‘Russia’s Hooligan Army’ (2017) is painfully real

Russia's Hooligan Army (2017)

Thinking of going to WC 2018? Watch Russia’s Hooligan Army. It may change your mind, especially if you are British and male. This BBC TV documentary starts with news footage of the Russian hooligan attacks at Euro 2016. Then, it turns the spigot on full blast in sensationalist interviews with Russian supporters group leaders, who crow over their victories and ready their members for the next round on the home soil of WC 2018.

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‘The Magnificent Eleven’ (2012) dancing nude footie

The Magnificent Eleven (2012)

Asked what The Magnificent Eleven is about, actor Robert Vaughn boiled it down to: “Dancing footie players, nude.” This film is a little more than that, but it does put that nudie footie player thing front and center quite a bit. Or front and to the side. Or mostly, flabby rear end in the clubhouse shower, the locker room, the team bus, the pitch… you get the idea.

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‘Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero’ (2008) preserves his legacy

Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero (2008)

Nicholas Bailey says he spent 7 years trying to get this documentary made, and soccer movie enthusiasts should be glad he persisted. Walter Tull: Forgotten Hero covers Tull’s life from childhood to Black British footballer to World War 1 Black British officer and member of the Football Battalion.

The film sets Tull’s struggles and successes in the harsh context of British orphanages and racism. Bailey also visits Tull’s surviving relatives (children of his older brother) and covers Tull’s legacy, which is now promulgated as a role model to children growing up in his old neighborhoods.

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Every referee should watch ‘Soccer’s Hard Men’ (1992)

Soccer's Hard Men (1992)

No other soccer film so proudly demonstrates the types of foul play that can end players’ careers or easily result in a mass confrontation. An important archive of English football history, Soccer’s Hard Men is a 1992 film that every referee should watch.

Fortunately, most of the tackles, punches, crotch grabs, elbows, hits on GKs, and other misconducts shown in this film would be instant ejections today. But developing referees would see the hard evidence on why these fouls are now disallowed.

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‘The Brothers Grimsby’ (2016) fight to save an English final

The Brothers Grimsby (2016)

The Brothers Grimsby is a new path for Sacha Baron Cohen. Instead of giving us a narcissistic Borat, Bruno, or Ali G, his Nobby is a likable character: family man, loyal brother, wasted England fan, and unlikely action hero. That is, when Cohen isn’t delivering his usual shtick of male sex organs and anal violation.

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‘When Saturday Comes’ (1996) surprisingly directed by a woman

When Saturday Comes (1996)

Many of the best soccer movies have been directed by women. Unfortunately, When Saturday Comes does not earn that distinction. Sean Bean plays young brewery worker Jimmy Muir, who gets the chance to tryout for his home team, Sheffield United.

But Jimmy sabotages himself with his own fear, drink, and lack of self-discipline, along with a multitude of challenges from family and friends.

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