Monday, September 25, 2006

apm goes to the movies

On the heels of our recent thwarted attempt to view Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos in the theatre, a pretty move convened at not-so-secret-headquarters last Wednesday night to watch its broadcast on ESPN2. This is a solid, entertaining look at the rise and fall--and implicitly, the rise again, because these are the times that laid the popularity for the rise of US soccer today--of the Cosmos and the NASL. The film opens with narrator Matt Dillon (?) reminding us that in the 1960s no one in the US played soccer, or even knew what it was save for recent immigrants. Cue a collective gasp of horror from all three of us. And then the NASL, and the New York Cosmos, were born.

Imagine such a superstar lineup playing in the US today: Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff. Giorgio Chanaglia comes off as a complete wanker and Shep Messing like a guy you really want to throw back a few drinks with while you talk about the old days.

Something else I liked: at the beginning, a journalist whose name I've forgotten was discussing why it's difficult for American sports fans to make the switch to watching soccer. We are raised on American sports, with their endless delays and timeouts, and she likens soccer to a play. You watch for 45 minutes, you have an intermission during which you discuss what's happened so far, and then you watch the second part.

Last night I finally saw Goal! The Dream Begins, already reviewed by Lisa on its theatrical release back in May. I'll just add that I am torn between establishing my film street cred* by pointing out that heartwarming is generally not the kind of adjective I'm looking for in my moviegoing experiences--I am more of a Wild Bunch than, say, a James L. Brooks kind of girl (although I actually do find The Wild Bunch heartwarming in a twisted way, but that's a subject for a nonexistent blog)--and feeling that establishing one's film credentials around Goal! is kind of like pushing a twelve-year-old down the stairs to show what a badass you are. I mean, of course it's a fairy tale: kid goes from illegal immigrant kicking a ball around the barrios of LA to starting for Newcastle United in a matter of months. So sit down, smartypants. We all know this isn't Raging Bull.

Anyway, this film is everything Lisa said it was, but, as she pointed out, it's still engaging. It's chock full of footie cameos, and really, who doesn't want to be Santiago, racing out onto the pitch while thousands of fans scream your name?

*note: I haven't got any

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