2018 was a World Cup year, with Russia hosting possibly the most entertaining World Cup ever broadcast. Many producers and creators plan football film releases during a WC year, when interest in soccer is intense. Thus I was pleasantly surprised at the number of films that were shown on cable and streaming sites, as well as in theatres.
As a result, I reviewed 41 films in 2018, which is an increase from 35 films in 2017 and 20 movies in 2016. Twenty of the 41 films I watched in 2018 were documentaries, which means that substanially more feature films were made available around WC 2018. As an aside, the increased distribution allowed me to reach a milestone of 250 movie reviews.
The quality was pretty good this year. I assessed almost one-third of the films with a high Rating of 8 or 9 on a scale of 10. Only 6 films, or 15%, received a Rating of 3 to 5. Following is a quick summary of the top- and bottom-rated films.
2018 Best Soccer Films:
My four best films this year, all rated at 9, are across the board in genre: 2 comedies, 1 drama, and 1 teenage film.
Flitzer (2017) is a very clever Swiss film, where a coach tries to replace the school funds he’s lost by taking bets on when streakers will disrupt a football game.
Holy Goalie (2017) is a Spanish underdog comedy where a monk leads his novitiates to try to save their monastery by winning the Pope’s tournament in the Vatican City.
A fascinating documentary, Dirty Games (2016) shows various ways the Turkish league, the NBA, and boxing promoters fix games, and how FIFA allows Qatar to exploit the workers building their stadiums for WC 2022.
The really attractive aspect of Buscando a Marcos Ramírez (2017) is its sheer innocence. But all of the actors are extremely good looking as well. This was the first Costa Rican movie I have seen.
2018 Worst Soccer Film:
The movie I had the biggest issue with this past year was Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story. It was even more disappointing that the film came from the formerly admirable Fulwell 73. Too many of their recent films seem to lack ethics in reporting, and the Justin Fashanu film is an attempt to put lipstick on a pedophile and rapist.
Soccer Movies reviewed in 2018
This table lists all the football films reviewed this year. Within a numerical Rating, movies are sorted by release year and then by title.
|Buscando a Marcos Ramírez||9||2017||kids,drama||CRC|
|L'arbitro (The Referee)||8||2013||comedy||ITA|
|Istanbul United||8||2014||docu||GER TUR|
|Setenta y Sete||8||2017||docu||ESPN BRA|
|Early Man||8||2018||comedy, kids||GB|
|Futbolistas 4 Life||8||2018||docu||USA|
|After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United||7||2009||docu||GB|
|Looking for… series||7||2010||docu||FRA|
|The Anderson Monarchs||7||2012||docu||USA|
|The Hooligan Factory||7||2014||comedy||GB|
|Beirut Parc||7||2016||docu||GER LIB|
|Yesil Kirmizi (The Red Green)||7||2016||docu||TUR|
|End of Summer||7||2017||drama||CHI|
|The Workers Cup||7||2017||docu||GB Qatar|
|Shoot (The Arabian Warrior)||7||2018||drama||KSA USA|
|I Scored a Goal in the FIFA World Cup Final||6||2010||docu||USA GK ESPN|
|One Night in Istanbul||6||2014||comedy||GB|
|En el Septimo Dia||6||2017||drama||USA|
|Nossa Chapa||6||2018||docu||BRA USA|
|Shui Hu The Soccer Heroes||5||2006||kids||CHI|
|United We Fall||5||2014||comedy||GB|
|White Collar Hooligan 3||5||2014||thriller||GB|
|Lethal Soccer Mom||5||2018||suspense||CAN|
|Penalty Kick||5||2018||comedy||COL MEX|
|Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story||3||2017||docu||GB|