It’s hard to believe that Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour franchise, put together the worst ESPN 30 for 30 segment that I have seen. Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy covers all the facts, but the production is flat, and the importance of the artifact is blown way out of proportion. It’s almost facetious. It’s not the Holy Grail, it’s a small piece of metal of a woman holding up a cup. It’s not even gold.Continue reading “ESPN falls flat with ‘Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy’ (2014)”
Barbosa, the Man Who Made Brazil Cry revisits the trauma bestowed upon goalkeeper Barbosa, who is often blamed for Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in the Final of World Cup 1950 at the Maracana stadium. This match is famously known as the disastrous El Maracanazo.Continue reading “Review: Barbosa, the Man Who Made Brazil Cry (2014)”
The Myth of Garrincha is a 22 minute episode in ESPN’s 30 for 30 Soccer Stories, currently available on ESPN+. Garrincha was Pelé’s peer, and as long as they were on the field together, Brazil never lost a World Cup.Continue reading “ESPN explores ‘The Myth of Garrincha’ (2014)”
Nefta Football Club stands out as being the only soccer movie to win an Oscar nomination (that I know of). Nominated in the 2020 Best Live Action Short Film category, Writer-Director Yves Piat has created a visually stunning and engaging short that leads to a whimsical but virtual punch line.Continue reading “‘Nefta Football Club’ (2018) first soccer movie nominated for an Oscar”
What would life be like if there were no such thing as football or soccer? The amusing but dark short Beinball shows us what happens to a middle-aged office worker whose only joy is the beautiful game.Continue reading “Suffer life without football in ‘Beinball’ (2014)”
Sport Psychologist Courtney Carroll Levinsohn found out that SFSU coach Tracy Hamm was working on her UEFA A-license. Only 1% of such coaching licenses are held by women. Why not put this story on the screen and thereby normalize it? The result is Coach, 25 minutes of inspiration that tell women and girls, you can do this.Continue reading “‘Coach’ (2019) is 25 minutes of inspiration”
Working with the Bertha Foundation, The Guardian newspaper commissioned 12 short documentaries with global impact. Desert Fire covers a team representing Iraqi Kurdistan at the 2016 ConIFA World Cup.Continue reading “Stateless teams compete in ‘Desert Fire’ (2016)”
In 1990, a young Irishman’s anticipation of his child’s birth coincides with the breathless anticipation of his nation as it competes in the World Cup for the first time.Continue reading “‘The Nation Holds Its Breath’ (2016) in Ireland’s first World Cup”
For a guy taking his first steps in creating a film, Director Rhys Chapman made all the right moves. He strategically took Wonderkid from awareness campaign, to fund raising, through a 5-day shoot, and then to fruition. All along, his mission was to educate viewers by portraying homophobia and the need to counter it by Being Yourself at the highest levels of British football.Continue reading “‘Wonderkid’ (2016) has a wondrous film production”
Video evangelism is a soccer movie genre I haven’t reviewed until now. I was contacted by filmmaker Shawn Keith, who created The Prize: Under Pressure for sports chaplains. His 26-minute piece is well-done, interspersing World Cup footage with testimonials by international players. The most well-known of these is Kaká, and Americans will all recognize USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The message of the film is that embracing Jesus helps players deal with the pressure of performing at the highest level.Continue reading “‘The Prize’ (2014) teaches how religion can help athletes”
I’m sorry, but The Trophy Thief did not open my heart. Instead, I feel manipulated, as if the creators are simply playing to sympathies by casting a short-statured soccer player as Ben, the boy who steals an unjustly-awarded MVP trophy.Continue reading “‘The Trophy Thief’ (2015) doesn’t ring true”
I Play Soccer is a 6-minute short film about the Sierra Leone football academy run by the Craig Bellamy Foundation. By Stefan Lovgren, the film is more advertising than documentary. Like many soccer movies, I learned more from researching the subject than watching this film.Continue reading “‘I Play Soccer’ (2011) at a Sierra Leone academy”
No Ball Games is a 7-minute short film that might turn off a typical soccer movie fan. I found humor in it but my hubby did not. It reflects the director’s sense of humor, entrancing the viewer with a boy whose ball goes over a wall into a secret garden.Continue reading “‘No Ball Games’ (2012) is darkly funny, twisted humor”
In 12 minutes, Jeremy Santolin’s micro-documentary Mr. Smith reveals the dogged path traversed by a player who turned pro at age 27. Matt Smith grew up in the Portsmouth youth system but was cut at age 17.
Baghdad Messi is a heartbreaking 19 minute short film that recently became available on Amazon Prime. The film was just shy of the final cut of nominees for Live Action Short Film of the 2014 Academy Awards.