Categories
Documentary Short

‘Futbolistas 4 Life’ (2018) a playbook of resilience

You might summarize Futbolistas 4 Life as an inspirational example of resilience. But you’d be selling it short. You would miss the fact that bringing this engaging short documentary to theaters required the right stuff in every essence of its being.

The story about immigrant and undocumented students in Oakland, who forge a life through soccer, stirs empathy and action. But the journeys and circumstances behind this film should also be appreciated.

Categories
Documentary

’17’ (2017) is the Jordan we are meant to see

I viewed the documentary 17 at the 2017 Arab Film Festival in San Francisco. The purpose of the festival, now in its 21st year, is to challenge the Arab stereotypes that have been promulgated in American culture. The festival films “reflect the varied realities of Arab lives around the world.”

Categories
Cultural Documentary

The bad guys win in ‘Forever Pure’ (2016)

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.

Categories
Drama

‘When Saturday Comes’ (1996) surprisingly directed by a woman

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.

Categories
Drama Kids

In ‘Will’ (2011) a child never walks alone

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
Comedy

‘Bad Parents’ (2012) roguishly true before it goes dark

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.

Categories
Documentary

‘Kicking It’ (2008) an entertaining film that matters

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.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

Traveling the world to play pickup ‘Pelada’ (2010)

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.

Categories
Cultural Romance

‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002) tops soccer movie box office

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).

Categories
Drama

I liked ‘Green Street Hooligans’ (2005) even if Brits did not

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.

Categories
Cultural Documentary

Football trafficking in ‘Soccer’s Lost Boys’ (2010)

Soccer’s Lost Boys is an evocative documentary about soccer trafficking in Africa. Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller interviews players, parents, and coaches to show how West African families hand over life savings to agents who promise a tryout in Europe.

Categories
Comedy Drama Romance

‘Johan’ (2005) finds love despite 10 footballing brothers

Johan is a very enjoyable dramedy/romance that, in a gentle way, shows that soccer is just a game, even in the Netherlands. The youngest in a family of 11 soccer-obsessed Dutch boys and their father, Johan doesn’t fit in because his obsession is music.

Categories
Documentary Kids Short

‘Kick Like a Girl’ (2008) is full of positive role models

Kick Like a Girl is a 25-minute HBO documentary that follows a team of 8 year old girls who, having devastated all competition the previous two years, decide to get more challenge by playing in the boys division.

Categories
Documentary

Challenges of the Palestine NT in ‘Goal Dreams’ (2006)

Goal Dreams follows the Palestinian National Team in the month leading up to their all-important World Cup 2006 qualifying game against Uzbekistan. The team has many problems to overcome.

They must practice in Egypt and play their game in Qatar, in an empty stadium. Six players cannot exit Gaza until 2 weeks before the game, so at times the early practices only have 5-9 players.

Categories
Kids

‘The Big Green’ (1995) a timeless Disney soccer movie

The Big Green is a formulaic Disney movie about an underdog soccer team. Disney knows how to create a film that doesn’t age and that can be shown to successive generations of little kids for decades. The Big Green is the Disney equivalent of a Twinkie.