Categories
Kids

‘Back of the Net’ (2019) mirrors USWNT values

Created just in time for the 2019 Womens World Cup, Back of the Net embraces many of the same values that propelled the US Womens National Team (USWNT) into the social media stratosphere: embracing diversity, teamwork and a can do spirit. If your child got on the USWNT WWC2019 bandwagon and wants other forms of that messaging, this is the film for her or him. On top of that, Back of the Net is a refreshing creative spin on the classic underdog tale. 

Categories
Cultural Drama

‘Fintar o Destino’ (1998) is a beautiful time capsule

Fintar o Destino (1998) 
aka Dribbling Fate

Fintar o Destino is a strikingly beautiful film, but not at all in a visual sense. Filmed in standard definition, the story immerses you in Cape Verdean village life and the regrets of Mané (Carlos Germano), a frustrated 50 year old former footballer. He didn’t leave the island when he had the chance, and to defy the taunt of a friend, he uses all his savings to try and recoup his dignity.

Categories
Comedy Romance

‘Kicking Out Shoshana’ (2014) is as cute as Some Like it Hot

Kicking Out Shoshana (2014)
aka The Goal

You’re probably too young to have seen Some Like it Hot, an iconic 1959 comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. In defiance of the film industry’s Hays Code, the film flirted with topics of homosexuality and cross-dressing.

Categories
Comedy

‘Comme des Garçons’ (2018) – changing mentality

Comme des Garçons (2018), alternative title Let the Girls Play

Comme des Garçons is the first feature film from Writer-Director Julien Hallard, and it is quite an achievement. Also known as Let the Girls Play, this soccer movie is cute, smart, and well worth watching. While it takes a number of liberties with the true story of the renaissance of women’s football in France, it does so to create a feel-good film with carefully crafted and entertaining contours.

Categories
Suspense

‘Final Score’ (2018) is a rocking good time

Final Score (2018)

When West Ham United decided to demolish its 112 year old Upton Park stadium, maybe you wanted to protest or pronounce good riddance. Instead, Producer Marc Goldberg conceptualized “Diehard in a football stadium”. The Brothers Lynch quickly put together a script, and in Feb-2016, Scott Mann signed up to direct a movie that had to be shot within 6 months, before the stadium went to pieces.

Categories
Kids

‘Alex & Me’ (2018) is a quality movie with good role models

Alex & Me (2018)

Even if you are like me and have watched over 250 soccer movies, Alex & Me provides an enjoyable fresh take on the underdog theme. Despite going straight to DVD, it is an inspiring family-friendly film that is well worth watching by pre-teen girls as well as their parents.

Categories
Documentary

‘Barça Dreams’ (2015) – the FCB brand begins at home

Barça Dreams (2015)

FC Barcelona is “Més que un Club” – More than a Club. And if you had any doubt, you should watch the documentary Barça Dreams. At 2 hours, this is probably the longest soccer documentary I’ve ever seen. Writer-Director Jordi Llompart covers the club’s history and culture, which has fermented and evolved since 1899. There is a lot of ground to cover, and it goes way beyond the pitch at Camp Nou, their fútbol stadium.

Categories
Cultural Drama

‘Takim’ (2015): A Film to Smile About

Takim: Mahalle Aşkina!

Writer-Director Emre Sahin and his successful production company Karga7 like to draw stories and real topics from the real world.

Categories
Documentary

‘Coach Jake’ (2017) pays it forward

With his bald head and authoritative, gnarly New York accent, I sometimes thought I was watching former US soccer coach Bob Bradley. But no, Coach Jake is about Martin Jacobson, an American high school soccer coach who is, in many ways, much more successful.

Categories
Comedy

‘L’arbitro’ (2013) is absurbly fresh but also confusing

L'arbitro (2013)
The Referee

It’s such a terrible shame that it took 5 years for a movie like this to become widely available to the American audience. Paolo Zucca’s Italian football film L’arbitro is absurdly fresh and funny, while also being odd and confusing.

Categories
Documentary

‘Becoming Zlatan’ (2015)? Always Zlatan

Becoming Zlatan (2015)

I don’t normally review biographical documentaries, because they tend to be marketing vehicles more than, well, documentaries. Becoming Zlatan (Den unge Zlatan) is an exception and worth your time if you are a fan of Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Categories
Documentary Short

‘Futbolistas 4 Life’ (2018) is a playbook of resilience

Futbolistas 4 Life (2018)

You might summarize Futbolistas 4 Life as an inspirational example of resilience. But you’d be selling it short. You would miss the fact that bringing this engaging short documentary to theaters required the right stuff in every essence of its being.

The story about immigrant and undocumented students in Oakland, who forge a life through soccer, stirs empathy and action. But the journeys and circumstances behind this film should also be appreciated.

Categories
Documentary

‘American Fútbol’ (2018) – what a way to go to a World Cup

American Fútbol (2018)

American Fútbol is like a playful combination of Anthony Bourdain style and Pelada, sampling the food, absorbing a little culture and history, and playing pickup soccer with fans in 8 countries. In 2014, two young men, Directors Peter Karl and Sam Mathius, set out to cover the fan experience from Mexico to WC 2014 in Brazil—7,000 miles by way of Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Categories
Documentary

Setenta y Sete (2017): a fine piece of reporting

E60 logo

Setenta y Sete is an ESPN TV documentary on the Nov-2016 plane crash that killed 71 of 77 passengers and staff traveling with the Brazilian Chapecoense team to Medellin, Colombia. The E:60 segment was originally broadcast in Jun-2017, but it was slightly updated and re-broadcast during WC 2018. I assume the update was meant to coincide with the Fox Sports release of Nossa Chape, directed by the Zimbalist brothers.

Categories
Documentary

Brave souls unite behind football in ‘Istanbul United’ (2014)

Istanbul United (2014)

No words can adequately describe the courage and madness in fighting a government’s violence against its people. To understand this, you must watch it unfold. See how football fans influenced the 2013 Gezi protest in Turkey.