In this charming documentary, community organizer and radio show presenter Beka Ntsanwisi explains how and why she started Vakhegula Vakhegula, a soccer club for grannies in the region of Limpopo, South Africa. Suffering from chronic diseases or traumas, these Vakhegula (grannies, also called gogos) found football made them healthier and lifted their focus away from pain.Continue reading “‘Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa’ (2016)”
In France, Footeuses is what female footballers call themselves, the feminine form of Footballeur. Until recently, to be a female footballer was largely an oxymoron: to be female and a football player was not accepted. This changed with the Womens World Cup 2019 in France and the hope that the hosting country’s women would repeat the French mens’ success at WC 2018.Continue reading “‘Footeuses’ (2020) add women and football to your lexicon”
A period drama about football is unique. A well-crafted tale in this time of pestilence is a joy and a comfort. The English Game, how football became the people’s game, is elegant soap opera and luscious escapism to a simpler time. Three nights in a row, to close out my shelter-in-place day, I self-administered dollops of this Netflix TV series and then slept deeply, sans souci.Continue reading “Why I loved ‘The English Game’ (2020)”
I almost passed up watching The 99ers on my ESPN+ subscription, because I thought I had already ‘seen it all’ about the 1999 USWNT. But what a mistake if you miss watching this episode of the espnW Nine for IX series. IX in this case refers to Title IX, which required that colleges provide equal funding for womens and mens sports.Continue reading “‘The 99ers’ (2013) a unique insider view of 1999 USWNT”
Sometimes a drama can reveal more about society’s problems than can a documentary. From its Amazon Prime description, it might not catch your eye that, unlike all the other movies on this topic, Boisko Bezdomnych is a dramatic feature film. The idea for the film arose from a Polish team going to the Homeless World Cup.Continue reading “‘Boisko Bezdomnych’ (2008): a fictional tale of a homeless World Cup team”
Behind the benign title of Lost in Africa is a thriller that embodies every mother’s worst nightmare: her child vanishes. It’s not really a soccer movie as much as it is a reflection of the hard and dangerous life in Kiera, a Kenyan shanty town.Continue reading “‘Lost in Africa’ (2010) doesn’t flinch”
A light-hearted pleasant comedy Britt-Marie was Here (Britt-Marie var här) is the tale of a 63 year old homemaker who has dedicated her life to being dutiful — cleaning, tidying, and completing to do lists that keep her house ultra organized. To her, baking soda solves all problems. The one problem it can’t solve is when she comes face-to-face with her stricken husband’s mistress at the side of his hospital bed.Continue reading “Like baking soda, ‘Britt-Marie was Here’ (2019) solves problems”
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.Continue reading “‘Back of the Net’ (2019) mirrors USWNT values”
As told to Director Maya Zinshtein, what goes on in a stadium is not just a mirror of society, but indicates the direction society is going.
Forever Pure is a uniquely panoptic film of soccer and society. We see that football clubs can be a toy for oligarchs, a tool for politicians, a burning torch for militant supporters groups, a trauma for its players and staff, and a testament that the good guys don’t always win.Continue reading “In ‘Forever Pure’ (2016) it hurts to watch the bad guys win”
Many of the best soccer movies have been directed by women. Unfortunately, When Saturday Comes does not earn that distinction. Sean Bean plays young brewery worker Jimmy Muir, who gets the chance to tryout for his home team, Sheffield United.
But Jimmy sabotages himself with his own fear, drink, and lack of self-discipline, along with a multitude of challenges from family and friends.Continue reading “‘When Saturday Comes’ (1996) surprisingly directed by a woman”
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.Continue reading “In ‘Will’ (2011) a child learns you never walk alone”
The title Bad Parents is a clue that this indie film is in the Bad Grandpa, Bad Teacher, Bad Santa genre. But it is more than that because up until the 58th minute, this indie film rings roguishly true.
I witnessed these situations myself as a soccer mom, although this movie takes sports parenting to a black comedic extreme.Continue reading “‘Bad Parents’ (2012) roguishly true before it goes dark”
Kicking It is a Ted Leonsis production that tries to influence you to do good while whisking you away in a good story. It is “filmanthropy”, according to Leonsis, a billionaire sports team owner, philanthropist, former AOL executive, and media maven.
Leonsis spotted Director Susan Koch $1 million so that she could follow players in 7 teams at the 2006 Homeless World Cup in South Africa.Continue reading “‘Kicking It’ (2008) an entertaining film that matters”
This documentary follows a pair of collegiate players who, unable to make a pro soccer team, channel their competitive-soccer addiction by traveling the world looking for Pelada — not a drug, but a Brazilian word for pick-up game.Continue reading “Traveling the world to play pickup ‘Pelada’ (2010)”
Bend It Like Beckham proves that when a story is close to the heart, it can make an outstanding soccer movie and family film. At $78M, BILB is probably the top-grossing soccer movie of all time (made for ~$7M).Continue reading “‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002) tops soccer movie box office”