A Walkman can’t save All the Freckles in the World (2019)

All the Freckles in the World (2019)
Todas las pecas del mundo

As a kids movie, there are a lot of reasons to dislike Yibran Asuad’s All the Freckles in the World. Take your pick: sexualization of 13 year olds, a teacher-student sexual relationship, a sexist affront to women, and last but not least, very little soccer despite a tenuous link to the Mexican National Team at the 1994 World Cup. Writer-Director Yibran Asuad is known for serious work, but it looks like he took this “commercial” job for the paycheck. 

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First soccer movie nominated for an Oscar: Nefta Football Club (2018)

Nefta Football Club (2018)

Nefta Football Club stands out as being the only soccer movie to win an Oscar nomination (that I know of). Nominated in the 2020 Best Live Action Short Film category, Writer-Director Yves Piat has created a visually stunning and engaging short that leads to a whimsical but virtual punch line. 

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Notes: Best and Worst soccer movies in 2019

Best and Worst soccer movies in 2019
The 43+ soccer movies I reviewed in 2019

2019 was a Womens World Cup year, but unlike with the Men’s side, few producers timed their theatrical releases to the tournament. However, interest in football films and soccer movies continues to grow rapidly, so that my list of movies to watch grows much faster than the movies that are available to me. My to-watch list now numbers almost 600 whereas 2-3 years ago it was around 400.

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Derby Days Berlin (2019) will make you a fan

Copa90 Stories logo

You might expect that as a reviewer of soccer movies, I would be well aware of COPA90, a company that claims to be “The world’s largest independent football media business”, delivering stories on “football like you’ve never seen it before”. I knew the name, but I hadn’t looked at their content until I watched Derby Days Berlin, an episode of their Copa90 Stories youtube channel. 

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Soccer transforms homelessness in Zebras (2016)

Zebras (2016)

While the title Zebras may confuse you, this documentary is about 9 Argentine boys who represent their country in the Apr-2014 Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. The boys live together in La Casita, a home that takes children off the streets of Buenos Aires. By participating in the tournament, the boys experience travel and learn aspects of teamwork and personal responsibility. 

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Soccer in the City (2019) highlights soccer for good

Soccer in the City (2019)

The message of Soccer in the City is important: that at $1,500 to $5,500 per year, the pay-to-play model excludes low-income children. American soccer doesn’t reach inner city kids, who could be untapped potential to help win World Cups. In his feature-length debut, Director Michael Holstein shows urban efforts bearing fruit in DC, the Bronx, and Atlanta.

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The story you never heard about The Team That Never Played (2010)

The Team That Never Played (2010)

If you are looking for a great idea for a soccer movie, you should buy the rights to this 10 year old documentary The Team That Never Played. Gather up the players interviewed by Writer-Director Greg Appel and fill out their stories while they can still be recalled. This is history that deserves to be retold on a bigger stage and preserved by more than word of mouth.

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Shakhtar Donetsk is The Other Chelsea (2010)

The Other Chelsea: A Story from Donetsk (2010)

Although The Other Chelsea is 10 years old, it is a valuable film to watch in the context of today’s impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. First-time Writer-Director Jakob Preuss lays out the struggling lives of coal miners in Donetsk and compares them to Kolya, a young rising local politician and businessman who drives a Lexus and drinks very old cognac. What ties them together is the success of their football team, FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Шахта́р Донецьк).

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