one focusing on the NFL and the day of the draft. This film features Kevin Costner as the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, who soon finds himself holding the No. 1 pick and tons of pressure. Adding to that is a brash pass rusher, Vontae Mack, played by Boseman. He gives a great performance in what is actually one of my most favorite football films.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.