Director Brent Hodge did not intend to make a film about why men enter the Catholic priesthood. At the outset, he and co-director Chris Kelly thought their film would be a comedic pop culture documentary, a movie genre niche that is Hodge’s specialty. They envisioned fat friars sweating in the Vatican-sponsored football tournament known as The Clericus Cup.
The last film from Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely and Jimmy Chin was the Oscar-winning, bone-chilling Free Solo. National Geographic handed them the reins to tell the story of what is commonly known as the Thai cave rescue. Once again, the Director duo deliver a pulsating story about men who pursue a death-defying sport, except this time the hobby enables the saving of 13 lives.
The Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso has had such a cultural impact, it calls for a separate review for its second season. Season One arrived as an antidote to a toxic presidency and a worldwide pandemic. Coach Ted Lasso was quoted from the pulpit of my local Presbyterian church, in whose congregation almost no one follows soccer.
It’s such a shame that Cosmoball had its theatrical release during the pandemic, dooming it to financial failure. Because this movie is a hoot. If you are curious about the Russian ability to make a CGI Marvel-universe type blockbuster, watch this film. Right now you do not need to pay extra to watch it with your Amazon Prime membership.
Cool Kids Don’t Cry is a hopeful and touching film about a vibrant eighth grade girl who contracts leukemia, and how she and her classmates respond to her illness as it progresses.
Paloma Pujol is on a mission in Madrid. She is a world class, professional female freestyler. But amongst 100 freestylers in Spain, she is the only female. Paloma sets out to change that.
The Netflix documentary Pelé has all the makings of a prestige film: a man known as the greatest footballer in the world, the only player to have won 3 World Cups, and celebrity in the historical context of a brutal dictatorship. The twist in the story is that you see an aged man at his most physically vulnerable, who cries at remembering all the pressure he withstood to make his fans happy.
If we study the Great Ones of sport, we find there are many contributing factors to their success: motivation, competitiveness, mentors, resilience, discipline, talent, and luck. Writer-Director Gabe Polsky gives us examples of all that and adds one more trait, creativity, that extends across music, art, and other disciplines.
Duell der Brüder is a welcome entry in my list of football films. Titled Adidas vs Puma for Amazon, it covers a small but significant piece of sports history along with the drama of two brothers turned personal and business enemies amid the effects of World War 2.
90 Minutos is an excellent first feature from Pulsar, a young Honduran filmmaking company. Director Aeden O’Connor Agurcia and Writer Daniel Frañó fused 4 disparate stories from Honduran life, each with a connection to football. But soccer is mainly a vehicle to capture movie-goers’ attention in a futbol-crazy country.
A Kaderschmiede is an elite training center, school, or academy, and in the case of Karlsruher SC, its purpose is to create a cadre of skilled footballers. Writer-Director Juana Guschl followed the club’s youth players for the 2013-2014 season and submitted this film for graduation from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2014.
Unbreakable: The Steve Zakuani Story is an extremely well-made documentary of a man reviewing his chance hit footballing career that ended just short of meteoric. By telling his story, Steve Zakuani hopes to convince every young teenager that they can be at rock bottom but still rise again and ultimately give back.
Many have compared Cold Sweat with the 2006 feature Offside, which is perhaps the most famous soccer movie out of Iran. But to do so is a crime, even though both dramas are about women trying to exercise simple human rights that are denied to them in Iran.