Every season, football players sustain brutal injuries—some recover, some never play again, and an unlucky few end up with terrible handicaps with long-term ramifications. One of the worst unintended side effects of life as a professional football player has to be brain damage, a common result of multiple concussions (seen as par for the course in the game of football, to mix sports metaphors), and the subject of Will Smith’s latest film, Concussion.
One of the first people to stand up in defense of the players’ well-being was Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-American physician who pioneered research into the effects of repeated concussions and took on the NFL in the process. In one of those meaty dramatic roles that A-list actors so cherish come Oscar season, Will Smith stars as the good doctor in a dramatization of the GQ article “Game Brain,” which tells the gripping true story of Dr. Omalu and his colleagues’ efforts to force the NFL to recognize the deleterious effects of their own enterprise. After all, the NFL’s concern for its players’ welfare ends the moment they leave the roster.
The feature, currently slated for a Christmas Day release, was directed and written by Peter Landesman of 2013’s historical drama Parkland, and the cast also includes Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Luke Wilson, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. At this point, we’ve all got a choice to make: it’s Christmas Day and you’re trying to sneak away from your family for a few hours. Do you lift your spirits with Concussion or sate your bloodlust with The Hateful Eight?
Let us know your choice in the comments below.