High school sports often serve as the film setting for a great divide: between rich and poor, Black and White, or urban versus rural. Maybe the greatest high school sports drama is Denzel Washington’s Remember the Titans (2000), where in the racist South, a Black coach and Black and White co-captains unite a newly integrated pointy football team.
SoccerMovieMom Rating = 7 out of 10 – pretty good
I came upon this old BBC TV movie by chance on Amazon Prime. By the description, it didn’t seem like a soccer movie, but it turns out that the first 30 minutes deliver trope after trope of non-league football from the touchline in 1990s Bristol, England.
Looking for something a little different to watch? Classico is a cute mash-up of comedy and a little romance in the context of a rivalry between ultra but nice football supporters.
There was so much hype about the Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, I put off watching it until I needed the DVR space for the WC 2022 games. (It’s not like Ryan Reynolds is going to read this review.) But if you’re wondering what to watch in the deluge of streaming sports docuseries, Wrexham is unique because it is like a love child between Sunderland Til I Die and Ted Lasso.
If you did not have the energy to read the 2014 Garcia Report, the Netflix docuseries FIFA Uncovered is an excellent way to get all the facts in a very visual mode. Director Daniel Gordon interviews journalists, authors, and media experts as well as key principals formerly inside FIFA, and the Qataris who bought the World Cup.
I wasn’t planning to review Thirteen Lives, Ron Howard’s dramatization of the 2018 Thai Cave Rescue. After all, I had already reviewed 3 other films covering the story, and this isn’t really a soccer movie. In fact, wikipedia has placed it in the genre of “biographical survival film”. But I noticed that search engines were finding my website because of my review of 13 Lost (2020), so I thought I should give readers a chance to know how I compare this film to the other versions.
There are several things to like about the Wayne Rooney documentary. First of all, it’s only 1 hour and 43 minutes. While that’s 13 minutes longer than it should have been, it’s better than having to watch Wayne, Coleen and the kids play bored games in a long drawn-out series that searches for instagram moments.
Maradona Blessed Dream, the 10-episode series from Amazon, may hook you in its steady outpouring of sex, drugs and fútbol. It will probably be the grandest film/series about Diego Armando Maradona that will ever be made. But if I hadn’t felt compelled to review it, I would have preferred to turn it off. It just feels so distasteful and disrespectful. Do we really want to remember Maradona by the depictions of his nightlife, copulations and orgies?
What does it take to win your league during a pandemic? In this documentary, the answer is to tackle one game at a time: partido a partido. What does it mean to win your league during a pandemic? Just as much as winning during a regular season. Maybe a great deal more, because the stakes are so much higher on and off the pitch.
The International Player kicks off with a somewhat familiar scene — a celebrity leaves a night club accompanied by 2 women who are ready to party. The man drives fast and recklessly, until he crashes his Porsche convertible into a concrete wall. From his hospital bed, the film looks backward to see how the player Malek (Youssef El Sherif) came to this point of possible suicide right before a World Cup qualifier.
Released just 2 months after Bigil, one might write off Champion as a literal poor man’s version of that big budget production. Champion‘s star (Vishwa K as Jones) is an unknown newcomer, there are no dance scenes or music videos, and there is no CGI. Both films relate to criminal life in the slums, but the 2 films don’t really compare.
Afghanistan has been in a state of civil war since 1992. For almost 30 years, lives have been violently torn apart by the Taliban, ISIS/ISIL, Pakistan, and the USA. So why is this film titled Men of Hope? Because when Afghans can watch their National Team play, it brings hope to locals, migrants, and refugees, that the homeland can return to normalcy.
Greg Clark’s documentary Real Kashmir FC makes you wonder if being a football coach is a career, a calling, or a sheer act of stubbornness. In the case of former Rangers player David Robertson, it appears to be a tasty stew of all three.
Child sexual abuse is a topic that society sweeps under the rug, even though the effects on its victims and their families are lifelong. When child sexual abuse happens within an organization’s purview, it is a huge liability for which many deny responsibility.
Imagine a film where Cinderella goes to the ball, has her magical moment, and then returns to the cinders to make the best of her life as a servant to a cruel family. If you know Cinderella, you know she is resilient, and she will keep singing and will find friendly relationships to sustain her, even if they are only animal friends.