The first time I saw Soccer Mom on cable, I didn’t like it. The soccer was bad, and the makeup for Missi Pyle—who masquerades as a famous male Italian footballer in order to coach her daughter’s team—was so unbelievable it was distracting.
Variously named as the The Art of Soccer with John Cleese or the Art of Football from A to Z, it appears this made for TV film was commissioned by Germany for World Cup 2006. John Cleese pontificates on 26 alphabetical aspects of the game.
Although Will Ferrell often plays a psychotic jerk, he is really a jock who majored in sports broadcasting at USC. Maybe that’s why so many of his movies have a sports theme. Kicking & Screaming is his soccer movie.
Días de fútbol, or Football Days, is a pretty funny Spanish buddy film about 7 men who resolve to enter and win a soccer league in order to cheer up Jorge, who has been dumped by his long-time girlfriend. All of the men have troubled love lives, and they are all terrible soccer players. They are led by Antonio, an ex-con with anger management issues, who wants to become a psychologist and tries to solve everyone’s problems.
In El Portero, a former Real Madrid goalkeeper known as the King of the Penalty Kick, travels the Spanish countryside, wagering men to score against him. The villagers and the underground openly express their opposition to the repressive military dictatorship via a comedic penalty kick shootout versus the soldiers.
In The Soccer Nanny, a recently widowed mother (ex-pornstar Traci Lords) hires a male au pair from Norway to provide a role model for her 9 and 16 year old sons while she runs the family’s bison farm in the “Little Sweden” town of Lindsborg, Kansas.
Rudo y Cursi is an artful story of hick half-brothers from banana plantations in the Cihuatlán Valley between Jalisco and Colima. An agent discovers them and signs them to opposing First Division teams in Mexico City, where they succumb to the trappings of success.
Studs is an Irish soccer comedy with a good performance from Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter’s Professor MadEye Moody). Gleeson plays a mysterious manager whose seeming identity inspires a ragtag Sunday team to a Cup final. But the downer ending left me very ambivalent.
A Shot at Glory starts off with a bit of fun — the ashes of a long time fan are poured onto the Kilnockie stadium turf so that he can “be with the lads”. It’s during practice, and as the team distractedly stands in respect, they juggle the ball from one to another down the line. But Glory doesn’t continue the humor.
Funny how British soccer movies analyze the game’s joyless effect on its fans, in minute detail. I watched 3 of them in 2 days and realized that deep-down, the Brits hate soccer! Or at least, British screenwriters do.
A sports nut since childhood, Julie Welch was the first female soccer sports writer on Fleet Street. She was asked to write a screenplay for a British television series that would capture the passions of first love.
Kickoff is about the first game of the season for a man who puts together a 5-man gay team for a Sunday league. He wants his players to act manly like footballers, but instead this flamboyant, very buff crew is far out in left field.
The Other Half is a long drawn-out joke. An England fan plans a honeymoon in Portugal so that he can sneak off to England’s three Euro 2004 games. The complication is that his American wife doesn’t even know he’s a soccer fan, and her father has paid for the honeymoon.
Sixty Six is director Paul Weiland’s autobiographical tale of woe about how his Bar Mitzvah was ruined by the nearby England vs Germany WC 1966 Final. In his own words, “It is a very cruel movie”, and he believes it is humorous. But after the boy pins all his self-worth on having a party to remember, watching him suffer one humiliation after another is nothing but painful.
Billed as an “erotic comedy”, Sexy Soccer is a Hong Kong soft core pornfilm (original title = Sing gum zhook kao). I was surprised that it was rentable on Netflix, but I guess the erotica is about as revealing as the usual fare on HBO.