Thursday, August 24, 2006

Real: the Movie

Here are the good parts of this dreadful piece of crap:

First, the theme music: a stirring, martial work, really brilliant as far as fascist theme-songs go, and a good reminder of a big chunk of Real's history, one past which this film noiselessly and not surprisingly glides.

During one of the subplots (there are five, all awful, all involving children from various cultures and how Real enhances their lives), a Japanese boy whose girlfriend is in love with Beckham rides through a Tokyo which has become a surreal Beckham Hell, his rival's face literally everywhere he looks. That's engaging for about seven seconds.

My favorite part is when the players clatter down the stairs to the stadium in that concentrated, pre-game quiet. It's that sound: a whole teamful of cleats on the cement, one of the best sounds in the world. Right up there with howling trains in the night and the first five minutes of "Apocalypse Now".

Then there's watching the ultramacho Roberto Carlos morph into a squirming girly-mon when a nurse takes blood from his arm.

If those bits don't sound amusing to you, then there's no reason at all for you to see this film.

There is footage, but not much. The training parts fall somewhere between music video and soloflex ad. The "climactic" game against Barca is edited to avoid any good look at Barca players, and so it's not really football.

The players speak little. Zidane gets asked why he used his weaker foot to score a particular goal. He looks with disbelief at the interviewer, conjures up his patience, and explains that the way the ball was coming at him, it would not have worked to have used his stronger foot. That's the level of insight this film offers.

Even the extras are nothing. "Player interviews"? Don't be fooled. It's a reporter hijacking the poor fellows after the advance screening. The unlucky ones smile helplessly and lie through their teeth, calling it "good" and "moving". The stoical Zidane slips past, avoiding capture.

In one of the subplots, a Madrid boy finds out his grandfather is the guy who kidnapped Alfredo Di Stefano back in the day. "Your father has never forgiven me for it," he says, as if it's an amusing peccadillo and not a dangerous crime. The boy replies, "My father is hard-hearted like all Barca fans." And, well, who can listen to nonsense like that on a full belly? You want to shake him and say, "Snap out of it, kid! You're headed down a road to ruin."

Oh, hell, I knew it would be a glorified advertisement. I just thought with all that money behind it maybe it would be an enjoyable one. It's not. Even harboring a certain low-simmering romantic frisson for Zidane doesn't make it worthwhile. Steer well clear.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that's rich. Well, the Galacticos can have their plastic-wrapped film, all safe and homogenized for their froth-mouthed fanatics, and I'll stick to watching Barcelona win another La Liga title. Yet another attempt to demonize the spirit of Barca. I mean . . . we demonize them too, but Madrid really are bad. I think they eat babies, as well.

Lisa said...

Yes! I have heard that they do. Naturally, they don't show THAT in the film, either...