Soccergate (aka Footballgate) is Episode 3 of the Netflix series Bad Sport , but it provides disappointing coverage on the 2006 match fixing scandal commonly known as “Calciopoli”. I learn something from almost all the documentaries I’ve reviewed, and it is only a very few that leave me with so many questions that I am compelled to do much more research.
Directors Marco La Villa and Mauro La Villa say that this film is about fathers and sons and how football unites generations and allows them to relate to each other. The twin brothers worked on this film for 10 years, after their father, a life long Juventini, passed away without ever attending a Juventus game.
Having already reviewed Fulwell 73’s feature-length film Super Greed (2022), it took me a long time to get around to watching the 4-episode mini-series Super League: The War for Football. After all, how much more does anyone care to learn about a bunch of billionaires for whom football is strictly business. But Oh, what a mistake if I had never watched this Apple TV series. It is a masterpiece.
At the end of the season, English clubs typically issue a compilation of highlight videos. But at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Liverpool felt they had a good chance to win the EPL. So they recruited James Erskine to follow the club season-long and work on a documentary, somewhat along the lines of the Sunderland and All or Nothing series.
We just started subscribing to Paramount+, and I was delighted to see that one of the movies available was Sir Alex Ferguson – Never Give In. It’s a delightful documentary that shows the depths and roots of the man, and how his environment shaped his coaching career.
The Men Who Sold the World Cup was produced and directed by Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme, two fellows who have built their careers with documentaries that explain corruption and evil-doing in a very accessible and entertaining way. This docuseries shows how corruption is cultivated and how difficult it is to capture the bad guys at the top of an organized crime hierarchy like FIFA.
I stopped watching documentaries about current footballers and clubs because they tend to be long infomercials selling their brands. Now I must add to that list: documentaries about former footballers who now have a podcast. It’s just more branding.
From what I read about Diego Maradona when he was alive, it was not easy to get him or his inner circle to talk about the unsavory side of his life. Drugs, alcohol, gangsters, infidelities, children that he refused to acknowledge, more drugs… To reveal the truth would mean falling out of favor and losing access to the man, his money, and his celebrity. So it isn’t surprising that those who worked closely with him did not come forward until this documentary, pretty much just a month after he died.
Sometimes to get people to pay attention to your message, you have to do something radical. Like have 30 women climb Kilimanjaro and play an official soccer match at an altitude of 18,800 feet.
Truth be told, I watched the 3-part Angel City docuseries a couple of weeks ago, but I just couldn’t get myself to write this review. The series shows a lot about Angel City FC that I hadn’t known, and I was glad to learn it. But the coverage of the startup and inaugural year of a womens soccer team is laid out more like a business and marketing case study than a soccer story.
Soccer Shrines is a series that covers fans and their football stadiums across 3 continents, selecting the better-known clubs in a country. Produced for the Canadian market in 2010, it’s a sort of travelogue. I say “sort of”, because you don’t really see much of the country that is visited, so you aren’t inspired to travel there.
Khartoum Offside is Writer-Director Marwa Zein’s first feature length film and has won a number of awards. I just don’t know enough about the film industry to understand why.
In the documentary Pojkdrömmen, Writer-Director Emil Moberg Lundén tells his own story of his last-ditch all-out attempt to become a pro footballer at age 30. It’s an entertaining film under an hour, as Emil is the anti-Zlatan, an attractive, talented man who comes to question his self-centered goal in the context of third world problems.
Two of the short films being showcased at the 2023 edition of Denmark’s Shoot! Festival are worth a quick watch or mention.
It’s not often that I rate a Netflix Original so low, as usually Netflix has a minimum level of quality. But somehow, the docuseries Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star got past the QA department. Yeah, it’s a howler.