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.


Is biopic ‘For the Glory’ (2012) more fiction than fact?

I have mixed feelings about the faith-based film For the Glory. Realtors Chris and Katherine Craddock wrote this screenplay about their fellow church member Kurt Kuykendall. His faith helped him overcome a privileged but difficult upbringing.

Documentary Short

‘The Prize’ (2014) teaches how religion can help athletes

Video evangelism is a soccer movie genre I haven’t reviewed until now. I was contacted by filmmaker Shawn Keith, who created The Prize: Under Pressure for sports chaplains. His 26-minute piece is well-done, interspersing World Cup footage with testimonials by international players. The most well-known of these is Kaká, and Americans will all recognize USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The message of the film is that embracing Jesus helps players deal with the pressure of performing at the highest level.


‘On Angel’s Wings’ (2014) is too much of a fairytale

On Angel’s Wings is a faith-based family film meant to provide positive African-American role models on the UPTV network. Unfortunately, Writer-Director Aaron Williams stitches together so many model caricatures, he omits telling a story that makes sense.

Comedy Drama Kids

Hard to stay awake through ‘My Dad’s a Soccer Mom’ (2014)

My Dad’s a Soccer Mom plays to a stereotype of loud-mouth narcissistic Black professional athletes. When Lester Speight is the star, it’s hard to tell any other story. An NFL linebacker whose contract is not renewed, he ends up playing stay-at-home Dad to his 10 year old daughter.

Cultural Documentary

The FA’s Christian roots in ‘Thank God for Football!’ (2013)

A strong Christian and avid researcher, Peter Lupson published his book Thank God for Football! in 2006. A few years later, he ran into an executive of the Christian Television Association. That heaven-sent meeting resulted in a documentary of the 12 past and present EPL teams that were founded by churches.

Comedy Cultural

Young monks get to watch ‘The Cup’ (1999)

You don’t expect much to happen in a Buddhist monastery. So it is not surprising that Phörpa (The Cup) is very slow paced. A spirited young soccer-obsessed monk defies the monastery’s way of life in order to watch World Cup 1998. But the abbot, although he does not understand why men fight over a ball for a cup, eventually accepts that Buddhism can coexist with football, and the boys scramble for the funds to rent a satellite dish and TV before the final.