The Art of Soccer with John Cleese (2006) - The Art of Football from A to Z

Review: The Art of Soccer with John Cleese (2006)

Variously named as the The Art of Soccer with John Cleese or the Art of Football from A to Z, it appears this made for TV film was commissioned by Germany for World Cup 2006. John Cleese pontificates on 26 alphabetical aspects of the game.

I wouldn’t say this movie is hilarious–not in any American sense of the word. Some of the game footage is interesting, especially the Letter N. This TV production has that annoying ET format (Entertainment Tonight) of filming opinions of celebrities unassociated with the game, such as Dennis Hopper, Henry Kissinger, musicians and artists.

I suppose it’s to show how soccer is art. But it would be like watching Rachel Ray expound on soccer as food for the soul. Fortunately the film doesn’t go that far!

The Letters of the Football Alphabet

On the DVD, each alpha-attribute is clickable. Here are the letters:

  • A=Art,
  • B=Biz or Ball (I forget),
  • C=Creativity,
  • D=Defense,
  • E=Economics are Everything,
  • F=Fouls,
  • G=Goal celebration,
  • H=Hollywood (acting/diving),
  • I=Icon worship,
  • J=Journalists,
  • K=Keeper,
  • L=Luck,
  • M=Monty Python,
  • N=No good,
  • O=Offside,
  • P=Playmaker,
  • Q=Quantum Physics,
  • R=Referees,
  • S=Football Supporters,
  • T=Trainer/Coach,
  • U=Urine test,
  • V=Villian/Violent Psychopathic Cheat,
  • W=Women in football,
  • X=Xenophobia,
  • Y=Youth,
  • Z=Zeitgeist

On YouTube, you can watch an excerpt that covers Cleese’s explanation of Offside; it could be useful for a referee class.

Qualifications to be a football pundit

I enjoyed John Cleese’s definition of the 3 criteria to be a football pundit:

  1. you need to have an inexhaustible supply of cliches,
  2. an inability to speak without shouting, and
  3. absolutely no dress sense and an ability to make the word goal last longer than anybody could want it to last.

All the interviews are conducted in the language of the interviewees, which include Kaka, Pele, Ballach, Birgit, Van Nistelroy, Keller, Beckenbauer, etc.

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6