Harold Lloyd in The Freshman

The continuing box-office success of Invincible reminded me of other great football movies and football scenes in movies. Mark Wahlberg's character, struggling against the odds to make it in pro football, recalled another movie in which a guy tries to rise to stardom on the football team: Harold Lloyd in the 1925 film The Freshman. (Don't confuse it with the 1990 Matthew Broderick/Marlon Brando film -- this silent film is Komodo Dragon-free.)

In The Freshman, Lloyd plays Harold Lamb, a mild-mannered if not nerdy guy who plans to become the toast of his freshman college class, if not the entire college. Like other Lloyd characters, he studies books to determine the best road to popularity, but the books don't exactly steer him the right way. For example, I love the little jig he dances when he shakes hands. His football skills provide a number of comic moments. If this sounds a bit like the Adam Sandler film The Waterboy ... well, the Lloyd estate thought so too, and actually sued for copyright infringement (but lost the case). Many of Lloyd's films were finally released on DVD last year, so you can rent The Freshman and compare "Speedy" Lamb to Vince Papale, if you like.