Monday, March 23, 2009

Goal II: Living the Dream

I spent roughly two hours watching Goal II: Living the Dream on Netflix last night and normally I'd be bitching about how I'm never going to get that hour and fifty-six minutes back, when I could have been sleeping.

Although I have to say, as shit as the movie may be, I love the game enough to watch every minute, from the ridiculous cut and paste La Liga and Champions League play to the difficulties of being an up-and-coming star for the legendary Real Madrid.

I think it was perhaps the third shot of David Beckham's tattooed back or maybe the ridiculous predictability of the plot that sort of ruined it for me. Ever watch a movie and kind of enjoy it, but feel ashamed? Sure you do. We've all hooked up with people in our past that are like motor scooters: they're a lot of fun until your friends see you riding them.

And Goal II definitely falls into that category. It's cheesy. Calling it contrived may be an understatement, but I have to hand it to the producers and directors, as they understand how to tap into the fervor of soccer fans. As bad as this movie is, it's worth watching for panoramic views of Madrid and the Santiago Bernabeau, for the footage from actual matches, and for a slight glimpse into the backrooms that dictate the course of the world game.

Then you realize that Rutger Hauer is playing a Dutch coach managing los Merengues. Forget that he doesn't even try to take a stab at an accent from Holland, or that every single character is a caricature, from groupies to agents, to nasty photogs who harass the protagonist.

For a fan, all it takes is a soccer legend feebly trying to deliver a line or two and it's worth watching. Perhaps the worst aspect is the ridiculous wordless smiles the big names have plastered on their faces as they play keepy-uppy and go through training drills. The protagonist, Kuno Becker, even takes some time to play a little sandlot soccer with his newly-discovered half-brother and his urchin friends.

Message received: despite all the money and problems and pressure, the game is what these guys are here for, and even though they may drive Lamborghinis and wear watches the size of Rhode Island, it's all about the childlike love and joy of the game.

I think I just hurt myself rolling my eyes so hard.

The flaws of Goal II are too numerous to list here, but if you enjoy watching the game and appreciate the pomp and drama of soccer at the highest level, it's worth losing a few hours of sleep.

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