Talk about strange. I found Shui Hu, The Soccer Heroes ( 水浒足球 ), an anime Chinese DVD, in my county library system. The animation is quite crude and similar to Captain Tsubasa, so that I thought this film must be from the early 1980s. Instead, this feature length cartoon from Hong Kong was produced in 2006.
Mariano, an ardent fan of la Selección, passionately believes that Mexico always wins when he is at the game at Azteca to cheer them on. In a home-and-away series with the USMNT to qualify for the World Cup, Mariano (Adrian Uribe) bets all his savings on Mexico.
But on the morning of the deciding home game, his uncle dies. Mariano and his brother desperately try multiple deceptions to escape the funeral service and get to their seats in Azteca. As the game progresses, they try to at least find out the score.
The problem of human trafficking through football, also known as football trafficking, has been covered in the media for almost 10 years. In Soka Afrika, Suridh Hassan puts together a sensitive portrayal of 2 teenage footballers trying to make a career in Europe in 2009. However, I do not recommend this documentary because it puts a good face on bad agents and furthers the myth of sports as a key way out of poverty.
After The Football Factory, I swore I wouldn’t watch any more Hooligan movies. They seem to be a genre of violence, sex, and drugs, with a little bit of football as context. As in, we gotta go to a West Ham game on the way to the violence, sex, and drugs we are going to do.
And I don’t understand why it’s always West Ham hooligans.
During the month the 2010 World Cup is played in South Africa, Director Benjamin Kahlmeyer shows the life that goes on, meanwhile, in the impoverished township of Mamelodi. The township is only 16 miles from Loftus Stadium, but residents’ interaction is mostly limited to buying noisy vuvuzuelas and enjoying Bafana Bafana’s games on small black and white TVs.
Video evangelism is a soccer movie genre I haven’t reviewed until now. I was contacted by filmmaker Shawn Keith, who created The Prize: Under Pressure for sports chaplains. His 26-minute piece is well-done, interspersing World Cup footage with testimonials by international players. The most well-known of these is Kaká, and Americans will all recognize USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The message of the film is that embracing Jesus helps players deal with the pressure of performing at the highest level.
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.
Subbuteopia captures the history and passion for the game of Subbuteo (Table Soccer) and its enthusiasts, who persevered despite Hasbro’s cancelling the product.
Reds & Blues: The Ballad of Dixie & Kenny is a football farce about 2 sets of ardent fans who live next door to each other in Merseyside. One neighbor supports Everton (Blues), while the other supports Liverpool (Reds).
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.
My Dad’s a Soccer Mom plays to a stereotype of loud-mouth narcissistic Black professional athletes. When Lester Speight is the star, it’s hard to tell any other story. An NFL linebacker whose contract is not renewed, he ends up playing stay-at-home Dad to his 10 year old daughter.
Michael Foreman is a renowned British author and illustrator of many children’s books. But the book that affected people the most was his 1989 “War Boy”, about what it was like to grow up in a small village at the start of World War I.
White, Blue and White is an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary that examines the effect of the Falklands War on Argentines Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa. After winning WC 1978* in Buenos Aires, they are recruited by newly promoted Tottenham to become the first Argentines to play in the England First Division.
They are wildly successful until Argentina’s ruling junta invades the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in 1982. Ossie’s fighter pilot cousin is killed in the conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
I couldn’t ignore a movie that has a soccer ball on its DVD cover. But Game of Life actually has very little to do with soccer. The story follows 5 families whose 10 year old boys play on a recreational soccer team that keeps losing. But the families don’t interact with each other.
A strong Christian and avid researcher, Peter Lupson published his book Thank God for Football! in 2006. A few years later, he ran into an executive of the Christian Television Association. That heaven-sent meeting resulted in a documentary of the 12 past and present EPL teams that were founded by churches.