American Pharaoh is Hossam Aboul-Magd’s first shot at directing and is a 60 minute documentary for PBS. Hossam is a one-man film crew, following Bradley and his wife Lindsay during their 2 year residency in Cairo. He became their friend, and perhaps that is why the film is so weak.Continue reading “‘American Pharaoh’ (2014) too often feels like a home movie”
With Next Goal Wins, the film and its back story are equally interesting. American Samoa is the last place team in FIFA world rankings but is trying to qualify for WC 2014.
The American Samoan team has not won a game since 1983 and has been outscored 229-2. In WC 2002 qualifying, they gave up a record 31 goals to Australia. In one game.Continue reading “‘Next Goal Wins’ (2014) – the original documentary”
Soccer fans looking for a way to be part of WC2014, documentarians Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker followed Bob Bradley on his questionably sane task to coach the Egyptian National Team to Brazil.
Arab Spring got in the way.
The film captures not so much Bradley’s journey, but the journey of Egypt’s young people and one ardent soccer fan base, the Ultras Ahlawy.Continue reading “Arab Spring got in Bob Bradley’s way in ‘We Must Go’ (2014)”
A strong Christian and avid researcher, Peter Lupson published his book Thank God for Football! in 2006. A few years later, he ran into an executive of the Christian Television Association. That heaven-sent meeting resulted in a documentary of the 12 past and present EPL teams that were founded by churches.Continue reading “The FA’s Christian roots in ‘Thank God for Football!’ (2013)”
Sometimes I don’t learn much from watching a soccer movie, but it confuses me enough that I research the subject to understand what the movie was really about. Fútbol Violencia S.A. (Football Violence, Inc.) is such a movie.Continue reading “The culture of Argentine ‘Fútbol Violencia, S.A.’ (2009)”
This documentary follows a pair of collegiate players who, unable to make a pro soccer team, channel their competitive-soccer addiction by traveling the world looking for Pelada — not a drug, but a Brazilian word for pick-up game.Continue reading “Traveling the world to play pickup ‘Pelada’ (2010)”
Soccer cannot unite the world. But for a few hours, the motivation to watch a game allows people to set aside their differences. La Gran Final is a triptych of disappearing cultures joining with the modern forces that swallow them, to watch, with ebullient shared enthusiasm, the 2000 World Cup Final of Germany versus Brazil.Continue reading “Soccer fans bind together in ‘La Gran Final’ (2006)”
Bend It Like Beckham proves that when a story is close to the heart, it can make an outstanding soccer movie and family film. At $78M, BILB is probably the top-grossing soccer movie of all time (made for ~$7M).Continue reading “‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002) tops soccer movie box office”
For its 30th anniversary, ESPN commissioned 30 respected filmmakers to produce 30 documentaries on the impact of sports on society. 30 for 30: The Two Escobars is the fascinating story of player Andrés Escobar and druglord Pablo Escobar.
Andrés Escobar, captain of the Colombian national team, gave up the own goal against the USA in the 1994 World Cup and was shot to death 10 days later in his hometown.Continue reading “‘The Two Escobars’ (2010) explains narco-fútbol”
Soccer’s Lost Boys is an evocative documentary about soccer trafficking in Africa. Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller interviews players, parents, and coaches to show how West African families hand over life savings to agents who promise a tryout in Europe.Continue reading “Football trafficking in ‘Soccer’s Lost Boys’ (2010)”
In the USA, we take our freedoms for granted, but what if we, as women, were not allowed to enter a stadium? Offside takes place at an actual 2006 World Cup qualifying match in Tehran, where women disguise themselves to get in.Continue reading “‘Offside’ (2006) – what if women could attend a game in Iran?”
You don’t expect much to happen in a Buddhist monastery. So it is not surprising that Phörpa (The Cup) is very slow paced. A spirited young soccer-obsessed monk defies the monastery’s way of life in order to watch World Cup 1998. But the abbot, although he does not understand why men fight over a ball for a cup, eventually accepts that Buddhism can coexist with football, and the boys scramble for the funds to rent a satellite dish and TV before the final.Continue reading “Young monks get to watch ‘The Cup’ (1999)”
In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, a South Asian community in England has a struggling semi-pro football team. They need to win the league or the stadium will be sold for redevelopment. Sadly, their star is enticed to play for their better all-white rivals. But the star player encounters racism on his new team. He returns to his community and saves the stadium. Lots of singing and dancing ensue.Continue reading “‘Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal’ (2007) British Hindu issues”