Coach is a straight-to-DVD film by first-time-feature Writer-Director Will Frears. Hugh Dancy is a slacker and soccer bum in New York City. He doesn’t need to work, but he finds romance and purpose when he takes a job coaching middle school kids to the league championship.
Gracie is one of the few fictional movies where the director and producer work hard to make the soccer look authentic. It’s the story of a soccer-crazed family whose first born son dies in high school, so his younger sister Gracie tries to take his place on the boys’ soccer field. In the 1970s in New Jersey, that required invoking Title 9.
Writer-director Mushon Salmona conceived the idea for his first feature film Vasermil after making a documentary about the marginal lives of teenagers in his hometown of Beer-Sheva, in southern Israel. The three boys in this story all come from broken homes and have to grow up quickly, although they are ill-prepared to do so.
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.
Danica McKellar has grown up from being Winnie on the Wonder Years, to Inspector Mom. This TV movie led to a short-lived series about soccer mom Maddie Monroe, a former police department employee who is a pretty good sleuth on her own, ala Angela Lansbury in “Murder, She Wrote”.
Studs is an Irish soccer comedy with a good performance from Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter’s Prof MadEye Moody). Gleeson plays a mysterious manager whose seeming identity inspires a ragtag Sunday team to a Cup final. But the downer ending left me very ambivalent.
Manuel Francisco dos Santos, commonly known as Mané Garrincha, was second only to Pelé as one of Brazil’s greatest players. Garrincha – Estrela Solitária is a docudrama that shows his dribbling flair on the field and his sexual exploits.
A Shot at Glory starts off with a bit of fun — the ashes of a long time fan are poured onto the Kilnockie stadium turf so that he can “be with the lads”. It’s during practice, and as the team distractedly stands in respect, they juggle the ball from one to another down the line. But Glory doesn’t continue the humor.
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.
It’s sad that many think Victory is the iconic American soccer movie, because this movie is pretty ordinary and has aged poorly. Victory is a World War Two POW movie that pays heavy homage to The Great Escape; the POWs escape while playing against the Nazis.
The Boys in Company C was one of the first films to portray the senselessness of the Vietnam War. It’s a war movie and not a soccer movie by any means. But, to borrow a phrase from Susan Jeffords, this film asks if a soccer game is a “thing worth dying for”.