Categories
Documentary

‘AFC Bournemouth: Together, Anything is Possible’ (2015)

NBCSN logo

Roger Bennett, the wisecracking word-swilling nipple-tugging right half of Men in Blazers, created this stirring tale of AFC Bournemouth, known as the Cherries. He turns up the drama as AFCB rises from the pit of two successive bankruptcies and near relegation to the EPL in just 7 seasons.

Categories
Kids

Imaginative combo of parkour + soccer in ‘Teufelskicker’ (2010)

Teufelskickers (2010)

Teufelskicker is a kick of a football film. It is a well-crafted movie based on the eponymous German children’s books by Frauke Nahrgang.

Discovering Coach Dad to be unfaithful, Moritz and his mom move in with Grandpa. In an unfriendly new school, Moritz is bullied by the local club team. He has to find new friends and build his own team, which they name Teufelskicker (Devil’s Kickers).

Categories
Documentary Short

‘The Opposition’ (2014) – Chile’s national stadium used for torture

ESPN 30 for 30: The Opposition (2014)

I watched The Opposition last year but didn’t write about it because the film was so disturbing. This ESPN 30 for 30 TV episode documents how General Pinochet’s junta tortured and killed dissidents. They used the Chilean national stadium as a prison while the team prepared to qualify for WC 1974.

Categories
Drama Kids

In ‘Will’ (2011) a child learns you never walk alone

Will (2011)

Within the short list of soccer films directed by women, there is a surprising number of Americans who have directed ostensibly British films. Will is just such a case. Americans Ellen Perry (Director) and Zack Anderson (Writer) have created a family film drama around Liverpool FC.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

‘The Two Escobars’ (2010) explains narco-fútbol

ESPN 30 for 30 logo - The Two Escobars (2010)

For its 30th anniversary, ESPN commissioned 30 respected filmmakers to produce 30 documentaries on the impact of sports on society. 30 for 30: The Two Escobars is the fascinating story of player Andrés Escobar and druglord Pablo Escobar.

Andrés Escobar, captain of the Colombian national team, gave up the own goal against the USA in the 1994 World Cup and was shot to death 10 days later in his hometown.

Categories
Drama

The rise and fall of Brian Clough in ‘The Damned United’ (2009)

The Damned United (2009)

When watching The Damned United, besides Sheen’s performance, I wondered why is this soccer movie so good? Well, it turns out that this BBC film has quite a pedigree behind it: Director Peter Hooper made The King’s Speech. And screenwriter Peter Morgan wrote The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, and Frost/Nixon. Hooper, Morgan, and Sheen all excel at brilliant strong character dramas.

Categories
Kids

Amanda Bynes sparkles in ‘She’s the Man’ (2006)

She's the Man (2006)

She’s the Man is a clever adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a story of mistaken identity and cross-dressing, played on a high school soccer field. Amanda Bynes sparkles as Viola, a girl masquerading as her brother Sebastian in order to play on the boys team (under coach Vinnie Jones).

Categories
Documentary

The 99ers and their ‘Dare to Dream’ (2005)

Dare to Dream (2005)

The HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the US Womens Soccer Team faithfully captures the build up and heartbreak that is US Soccer’s Womens National Team (USWNT). If you are a fan, you need to watch this film. If you watched it when it first came out in 2005 (like I did), you need to watch it again.

Categories
Drama

‘Goal! The Dream Begins’ (2005) soccer movie with a decent budget

Goal!: The Dream Begins (2005)

First conceived in 2000, the trilogy Goal! was dropped and then restarted production after WC 2002. This first Goal movie was made by 3 Brits in Hollywood who love soccer, and therefore, they try to portray the game realistically and honestly.

Categories
Comedy Romance

Ideal soccer date movie: ‘Romeo and Juliet get Married’ (2005)

Romeo and Juliet get Married (2005)

A few years after making Bossa Nova, Bruno Barreto directed this Brazilian comedy, O Casamento de Romeu e Julieta, which is another, even better, soccer date movie.

Categories
Comedy

Mystical and omnipotent ‘Shaolin Soccer’ (2001)

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

After watching a slew of soccer movies, I reopened my Shaolin Soccer DVD. I liked it 10 years ago, but now I recognize how inventive the movie is. A group of penniless former Shaolin monks rekindle their love of kung fu by applying it to soccer.

Categories
Documentary

Guy Oliver covers ‘History of Soccer’ (2001) up to the year 2000

History of Soccer 7-DVD Set (2001) slipcase

The History of Soccer is a terrific compilation of facts and videos. I originally got the first disk from Netflix, and then I found the whole 7-disk set at my library. I’ve often felt clueless when soccer commentator Christopher Sullivan rhapsodized about some historical player during a game, e.g. comparing someone to a Garrincha or a Di Stefano. So now I finally understand the meaning of those names and what they accomplished.

Categories
Comedy

‘Mean Machine’ (2001) soccer’s version of ‘The Longest Yard’

Mean Machine (2001)

Burt Reynolds’ The Longest Yard is one of my favorite movies, and Mean Machine is almost as good. This British soccer version, starring former EPL player Vinnie Jones, stays pretty close to the original story.