Categories
Documentary

Know your history – The Sisters of ’96 (2021)

The Sisters of ’96 highlights an accomplishment that seems to barely register in American soccer history. While the 99ers are now easily recognized as the winners of the WWC 1999, how many know that prior to that, these women won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta?

Categories
Cultural Documentary

‘King Otto’ (2021) wins your heart

What does it mean to be Greek? King Otto shows us through a grating between and then a melding of German and Greek cultures on a football pitch. Combining ambitious German discipline with Greek passion and spirit, the result is an improbable underdog run through the 2004 Euros. Like Morocco’s recent run through WC 2022, where fans found head scarves (ghutra) fashionable, this uplifting film makes you want to be a little bit Greek.

Categories
Documentary

Will ‘Truth be Told’ (2022) set the NWSL free?

Truth be Told: The fight for Women’s Professional Soccer  is an ESPN E60 production. The film covers the more visual aspects of the “This guy has a pattern” story that was reported by Meg Linehan and Katie Strang. On Sep-30-2021, the reporters broke open their investigation on abuses by celebrated NWSL coach Paul Riley and the organizational coverups.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

A last gift from Grant Wahl – ‘Good Rivals’ (2022)

This is a heavy-hearted review. I watched Grant Wahl’s docuseries Good Rivals during the two weeks that the USMNT was playing in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar. I had hoped that Grant would see my review during the WC. But tragically, Grant Wahl suffered a fatal aortic aneursym in the press box of Lusail Stadium, while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match. He died just a few days after celebrating his 49th birthday.

Categories
Documentary

‘Welcome to Wrexham’ (2022) – not your normal sports documentary

There was so much hype about the Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, I put off watching it until I needed the DVR space for  the WC 2022 games. (It’s not like Ryan Reynolds is going to read this review.) But if you’re wondering what to watch in the deluge of streaming sports docuseries, Wrexham is unique because it is like a love child between Sunderland Til I Die and Ted Lasso.

Categories
Documentary

‘FIFA Uncovered’ (2022) the World Cup of Fraud

If you did not have the energy to read the 2014 Garcia Report, the Netflix docuseries FIFA Uncovered is an excellent way to get all the facts in a very visual mode. Director Daniel Gordon interviews journalists, authors, and media experts as well as key principals formerly inside FIFA, and the Qataris who bought the World Cup.

Categories
Kids

‘The Soccer Football Movie’ (2022) – weird and unwatchable

The Soccer Football Movie needs a big red alert that warns “Not Suitable for Small Children”. Followed by a second warning that says “Indigestible for Adults”.

Categories
Drama Suspense

‘Thirteen Lives’ (2022) entertains but is not the best rendition

I wasn’t planning to review Thirteen Lives, Ron Howard’s dramatization of the 2018 Thai Cave Rescue. After all, I had already reviewed 3 other films covering the story, and this isn’t really a soccer movie. In fact, wikipedia has placed it in the genre of “biographical survival film”. But I noticed that search engines were finding my website because of my review of 13 Lost (2020), so I thought I should give readers a chance to know how I compare this film to the other versions.

Categories
Documentary

‘The Rescue’ (2021) may be the best

The last film from Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely and Jimmy Chin was the Oscar-winning, bone-chilling Free Solo. National Geographic handed them the reins to tell the story of what is commonly known as the Thai cave rescue. Once again, the Director duo deliver a pulsating story about men who pursue a death-defying sport, except this time the hobby enables the saving of 13 lives.

Categories
Comedy

Where have you gone, ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2 (2021)?

The Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso has had such a cultural impact, it calls for a separate review for its second season. Season One arrived as an antidote to a toxic presidency and a worldwide pandemic. Coach Ted Lasso was quoted from the pulpit of my local Presbyterian church, in whose congregation almost no one follows soccer.

Categories
Drama

‘Soccer Mom Madam’ (2021) is not a soccer movie

First of all, let’s set the record straight. Soccer Mom Madam is not a soccer movie. But its provocative title is going to occupy any search for the keywords “soccer mom movie”, so I am posting this review as a public service to soccer fans. 🙂

Categories
Documentary

At least the soccer is great in ‘LFG’ (2021)

LFG,  the new documentary on HBOMax, is about a mission that is right and just. From other reviews on this website, you know that I am 100% behind the USWNT’s fight for equal pay. But LFG (Let’s F**king Go!) is in some ways a disservice to the cause, because the film is too long and becomes boring. The first rule of soccer movies should be: Don’t take more than 90 minutes to tell your story.

Categories
Documentary

‘Pelé’ (2021) – the game that made Pelé cry

The Netflix documentary Pelé has all the makings of a prestige film: a man known as the greatest footballer in the world, the only player to have won 3 World Cups, and celebrity in the historical context of a brutal dictatorship. The twist in the story is that you see an aged man at his most physically vulnerable, who cries at remembering all the pressure he withstood to make his fans happy.

Categories
Suspense

The soccer is murderous in ‘Kick – Sudden Death’ (2015)

Is it fair to write a review when I abhor horror movies? To add to my dilemma, I could not force myself to finish watching Kick – Sudden Death because it simply defied logic. Maybe that’s what horror movies do; since I don’t watch them, I can’t really judge. So to compensate, I will keep this review short.

Categories
Documentary

‘In Search of Greatness’ (2018), born from creativity

If we study the Great Ones of sport, we find there are many contributing factors to their success: motivation, competitiveness, mentors, resilience, discipline, talent, and luck. Writer-Director Gabe Polsky gives us examples of all that and adds one more trait, creativity, that extends across music, art, and other disciplines.