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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.