The World Cup can cause a lot of conflict: countries from all over are battling it out to see who reigns supreme as the soccer champion of the whole planet. Feelings are running high, battle lines are being drawn, and everyone has their opinions about who is the best of the best.
And all that emotion has found a new outlet. Now, people are debating what the best movie about soccer is, because we don’t have enough to fight about. It all started with an article from Broadly, titled, “‘She’s the Man’ Is the Most Important Soccer Movie of All Time.”
In it, writer Noa Azulai says the 2006 film starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum offers everything you could want in a family-friendly movie about the greatest ball-kicking sport in the world. Her reasoning is sound. As a kid, Azulai was the only girl on her soccer team, and Bynes’ character in the movie pretends to be a boy so she can play soccer on the only team at her school. It was meaningful for her to see that as a young person.
She also suggests that the film dives into gender theory on a deeper level than most would ascribe to it… But sure, that, too.
Granted, most people on Twitter are not taking the deep-dive. They’re seeing the headline and have an immediate bone to pick with Azulai’s point.
Bend It Like Beckham is another sports classic. In the film, a young girl is forbidden from playing soccer (fine, football) by her British-Indian parents, but joins the league anyway. She’s just too good to be held back from her dream. They eventually come around and everyone (me) has a good cry about parental love.
If it were up to me, we’d stop there. Bend It Like Beckham is the most important soccer movie of all time, imho. But there are a lot of soccer movies, folks.
Green Street Hooligans is the perfect soccer movie to watch if you actually don’t want to see any soccer and do want to see handsome white men hit each other. Apparently, a lot of people do, because it has several sequels.
How about Gracie?
This is another movie about how hard it is to break into soccer as a woman, or how hard it once was, anyway. The film takes place in 1978 and follows a girl named Gracie who becomes the first girl on the boy’s varsity team. It’s somewhat based on the experience of producer and actress Elisabeth Shue. It’s sort of like She’s The Man, but without the drag.
Or a movie that gets right to the point: GOAL!.
This sports drama actually has the support of FIFA, so real soccer players and teams appear throughout the film and its many sequels. So, it’s very real, but also probably borderline an ad. If you’re a passionate fan of the GOAL! series, you’re probably already brainwashed, so no harm.
Let’s not forget Shaolin Soccer, which gives us almost everything above, plus a little magical realism.
And there are still more. Many, many more.
It’s almost like the world is obsessed with soccer, or something.