Soccergate (aka Footballgate) is Episode 3 of the Netflix series Bad Sport , but it provides disappointing coverage on the 2006 match fixing scandal commonly known as “Calciopoli”. I learn something from almost all the documentaries I’ve reviewed, and it is only a very few that leave me with so many questions that I am compelled to do much more research.
Late one night on Netflix, I found this Emirati football comedy from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). When I started watching Red Card (Kart Ahmar), I was quickly confused. I hadn’t had any exposure to Arab humor, and given how conservatively Islam is portrayed in the media, I had assumed that Arabs don’t laugh much. I used to think that about Germans too, but I was wrong.
This film about Mexico’s Hugo Sanchéz is a little bit different from the deluge of content the streaming era has brought. Some of the worst shows have essentially been reality showcases for celebrity footballers, such as Neymar and Paul Pogba. It felt like these players were isolated narcissists and I ended up disrespecting them as players as well.
Like its predecessor All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspurs, which focused on José Mourinho, the Arsenal series focuses on the equally good-looking manager Mikel Arteta during the 2021-2022 season. I’m not sure why anyone other than an Arsenal fan would want to watch this series.
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. 🙂
The most charitable description of Fan of Amoory is that it is well-meaning propaganda meant to exhort young boys to follow their dreams and work for them. In the glory of the UAE.
Penalty is a well-meaning but mostly flaccid first feature film from Director Shubham Singh. Singh uses football as a vehicle to weave a narrative about discrimination in northern India.
In general, I don’t like to watch documentaries about current players because they tend to be boring marketing fluff. The arc is usually the same: kid has a nice family, leaves for academy at a young age, overcomes obstacles, recognized as great, wins championships, and starts a foundation.
As an American, I sometimes have a terrible time understanding British humor. The Bromley Boys is one such case. Which in this year of 2020 is quite sad, because I really need cheering up.** Having enjoyed the youtube series Seaside Town by Warren Dudley, I expected his screenplay for The Bromley Boys to be equally fun.
Watching Zanzibar Soccer Dreams via the virtual 2020 Women Sports Film Festival, I suffered a little deja-vu, wondering if I had already seen this film. It turns out that this documentary, by two professors in the UK, came out only a year after New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story was released by a couple of young American women. I saw both films through the WSFF.
With a box office of $367M, Hello Mr Billionaire would be the most successful soccer movie yet. If it were really a soccer movie. But regardless, this comedy demonstrates the power of Chinese films in the Chinese market. In 2018, TheNumbers listed it at #27 worldwide, but if listed in the 2019 international BoxOfficeMojo ranking, Hello Mr Billionaire would be #25, right after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
When this Netflix original first pops up on your TV, the upper left corner warns “sex, nudity, language, smoking”. That warning is also an able synopsis of this Italian hooligan movie.
The problem with Shooting for Socrates is that the football is really a backdrop for writing a feel good story about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. And while sport as metaphor is the motivation for many soccer movies, in this case, the film doesn’t find its chemistry and feels like oil and water. Categorized as both drama and comedy, the film feels like neither.
It’s hard to believe that Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour franchise, put together the worst ESPN 30 for 30 segment that I have seen. Mysteries of the Jules Rimet Trophy covers all the facts, but the production is flat, and the importance of the artifact is blown way out of proportion. It’s almost facetious. It’s not the Holy Grail, it’s a small piece of metal of a woman holding up a cup. It’s not even gold.
Director Suridh Hassan put together this documentary about corruption in Southeast Asian football, mostly covering Indonesia. He follows the season of UK manager Simon McMenemy, who coaches Indonesian side Mitrar Kukar FC. He also conducts interviews with a youth coach, a physio, and a journalist who explain how easy and pervasive match fixing is in the area. The bottom line is: Don’t bet on games in Indonesia and Singapore.