Movies about teams competing at "fictional" new activities
March 5, 2014 12:31 AM   Subscribe

What movies feature teams competing at strange new group activities?

So now I'm watching PITCH PERFECT, about teams of competitive a-capella singers in college.

This makes me think of the STEP UP movies, where synchronized dancers would compete,

and of course the BRING IT ON movies with the cheerleading competitions.

Now I'm not saying that those competitions are actually fictional, but the popular movie format certainly does bring a heightened reality to such ideas.

Even DODGEBALL and BLADES OF GLORY qualify in this category... ....

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What other movies have groups/teams competing at strange cool new group activities?

Has there been a movie about computer programming competitions? or robot-building competitions like MIT's 6.270 ?
posted by shipbreaker to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Computer Chess
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:37 AM on March 5, 2014

Like quidditch in Harry Potter or competing to kill each other in the Hunger Games?
posted by Jubey at 1:14 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Drumlines - about marching band competitions.
posted by patricio at 1:22 AM on March 5, 2014

Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican national bobsled team's debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics?
posted by terretu at 3:07 AM on March 5, 2014

Actually fictional: BASEketball, a combination of baseball and basketball.

You did not specify that the movie had to be good.
posted by pianissimo at 3:23 AM on March 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by pearlybob at 3:36 AM on March 5, 2014

Maybe... Duets? (Karaoke competition circuit)
Maybe... Best in Show? (Dog show competitions)

But definitely... you can't have a set with Pitch Perfect, Step Up, and Bring It On, and not include Stick It (2006)
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:53 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by HuronBob at 4:10 AM on March 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

Running Man
posted by Flood at 4:22 AM on March 5, 2014

Beerfest! Before I clicked through, I honestly thought the question was going to be inspired by this movie.
posted by Grither at 4:53 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

These are based off common themes in the movies you listed, rather than straight-out team competition films, but I think might fit the bill for what you're looking for:

It's not the whole focus of the movie, but the camp competition at the end of Meatballs does cram in a lot of what you're asking for and it's a pretty important part of the film. Plus, it's Meatballs.

I'd also suggest Camp (which is a comedy about a theater summer camp - not a competition). It has a lot of the elements of a competition film, but instead of teams it's the casts of the different plays trying to make it all come together.
posted by Mchelly at 4:53 AM on March 5, 2014

You Got Served and Battle of the Year are both about breakdance crew competition.

Stomp the Yard is another step-dance competition movie similar to the Step Up series.
posted by drlith at 5:10 AM on March 5, 2014

Are you interested in documentaries? If so, Murderball. (There's practically a whole subgenre of documentaries about weird competitions, but most of the ones I've seen are individual rather than team events.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:24 AM on March 5, 2014

If Battlestar Galactica's TV movies qualify, then the sport of Triad, which is some sort of 2-on-2 semi-contact arena basketball (which requires bouncing the ball off the walls before scoring a "basket") qualifies. The game is called "Pyramid" in the new series, but that's due to someone's apparent boneheaded error of swapping the names of the series' ubiquitous gambling card game (with hexagonal playing cards) and the arena basketball game.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:43 AM on March 5, 2014

Death Race 2000

Rat Race
posted by glasseyes at 5:45 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Real Steel
posted by jbickers at 5:54 AM on March 5, 2014

Tron and Tron Legacy have "team-deathmatch" lightcycle arena battles - Tron scene, Tron Legacy scene.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:58 AM on March 5, 2014

Battle Royale
Walking Dead
posted by oceanjesse at 6:00 AM on March 5, 2014

Brooklyn Castle is a documentary about school chess competitions. Wordplay is a documentary about crossword puzzle competitions. Not very "strange" activities, but it was certainly interesting to have a glimpse inside these worlds.
posted by mikepop at 6:45 AM on March 5, 2014

The Quidditch match scenes in Harry Potter
posted by rhythm and booze at 7:20 AM on March 5, 2014

Best in Show -- about dog breeders.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:23 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Brassed Off, a fictional film about brass band competitions. A real thing, but pretty obscure unless you are from that community.
posted by Jabberwocky at 7:37 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Shaolin Soccer
posted by iviken at 7:41 AM on March 5, 2014

In Ender's Game, the cadets compete in a zero gravity game in which team members can freeze one another with stun guns. I think the game is a war simulation.
posted by flyingfork at 8:17 AM on March 5, 2014

Balls of Fury - Christopher Walken and ping-pong. Oh yeah.
posted by bluejayway at 9:50 AM on March 5, 2014

The 80s-tastic Midnight Madness, featuring the debut of a young Michael J. Fox.
posted by ToucanDoug at 11:10 AM on March 5, 2014

The beer/tricycle race in Revenge of the Nerds is not too far off from Rice University's actual Beer Bike, although bikers and chuggers are not usually the same person anymore.
posted by MsMolly at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2014

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