‘Soviet Football – The Untold Story’ (2017) in under an hour

Soviet Football - The Untold Story (2017)

Soviet Football – The Untold Story came out just before the 2018 World Cup was held in Russia. This great little documentary needs to be required viewing for every soccer pundit, professional or amateur. French Writer-Director Nicolas Jallot provides everything you need to know about Soviet football (советского футбола) history in under an hour.

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When Wichita was hopping – ‘God Save the Wings’ (2020)

God Save the Wings (2020)

Very good things can come out of obsessive fan behavior*. …such as this feature length documentary, God Save the Wings. Producer and life-long Wings fan Michael Romalis took his 40 year old collection of memorabilia, facts, and videos, and with co-producer and fellow fan Timothy O’Bryhim wrote a book and then made a movie.

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A one man show: ‘Jason Marriner – Football Hooligan’ (2009)

Jason Marriner Football Hooligan (2009)

Is there life after football hooliganism? This short documentary on Jason Marriner tells us, if nothing else, that hooligans retain many fond memories, most of which as perpetrators they can’t really talk about on screen.

And the other reason they can’t talk about it is because they want you to read their book instead.

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‘The FIFA Family’ (2017) – a never-ending corruption story

Thank DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, for bringing the stories of Chuck Blazer and the corruption behind the Qatar World Cup to the public in such an easily digestible form.The FIFA Family: A Love Story dissects how Blazer’s plea deal to become an undercover informant led to the arrest of 6 members of the FIFA Executive Committee (Ex-Co) on May 27, 2015.

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‘The Naked Man on the Sports Field’ (1974)

Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz is not really a soccer movie. This 1974 film from the East German director Konrad Wolf is about a sculptor (Kurt Böwe) in a small town, who gets a commission to create a monument for the local football stadium. Since the artist is fairly well known, the local authorities hope such a public artwork will help increase game attendance.

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‘Ted Lasso’ (2020) – loved the series, hated the ending

Ted Lasso (2020)

There are so many reviews of this Apple TV+ original series, there isn’t much for me to add. Well, except for that bit about hating the ending. But let me start by saying Ted Lasso is one of few things that I can be thankful for this year, outside of my family and friends. This ensemble piece gives us characters that we care about and watch develop over 10 episodes. It’s almost heartbreaking that we have to wait until next year for season 2.

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‘Matthews’ (2017) admire the man but skip the film

The career of Sir Stanley Matthews is so long — he retired at age 50 — and the footage so slim that it is hard to understand why Gary Lineker calls Stanley “the Messi of his day”. 

It’s a difficult mission for the documentary Matthews – The Original No. 7. How do you make a 78-minute film more compelling than Tifo Football’s 5-minute animation “A Brief History of Stanley Matthews”? 

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2015 film shows Bari eat bread and football

Una Meravigliosa Stagione Fallimentare (2015)
aka A Wonderful Season of Failure

In his 2015 docufilm Una Meravigliosa Stagione Fallimentare, Director Mario Bucci creates a remarkable homage to his home club, located in the city of Bari on the southeast coast of Italy. The charm of this film comes from the innocent appeal of the players. There are also the tongue-in-cheek presentations of the kit men and the people who pull the strings. And, you are buoyed by the fans, the city, and its people as enthusiasm builds behind a team that should be hopeless.

It all makes an uplifting story of a team and a movement that create joy from bankruptcy and A Wonderful Season of Failure (the English title).

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‘All or Nothing: Tottenham HotSpur’ (2020) showcases Mourinho

All or Nothing: Tottenham HotSpur (2020) - TV series

The Amazon docuseries, All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur, directed by Anthony Philipson and produced by 72 Films, has a purpose that can’t be ignored. You can hear a small Gollum whispering in your ear: “Like us,” it says. “England’s biggest newest stadium,” it says. “José Mourinho is really a good guy,” it says.

Wait, stop. Run that by me again? And that’s a thread that ran through my mind the whole series: why would Tottenham create over 7 hours of promo for José Mourinho, the once-adored, now-maligned former (FIFA 2010) best manager in football? Simply put, it’s all about global branding. 

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Teen Voice – ‘Yellow Cards for Equal Pay’ (2020)

Yellow Cards for Equal Pay 2020) referee photo
Burlington High School girls soccer players react to receiving yellow cards during Friday night’s game against South Burlington at Buck Hard Field.

It is unbelievable to me that this story and its background were captured by a young soccer player. Being a long-time filmmaker since age 13, Maia Vota created this short film as a high school senior. Soccer movie fans should watch this 11-minute film for that fact alone, but you should really watch it because it is a great little story.

The story

It seems like 10 years ago, but 2019 was a revival year for Women’s rights and feminism. The performance of Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT in the 2019 Womens World Cup inspired people of all ages and genders to cheer for #EqualPay.

The excitement led Vota and her high school soccer teammates to start a campaign and be a voice in the matter. They produced and sold #EqualPay Nike jerseys to friends, family, and schoolmates. Friday Oct-18-2019 was Senior Night (presumably the last game of the regular season), where traditionally all the seniors get to start. Their plan was to score a goal and then lift and show the #EqualPay shirts that were underneath their Burlington HS jerseys.

However, when BHS scored, 4 of the girls enthusiastically pulled off their outer jerseys. The referee had to caution them for excessive celebration, and the moment went viral. Beaucoup national media coverage ensued.

Inspirational

Director Maia Vota assembles the story in a brisk, thorough, and uplifting way that inspires not just #EqualPay supporters, but it should also make any parent and any filmmaker proud, that a team of young people can pull together, organize, market and run a fundraiser like a small business. It’s impressive how Rapinoe’s inspiration begets more inspiration. America really needs that now.

BTW, NFHS rules are that the player must leave the field after being cautioned, so I assume Burlington would have had to sub off those 4 players with only a few minutes left. The opponents equalized, but it did not spoil the girls’ moment.

9 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9

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The Supporters are the best part of ’The Bromley Boys’ (2018)

The Bromley Boys (2018)

As an American, I sometimes have a terrible time understanding British humor. The Bromley Boys is one such case. Which in this year of 2020 is quite sad, because I really need cheering up.** Having enjoyed the youtube series Seaside Town by Warren Dudley, I expected his screenplay for The Bromley Boys to be equally fun.

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