Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Fever & Soccer Movies

Today begins one of the biggest sporting events in the world: the FIFA World Cup. Arguably bigger than the Olympics, certainly larger than SuperBowl, the Jules Rimet trophy is football's crowning tournament. (Note for Americans, this is soccer, not American Football).

For the next four weeks most of the world, me included, will be living and breathing World Cup soccer. I am rearranging my work and sleep schedules to watch as many games as possible. This might mean a slow-down in movie intake, and a decrease in number of reviews this month. But it is all worthwhile.

Meanwhile, to get into the spirit of the season, here is a short-list of the best football movies I have seen, in no particular order:

  • Shaolin Soccer (2001)-- a Chinese comedy that is hilarious at times

  • Bend it like Beckham (2002) -- the film that introduced us to Kiera Knightley, with barely a shot of the great David Beckham. A fun movie to rediscover the joy of various British accents

  • Bella (2006)-- not a soccer movie really, but one of the main characters was a star soccer player

  • Goal! The Dream Begins (2005) -- rags-to-riches story of a player making it in the English league for Newcastle United

  • Kicking and Screaming (2005) -- Wil Ferrell comedy about children's recreational soccer (if that is not an oxymoron with such competitive parents)

  • Gracie (2007)-- true story of a girl (real-life actress Elisabeth Shue) breaking into a boys' soccer team

  • Those Glory, Glory Days (1983) -- one of my favorites, not so much a soccer story as a fan's story. It is dear to my heart for two reasons: 1) this deals with the glory days of the Spurs' Double season of 1960-61, and I am a die-hard Tottenham fan; and 2) the accents are pure joy, reminding me of my early childhood.

  • Joyeaux Noel (2005)-- again, not a true soccer story, but soccer features prominently in this WW1 tale based on the real-life events of a Christmas soccer game when the trench war stopped for 24 hours.
Finally, here are two more movies, that escaped my viewing, to round out to ten. They might be worth taking a look:

  • Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006) -- who can forget the "head-butt of the 2006 World Cup.

  • The Damned United (2009)-- movie about the Leeds United soccer coach
My guess is that if you are not a big soccer fan, the World Cup will mean little to you. And then neither will most of these films. But what the heck, it only comes around every four years. It's time to set life on hold and soak in the sights and sounds of South Africa.

With dual citizenship, my allegiances are somewhat torn. But I have to go with my football heritage. Here's rooting on the English (first, the Americans second)!

What other favorite soccer films would you add to this list? Add a comment letting me know what they are.

No comments:

Post a Comment