Saturday, October 8, 2011

Own goal

Bad movie bingo has branched off, and this branch line follows Gerard Butler and curiously enough leads us back to Patrick Stewart. This is The Game of Their Lives a sports biopic about the 1950 USA world cup football team, or soccer as they call it in the film. That's the team that famously, or infamously, beat England 1-0 in the group stages. It was the only match they won but it shook things up a bit as England weren't supposed to get beaten in those days. These days, well we even struggle to overcome the mighty Montenegro (population 600,000 for anyone who's counting).

So we get lots of unknown young actors with brutal haircuts playing keen american soccer players who can't get on with each other, and then they do get on just in time for Gimli the Dwarf, sorry John Rhys Davies, to coach them into giant slayers, while Patrick Stewart reports the whole thing to an uncaring american public. And all set to that oodly-noodly clarinet music that composers seem to reach for whenever a film looks back at some days-gone-by vision of America.

Gerard Butler, who as a Scot must have loved sticking it to the auld enemy, trots out his american accent as the goalie. This was before his mega success in 300 and that DVD cover rather bigs up his role in this movie. He doesn't look like that at any point during the film. And the England flag is another red herring, the three lions are only in this film as the big baddies, captained by Gavin Rossdale as it happens.

Has a football film ever worked? It's easier to think of a good rugby movie than one about the beautiful game. The best I can think of is Bend it like Beckham and you could argue that's not really about football at all. And no, I haven't forgotten Escape to Victory, I'm just trying to.

Anyway, this isn't a bad film, it's just a terminally dull one. Mr Brosnan in Death Train still leads the pack by a long way. Better accents (just), more explosions, and a train!

1 out of 5 Joe Bob stars. Next up, the mark of the wolf!

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