Kickin’ It!

First, let me congratulate the Spanish National Team for winning their 2nd consecutive Euro (soccer) championship. While I was rooting for the Germany, I tuned in to witness their 4-0 trouncing of the Italian team; so in a way, it was sweet revenge!

As this real life football competition reached its conclusion, I was reminded of one of my favorite films in recent years – Bend it Like Beckham. Simply stated, it is a wonderful feel good movie that in many ways was my entree into following the world of soccer.

British teen Jesminder, or Jess (Parminder Nagra) is football–loving and David Beckham obsessed. Against her parents’ wishes and cultural expectations (she’s Anglo-Indian), she spends her summer playing soccer for a girls football club, at the urging of another teen, Jules (Keira Knightley), who spotted her playing footie in a local park.

As if that were not complicated enough, she begins to fall for her coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys Myers), thus testing her friendship with Jules to its limits.

I love this film for several reasons; least of which is the central cross-cultural conflict, handled with an effective amount of levity by director Gurinder Chadha.

Besides, Bend it Like Beckham is set in and around of my favorite cities, London!

So what are some of your favorite films about soccer (football)?

Share your comments below.


Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: In the Loop (2009)

This week’s selection as part of Todd Mason’s ongoing blogging series, Tuesday’s Overlooked Films, is the 2009 British political comedy In the Loop. This title was previously referred to on Todd Mason’s blog when he was talking about political TV shows. And as Todd mentioned to me yesterday while this film may not exactly fall into the purview of “Overlooked Cinema,” it definitely deserves much more notice and recognition than it received upon its initial release.

Here is a synopsis of the film (Source: Official IFC Films website):
From the creative team behind the award-winning BBC series The Thick of It, In the Loop pokes fun at the absurdity and ineptitude of our highest leaders. With everyone looking out for number one, and the fate of the free world at stake (but apparently incidental), the hilarious ensemble cast of characters bumbles its way through Machiavellian political dealings, across continents, and toward comic resolutions that are unforeseeable.

I previously heard about this film at the Tribeca Film Festival and missed my opportunity to see it. When it received a wider theatrical release, I felt like it came and went. A little while later, I ended up watching it on cable one day and am so glad I did. The sheer ineptitude of the key players is on one hand hilarious, while also sadly being within the realm of possibility (if a little less hyperbolic).

In the Loop features an all-star cast that includes James Gandolfini, Peter Capaldi (my personal favorite character), Tom Hollander, Anna Chlumsky, Chris Addison, Steve Coogan and Gina McKee.

Check out the trailer here:

In the Loop is directed by Armando Iannucci and co-written by Jesse Armstrong,  Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell and Tony Roche.

Awards and Accolades:

Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival 2009, Tribeca Film Festival 2009, Los Angeles Film Festival 2009
Nominated for: Best Adapted Screenplay & Outstanding British Film (BAFTA), Best Film, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor(British Independent Film Awards), Best Screenplay (NYFCC Awards), Best Adapted Screenplay (Academy Award)
Winner: Best Screenplay (British Independent Film Awards)