Categories
Drama Kids

Inspiring family friendly ‘La Foquita: El 10 de la Calle’ (2020)

The biopic La Foquita: El 10 de la Calle concentrates on the inspiring rise of the Peruvian footballer Jefferson Agustín Farfán Guadalupe, whose nickname is “La Foquita”. Farfán emerges from the shanty town of Villa El Salvador, where poverty is so deep, that finding enough food to eat is a daily chore.

Categories
Documentary

Will ‘Truth be Told’ (2022) set the NWSL free?

Truth be Told: The fight for Women’s Professional Soccer  is an ESPN E60 production. The film covers the more visual aspects of the “This guy has a pattern” story that was reported by Meg Linehan and Katie Strang. On Sep-30-2021, the reporters broke open their investigation on abuses by celebrated NWSL coach Paul Riley and the organizational coverups.

Categories
Cultural Kids

‘Africa United’ (2010) is a modern fairytale

Africa United starts off with Dudu, a young AIDS orphan in Rwanda, lecturing even younger boys on the use of condoms to protect against the disease. He then blows up the condom and turns it into a homemade soccer ball.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

North Korean pride and ‘The Game of Their Lives’ (2002)

Only one week ago, the world watched the Argentina vs France final of WC 2022. For me, the tremendous corruption and the controversies of the World Cup in Qatar overshadowed the football that was meant to be the showcase. But if I could put aside the politics, there were cracking upsets, come from behind wins, and underdog heroics. 

Categories
Cultural Documentary

A last gift from Grant Wahl – ‘Good Rivals’ (2022)

This is a heavy-hearted review. I watched Grant Wahl’s docuseries Good Rivals during the two weeks that the USMNT was playing in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar. I had hoped that Grant would see my review during the WC. But tragically, Grant Wahl suffered a fatal aortic aneursym in the press box of Lusail Stadium, while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match. He died just a few days after celebrating his 49th birthday.

Categories
Documentary

‘The Figo Affair’ (2022) launched Florentino Perez

Hell hath no fury like fans scorned. Over 20 years ago, Barcelona supporters boiled over when Luis Figo betrayed their team and transferred to Real Madrid. With the flair of a thriller, The Figo Affair weaves together the few days over which the deal went down.

Categories
Comedy

Bravo for ‘Las Bravas FC’ (2022)

It’s a shame that shows like Las Bravas F.C. get so little traction and attention in the world of futbol. It’s a cute, entertaining series that abounds with examples and themes of diversity, inclusion, and female footballer role models. Lead actor Mauricio Ochmann is a popular telenovela star with a charisma that echoes Ryan Reynolds and with an unnerving resemblance to Mikel Arteta. But I only came across this enjoyable series while scrolling through HBO Max. So I suggest you watch it while you can.

Categories
Documentary

[Review] ‘Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism and Me’ (2020)

Long ago, in a league far away, John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand. At a time when England’s FA was beginning to crack down on racism in the sport, John Terry became the first footballer to go on trial for directing racial slurs at an opponent during a game. The charges were not brought forward by Anton Ferdinand, but by a QPR fan.

Categories
Comedy Romance

‘Jaadugar’ (2022) is a sweet rom-com sprinkled with football and magic

Credit this film for its high quality and unusual story. Despite a lengthy 2 hours and 47 minutes, I did not check my watch while viewing Jaadugar (जादूगर). The story is well-shot and well-edited, and it deftly weaves together a tale of romantic comedy, football, and magic. In addition, I was entranced by the brilliant smile of its star, Jitendra Kumar, who plays Meenu, an extremely goal-oriented young man whose dreams are tied to the soccer pitch, but not in a way you expect.

Categories
Documentary

Review: ‘Bilardo, the Soccer Doctor’ (2022)

Having reviewed so many Maradona films and series, I was sorely confused when I began to watch the Argentine docuseries Bilardo, el doctor del fútbol.  In all the Maradona shows I’ve seen, coach Carlos Bilardo is portrayed as a very minor but unpleasant character, someone who calls the shots for the Argentina NT but otherwise is buried in the background. So for me, this 4-episode HBOMax docuseries is a soccer revelation that thoroughly describes the man behind Maradona’s success.

Categories
Documentary

Is ‘The Holy Game’ (2021) sportswashing

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.

Categories
Documentary

‘The Rescue’ (2021) may be the best

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.

Categories
Documentary

‘Maradona in Mexico’ (2019) is his saving grace

Amongst many other themes, the Netflix series Maradona in Mexico is about coaching and the power of belief. British Director Angus Macqueen follows Diego Maradona, the players and the staff of Dorados de Sinoloa, a second division club that hopes to be promoted to LigaMX in its 2018-2019 season.

Categories
Comedy

Where have you gone, ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 2 (2021)?

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.

Categories
Kids Suspense

‘Cosmoball’ (2020) is a visual adventure

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.