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.
I’m not saying that Peter Crouch’s film is not worth watching. I really didn’t know much about him, having only seen him in an occasional England game. The first half of That Peter Crouch Film covers the obstacles he had to overcome because of his absurd 6 feet 7 inches (or, as a friend of mine would self-describe, 5 foot 19 inches) of gangliness.
Crouch was not the image of a footballer — 189 lbs, all bones, no visible muscles (didn’t pull a hammie until his twenties), a seeming pretender in a basketball frame. To many, he was a freak on a football pitch, and a target for derision and rude chants.
In addition, convinced of Peter’s greatness at a very young age, his father was one of those toxic dads who got into fights with other parents. The bad-sports-dad even left the teenager to get home on his own from a game 15 miles away. Peter laughs off these stories with his great toothsome smile — perhaps because he’s told them so many times — and says he wouldn’t be where he is today without such a pushy dad.
Such a nice guy
When he recounts the bad memories and his tears well up, you feel quite sorry for Peter and admire all that he has accomplished.
Which, it turns out, is maybe not the greatest footballing career. According to the film, he was at quite a few clubs, always looking for more playing time and for that manager who would believe in him. For Peter, that was Harry Redknapp, who fashioned the game around Peter’s unique abilities at 3 different clubs.
The second half of the film covers the ups and downs of his progress in football. The biggest turning point may have been his robot dance goal celebration at the 2006 World Cup. His willingness to flaunt his gawkiness helped fans laugh with him rather than at him.
From there, Peter has grown his affability into several books (including his first memoir “Walking Tall”), the That Peter Crouch Podcast, and CrouchFest, whatever that was.
I enjoyed the first half of That Peter Crouch Film, and I’m sure his fans love the entire documentary. But in seeing his career play out, it felt a lot like the Rooney documentary, and I wondered, is that all there is? Maybe that is the curse of that generation of England players, as well as the current generation. Neither were able to put all that talent into the results that fans expected. I had heard that was kind of the problem with the planned Jamie Vardy biopic — that they kept waiting for a big happy ending, a World Cup, anything. And instead, Wagatha Christie happened, followed by Leicester City’s relegation this year.
I probably shouldn’t be so harsh, but I’m afraid I am not going to be impressed by any documentary of an England player until they win the WC or the Euros. It’s hard for me to get excited about a player because he’s on the squad that wins the FA Cup. But Crouch has a great smile, a warm personality, and a bittersweet story. I guess that’s enough for a rating of 7.
7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7