Before The Outcasts, aka El Matareed, Egypt had a pretty long history of funny football films. While much of this film is silly and over the top, I actually watched it twice and enjoyed it both times. The performances are entertaining, and the storylines are more complex than you initially think. In fact, for Egypt, the characters and their situations might be considered Western-light.
The Champions popped up on HBOMax (currently known as Max) recently, and I was a little confused by the context of this brilliant animated series, i.e. where did this come from? Originally created for the Bleacher Report by comedic writer-producer Andy Haynes, this was a web series on Youtube, mirroring the Champions League (CL) from 2018 through 2023.
I have reviewed quite a few films about the Homeless World Cup, but Dream (드림 ) is the first I’ve seen that puts some humor into what would be a typical sports drama, along with bits of Korean culture and the quirkiness embraced by Korean film.
The idea for Headless Chickens (Pollos Sin Cabeza) sprang from the heads of Pokeepsie Films. Although not football fans themselves, they figured when footballers and their agents are flush with money, there are many opportunities for sh*t to happen. They went to Writer and showrunner Jorge Valdano Sáenz to develop the concept.
Late one night on Netflix, I found this Emirati football comedy from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). When I started watching Red Card (Kart Ahmar), I was quickly confused. I hadn’t had any exposure to Arab humor, and given how conservatively Islam is portrayed in the media, I had assumed that Arabs don’t laugh much. I used to think that about Germans too, but I was wrong.
I came upon this old BBC TV movie by chance on Amazon Prime. By the description, it didn’t seem like a soccer movie, but it turns out that the first 30 minutes deliver trope after trope of non-league football from the touchline in 1990s Bristol, England.
Looking for something a little different to watch? Classico is a cute mash-up of comedy and a little romance in the context of a rivalry between ultra but nice football supporters.
It’s a shame that shows like Las Bravas F.C. get so little traction and attention in the world of futbol. It’s a cute, entertaining series that abounds with examples and themes of diversity, inclusion, and female footballer role models. Lead actor Mauricio Ochmann is a popular telenovela star with a charisma that echoes Ryan Reynolds and with an unnerving resemblance to Mikel Arteta. But I only came across this enjoyable series while scrolling through HBO Max. So I suggest you watch it while you can.
Credit this film for its high quality and unusual story. Despite a lengthy 2 hours and 47 minutes, I did not check my watch while viewing Jaadugar (जादूगर). The story is well-shot and well-edited, and it deftly weaves together a tale of romantic comedy, football, and magic. In addition, I was entranced by the brilliant smile of its star, Jitendra Kumar, who plays Meenu, an extremely goal-oriented young man whose dreams are tied to the soccer pitch, but not in a way you expect.
The Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso has had such a cultural impact, it calls for a separate review for its second season. Season One arrived as an antidote to a toxic presidency and a worldwide pandemic. Coach Ted Lasso was quoted from the pulpit of my local Presbyterian church, in whose congregation almost no one follows soccer.
The pandemic may have altered my sense of taste — in movies. When I first tried to watch Rembat 2 years ago, I could not finish it. It seemed so weird and nonsensical, and the actors kept spitting rice everywhere.
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.
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.
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.