Goal II: Living the Dream

For the past decade or so, sports movies have pretty much been relegated to the touchy-feeling Disney variety.? They have a very specific formula and often times they’re not bad, it’s just there’s something saccharin about them.? It’s like watching one constant rip off of Hosiers after another.? The best example of this is Miracle; how do you sort of screw up one of the greatest sports stories ever?? You know?? The movies okay, but it wasn’t great.? And when it comes to sports movies I want greatness.

The rare exception was a little seen movie called Goal: The Dream Begins. It’s about a kid from Los Angeles, Santiago Munoz, the son of a Mexican immigrant, who gets the chance to play soccer for Newcastle United.? It bucked convention because the character that would normally be his “antagonist” actually became his mentor in the movie and the entire story was about Santiago working hard and trying to make the most of his opportunity.? It worked because it wasn’t played as one of those underdog-overcomes-all-odds-to-win-when-noone-thought-otherwise sports porn flicks that Disney purveys in.

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned they turned it into a planned trilogy and actually went ahead and made part II.? This time Santiago (Kuno Becker) gets transferred to Real Madrid to play with Becks and soak up the big time, which of course strains his relationship with his special lady friend (the irrepressibly cute Anna Friel).? If the movie keeps the smarts and reality of the first movie we’ll be in good hands.? If you’re looking for a decent sports flick then rent the first one and catch the second one when it rolls into theaters on Aug. 29.

Also, it should be noted that I’m not a huge football soccer fan and I enjoyed the hell out of the first movie. Though I can imagine it’s possible an actual soccer fan might find it hokey or the action scenes on the pitch unrealistic.

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