I decided to have a football night, watching 2 recent football themed films. First, Green Street Hooligans, the gritty realistic modern classic starring Frodo Baggins as an American who comes to England and joins the West Ham “firm” of football hooligans. Right. A couple of things wrong with that last sentence; I’ve watched hundreds of films, I have readily believed that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Mark Hamill could act. I have watched, spittle mouthed, as Rocky beats Mr.T (bad example as Lt. Barkley regularly knocked out Mr. T with a glass of milk, but I press on regardless). I have even believed that Battlefield Earth was an actual film, but Hollywood has pushed me too far this time.
They want me to believe that was a cockney accent Charlie Hunnam had in this film? Mother of god… Think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins trying to impersonate a Eskimo and your nowhere near how bad his accent is. It’s a damn shame, it completely detracts from what otherwise was a decent film.
The basis of the story is actually not very far from a real modern classic, Fight Club and examines the thrill of the fight and honor amongst thieves. Sure, it’s predictable, you know in the first 2 minutes what’s going to happen in the last 2 minutes and it feels tacked on, but the middle bit is enthralling.
But, if you want to talk about predictability, let’s have a butchers at the second film Goal! The Dream Begins. It seems America is pulling out all the stops to try and get the massive cash cow that is professional football a foothold in the States. They tried Prime Time TV, they have tried introducing it into the college curriculum, with little success.
Bring on the Hollywood.
I am not going to insult your intelligence here. A poor Mexican illegal immigrant boy with asthma from L.A. with football talent has a shot at the big time, with a chance to play for Newcastle United (any cracks about big time and Newcastle being in the same sentence will be duly ignored). You can fill in the rest. You seriously can. Think of any cheesy rags to riches cliche you want, I can virtually guarantee it’s in there somewhere.
I can see the planning meeting for this film.
Director: It’s a story about an All American who becomes a soccer star.
Studio Mogul: Yeah, you know we kinda tried this years ago with Stallone, he played a, what they call them, Goal saver? In that war film, Bridge over River Kwon? Whatever, anyway it did nothing for soccer.
Studio Mogul: Why? I don’t know why, probably because Steve Mcqueen didn’t make the jump.
Director: It was the Escape to Victory, McQueen was in The Great…
Studio Mogul: Shut-up. Look we are looking for a film about football that appeals to the mass market, all American boys? Nobody likes them, We need to decrease his image.
Director: OK how about a poor American boy?
Studio Mogul: Good good, Okay I think we need to increase his ethnicity 30%.
Director: Alright, how about a poor Mexican immigrant American boy?
Studio Mogul: We’re on the same the wave length here, make him an Illegal immigrant.
Studio Mogul: There’s still something missing, we are not appealing to the differently abled market, the statistics show those cripples make up 10% of our audience, that’s big bucks, you think we could make him an amputee?
Director: Um, probably not, how about we give him asthma?
Studio Mogul: Perfect. OKay, Adidas wants him to kick the winning goal in the last minute of the game of the last game of the season that will win them the world series.
Director: It’s set in England, in the domestic league, they only play teams that play England, not the rest of the world.
Studio Mogul: Your point?
Director: Can’t we stick with the original plot were the bloke who plays the new Umpa Lumpas is now the leading hard man of Milwall’s firm, storms the pitch and breaks the stars legs? Nobody is going to believe that he kicks the winning goal in the last minute of the game of the last game of the season that wins that wins them the world, I mean takes them to Europe? It’s Newcastle for Chrissakes!
Studio Mogul: You’ve seen Rocky? Now get on with it!
Anyway, all that said, its chock block full of cameos. The matches are shot well and I ended up punching the air when he, oh wait, I’m not going to spoil the twist at the end.
I enjoyed both of these films and recommend you to see Sin City at your earliest convenience.