I am mystified that the Spanish media was mostly critical of Que baje Dios y lo vea (Holy Goalie), faulting it as clichéd and unimaginative, with actors in roles not much different from what they portray on popular TV shows. One writer even complained that there were too many jokes. Does Spain have the best television comedy in the world, so that this film pales in comparison?
As sports fans, we should all thank Director Benjamin Best for his investigative journalism. We like to think that the games on which we spend so much time, money, and emotion, are equally true to us, the fans and supporters.
A comedy about streaking sounds like a joke that would run out of steam fast. When introducing Flitzer (aka Streaker) at the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco, the announcer acknowledged the Swiss stereotype of being so serious all the time. He then proceeded to tell the one Swiss joke that exists, which I didn’t get. And then he closed by asking us to enjoy the film despite all the nudity. Talk about setting low expectations…
If they give an Oscar for brilliant documentary made under incredible time pressure, Save the Crew: The Fans vs the System wins hands down. It starts with the first #SaveTheCrew rally:
Morgan Hughes: “This is not over! If you came here for a funeral, you’re in the wrong place!”
Crowd chants: “We’re not done yet! We’re not done yet!”
In Turkey, Supporters Groups are the real fans, and everyone else is just a spectator. Filmmakers Naz Gündogdu and Friedemann Pitschak have documented a life that Americans have not yet experienced: being a fan in the face of political oppression.
Add La Dream Team to the list of really good soccer movies that have sprung forth for our viewing pleasure in the past few years. Réalisateur Thomas Sorriaux accomplishes what American directors seldom do: work comedy into a family film that appeals to both kids and adults.
How good is Trainer? It’s so good, you will never want to become a soccer coach in Germany. Director Aljoscha Pause follows 3 coaches in the 2nd and 3rd divisions of the German leagues during the 2012-2013 season. The men are under constant pressure from the media. But they are also constantly pushing themselves to excel and to someday reach the Bundesliga.
Das Wunder von Bern is one of the top soccer movie money-makers. It portrays the WC 1954 final, known as the Miracle of Bern, from the standpoint of a struggling mining town post-Hitler. A German POW returns from 11 years in the Soviet Gulag to a young son he didn’t know existed, and to a family that has grown up in his absence. The young boy is a talisman for local striker Helmut Rahn, who is called up to play for Germany but has trouble getting playing time.
Intelligent and brilliantly stupid, Steve Barron’s mockumentary, Mike Bassett: England Manager, is one of the most successful soccer movies, scoring over $23M at the box office*. Second division manager Bassett tries to lead England through 3 qualifiers for Brazil and World Cup 17 (analogous to WC 2002). In a comic tone similar to This is Spinal Tap and Monty Python, Bassett’s management and team are beset with problems that are ridiculously scripted and yet realistically portrayed.
The Class of ’92 started when Gary Neville got his old teammates to agree to make a film about their “Class of ’92”, Alex Ferguson’s young guns who went from youth academy to winning the treble in 1999 (FA Cup, EPL, and Champions League).
Directors and brothers Gabe and Benjamin Turner, owners of production company Fulwell 73, assembled the best integration of soccer player interviews and past game footage that I have seen. They get the players to open up individually and put them together for one day of camaraderie.
Don’t be put off by the opening scene of Looking for Eric, where Eric the postman tries to kill himself by driving on the wrong side of a roundabout. Stay for the ride, because this movie is a comedy-drama with an outrageous feel-good ending.
After suffering the mindless violence of The Football Factory, I was reluctant to watch Green Street Hooligans. But what a surprise– Hooligans completely sucks you in.