Burt Reynolds’ The Longest Yard is one of my favorite movies, and Mean Machine is almost as good. This British soccer version, starring former EPL player Vinnie Jones, stays pretty close to the original story.
United tells the story of the 1958 Munich air disaster involving ManU’s young team known as Busby’s Babes. Trying to take off in a snowstorm, the plane ran out of runway, hit a house, and was torn apart.
If you watched the end of the 2011-2012 EPL season, you saw the spoiler role QPR almost played in Manchester City’s league championship. And if that were all you knew about Queens Park Rangers, you would have assumed The Four Year Plan was some kind of feel-good Moneyball success story. It’s not.
I imagine One Night in Turin is very difficult to watch if you were an England fan during their semi-final shoot-out loss to West Germany in World Cup 1990. Writer-Director James Erskine captures the many emotions and struggles of the country, the coach, the team (including Paul Gascoigne), and its fans. Apparently for some, this film is so dead-on that it causes players to bring back the tears they shed that night in Turin.
Shaun the Sheep is a BBC kids TV series of claymation figures from the creators of Wallace and Grommit. A flock of sheep clandestinely conduct human-like activities behind the back of their farmer.
In the Hands of the Gods follows five British freestylers over a 6-week odyssey as the young men work their way from London to Argentina to meet Diego Maradona. This documentary is very similar to the movie Pelada, but it has a lot more friction and conflict, because the five have set out on their journey without a plan or money.
Variously named as the The Art of Soccer with John Cleese or the Art of Football from A to Z, it appears this made for TV film was commissioned by Germany for World Cup 2006. John Cleese pontificates on 26 alphabetical aspects of the game.
Goal 2: Living the Dream continues the rags-to-riches fantasy of Santiago Munez, who migrates from the streets of Los Angeles to become a super-sub at Newcastle. In this sequel, Santi and his buddy Gavin end up at Real Madrid, with Santi on his way up and Gavin on his way down.
In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, a South Asian community in England has a struggling semi-pro football team. They need to win the league or the stadium will be sold for redevelopment. Sadly, their star is enticed to play for their better all-white rivals. But the star player encounters racism on his new team. He returns to his community and saves the stadium. Lots of singing and dancing ensue.
Funny how British soccer movies analyze the game’s joyless effect on its fans, in minute detail. I watched 3 of them in 2 days and realized that deep-down, the Brits hate soccer! Or at least, British screenwriters do.
A sports nut since childhood, Julie Welch was the first female soccer sports writer on Fleet Street. She was asked to write a screenplay for a British television series that would capture the passions of first love.
Kickoff is about the first game of the season for a man who puts together a 5-man gay team for a Sunday league. He wants his players to act manly like footballers, but instead this flamboyant, very buff crew is far out in left field.
The Other Half is a long drawn-out joke. An England fan plans a honeymoon in Portugal so that he can sneak off to England’s three Euro 2004 games. The complication is that his American wife doesn’t even know he’s a soccer fan, and her father has paid for the honeymoon.
The Firm was an episode of a BBC TV series in 1989. A young (30 years old) Gary Oldman stars as Bexie — a middle class father, real estate agent, weekend soccer player, and the boss of a hooligan gang.
Sixty Six is director Paul Welland’s autobiographical tale of woe about how his Bar Mitzvah was ruined by the nearby England vs Germany WC 1966 Final. In his own words, “It is a very cruel movie”, and he believes it is humorous. But after the boy pins all his self-worth on having a party to remember, watching him suffer one humiliation after another is nothing but painful.