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24. 'Any Given Sunday' (1999)

Oliver Stone, once considered American cinema's reigning political provocateur — not the ideal guy for a big football movie, right? Wrong. The director's flair for the epic serves him well in this look at a turbulent season in the life of a struggling Miami football franchise. So, too, does his feel for the mythic desperation of his characters. Everybody in this movie is at a crossroads of sorts: lonely, broken-down head coach Al Pacino; injured, aging quarterback Dennis Quaid; young, overwhelmed hotshot quarterback Jamie Foxx (then mostly known as a comic actor); and ruthless team-owner and football scion Cameron Diaz. That collective sense of anxiety and hopelessness is just one of the reasons why Pacino's climactic "Life's just a game of inches" speech to his troops has earned its place as one of the all-time greatest sports movie speeches. BE