We never know what can take us down: accidents, cancer, our own bad habits. Today, coronavirus is foremost in our minds. But in 2017, Canadian soccer player Drew Beckie contracted myocarditis, an infection in his heart. The standard medical advice was absolute rest for 6-8 months and the warning that he might never play again.Continue reading “‘Still Defending’ (2020) after a life-threatening illness”
When anti-poachers asked a village how to help, the answer was a football league.
As a child, Matt Bracken developed a love for Africa’s wildlife, which lead to his becoming a safari travel specialist. From there, he became an anti-poaching ranger for ProTrack in South Africa. Protrack has 300 rangers in Mozambique who fight rhinoceros poachers.Continue reading “‘The Rhino Cup’ (2019) – can football reduce poaching?”
As a soccer fan who rarely watches any other sport these days, I tend to forget that basketball, baseball and pointy football don’t have fans like soccer football does. Following the European and Latin American traditions, soccer is the only pro sport in the USA where, pre-pandemic, supporters groups show up with songs, drums, banners, flags, TIFOs and a s**tload of enthusiasm.Continue reading “‘Muerte o Gloria: The Rise of the American Soccer Fan’ (2015)”
Football clubs used to publish just a single documentary film about themselves every so often, but now they’ve migrated to massive streaming series. Usually I avoid football club and player movies because I know they are going to amount to a very long marketing video. I made an exception for the Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die. And here’s why.Continue reading “Sunderland ’Til I Die (2018) takes your eye off the truth”
In France, Footeuses is what female footballers call themselves, the feminine form of Footballeur. Until recently, to be a female footballer was largely an oxymoron: to be female and a football player was not accepted. This changed with the Womens World Cup 2019 in France and the hope that the hosting country’s women would repeat the French mens’ success at WC 2018.Continue reading “‘Footeuses’ (2020) add women and football to your lexicon”
Sometimes a drama can reveal more about society’s problems than can a documentary. From its Amazon Prime description, it might not catch your eye that, unlike all the other movies on this topic, Boisko Bezdomnych is a dramatic feature film. The idea for the film arose from a Polish team going to the Homeless World Cup.Continue reading “‘Boisko Bezdomnych’ (2008): a fictional tale of a homeless World Cup team”
Nefta Football Club stands out as being the second*** soccer movie to win an Oscar nomination (that I know of). Nominated in the 2020 Best Live Action Short Film category, Writer-Director Yves Piat has created a visually stunning and engaging short that leads to a whimsical but virtual punch line.Continue reading “‘Nefta Football Club’ (2018) soccer movie nominated for an Oscar”
The message of Soccer in the City is important: that at $1,500 to $5,500 per year, the pay-to-play model excludes low-income children. American soccer doesn’t reach inner city kids, who could be untapped potential to help win World Cups. In his feature-length debut, Director Michael Holstein shows urban efforts bearing fruit in DC, the Bronx, and Atlanta.Continue reading “‘Soccer in the City’ (2019) highlights soccer for good”
See You Soon (До скорой встречи) is a beguiling romance that combines fairy tale, travelogue, and a little bit of soccer.
Can America have a male soccer star who is a recognizable face worldwide but plays in the USA? To American hearts still aching from the failure to qualify in T&T, it feels like a fantasy. Adding to the soccer fairytale, the ridiculously handsome Ryan Hawkes (Liam McIntyre) plays for the storied Los Angeles SC. (That’s LASC, not Bob Bradley’s LAFC). Celebrity has gone to Ryan’s head, and he’s a jerk who throws champagne and cocktail glasses when he’s mad drunk. Driving while intoxicated, he suffers a major knee injury and a media backlash.Continue reading “More romance and less soccer in ‘See You Soon’ (2019)”
What would life be like if there were no such thing as football or soccer? The amusing but dark short Beinball shows us what happens to a middle-aged office worker whose only joy is the beautiful game.Continue reading “Suffer life without football in ‘Beinball’ (2014)”
Before there was Messi, there was Maradona. Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona is an extraordinary football film in its collection of Maradona’s greatest hits: his passes and shots as well as the violence perpetrated upon him by opponents. In extensive footage, time and time again Maradona throws off tackles like a dog shaking off raindrops. There is not a single moment where he looks ordinary on the field. Even his juggling during practice is something I had never seen before.Continue reading “Only watch ‘Maradona’ (2019) for the football”
River, El Más Grande Siempre (translation: River, the Greatest Ever) is a 2019 documentary about Club Atlético River Plate in Argentina. It covers the players, the club’s idols, some of its 35 championships, the history, the style of soccer, and the fans.Continue reading “Is ‘River Plate the Greatest Ever’ (2019) ?”
Iceland Iceland Iceland. They have so much to envy: gorgeous environment, the Viking thunder clap, and a team that performed at the highest international stages despite a population of around 350,000 and being coached by a dentist.Continue reading “‘The Falcons’ (2018): Icelandic values in a soccer tale”
Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks is not a soccer movie, but should be watched for its engaging 10-minute animation of a football game. Like all Disney animations, the quality is so good that the 50 year old film remains on par with today’s technology.Continue reading “A magical football match in ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ (1971)”
Para Sempre Chape is the third film I have seen on the Nov-26-2016 tragic flight of the Brazilian team Chapecoense. This version by Uruguayan Director Luis Ara intended to showcase the team’s history and recovery, but not focus on the grim details of the accident. To read the details of the tragedy, please refer to my reviews of the Zimablist Brothers’ Nossa Chape and ESPN’s Setenta y Seta.