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G-G-GOAL!!! I'm so pleased that there's finally a decent movie about
soccer, a sport which for the longest time, doesn't seem to get movie
producers excited to put out on screen. Having FIFA sanction this film
means getting some realism injected, and lending to the authenticity of
is the English Premier League club Newcastle United, together with a
host of real life soccer superstars like Beckham, Zidane and Raul.
While the settings and the game results are real, we follow the
fictional story of an illegal Mexican immigrant to Los Angeles,
Santiago Munez, street footballer extrodinaire. He gets his lucky break
when an ex-Newcastle United player turned scout, Glen Foy, chances upon
his games, and invites him over to England for trials.
For a guy who's struggling to make ends meet, this presents the perfect
opportunity to take a stab at his dream. But tension builds as his
father disapproves and is skeptical at both the chance as well as his
son's gift to make it big. So he leaves his real dad and family behind,
to follow in the footsteps of Foy, his surrogate father in England.
The highlight of the movie is not the real football games that the
actors get seamlessly transplanted onto, but rather the many trials and
tribulations that Munez goes through to earn his rightful place in the
squad. His disastrous first appearance almost made him take the first
plane home, and I'd bet many in the audience thought it would be a
breeze actually for him to make it to first team. Thankfully, the focus
was on his sheer determination to overcome the lack of niceties towards
newcomer rookies like himself, and the difficulties and temptations
which fill his 30 days trial that Foy literally begged for.
What you read in the papers of the decadent lifestyle of footballers
are all in here - the booze, the parties, the clubbing, the women, even
video games (taking a stab at David James maybe?). Munez gets
introduced to these by fellow teammate and cocky new German acquisition
Gavin Harris, whose partying lifestyle takes a toll on his game, and
becomes the Toon Army's boo-boy. It's fantastic how these two
characters contrast each other, and help each other along the way.
For non-fans of the beautiful game, fear not, you're not gonna be
alienated in this movie, as it doesn't sink into technicalities like
the dreaded offside rule. You'll enjoy the movie simply because of the
strong human drama weaved into the story, as well as the familiarity of
easily identifiable themes of hard work, right ethics, living your
dreams and fulfilling your aspirations.
Newcastle fans however, will rejoice, as the hallowed grounds of St
James Park gets put on the silver screen. For fans without the
opportunity of visiting their beloved club, they can gawk at the
dressing room, the gym, the dugout, the pitch up close, the city
neighbourhood, and "mingle" with fellow fanatical Geordies. Club
captain Alan Shearer makes appearances too, as do the many other first
team players. But the screen version of the club manager looks
uncannily modelled after Arsenal's Arsene Wenger. Fans of Fulham,
Chelsea and Liverpool can also see their heroes on screen as well.
Santiago Munez is played by a relative newcomer, Mexican actor Kuno
Becker, who was put on real soccer training to improve his skills and
make him look credible and natural with the ball at his feet. At
certain angles with his short crop, he looks like Michael Owen, who now
is playing for Newcastle (he wasn't when this movie was filmed).
I so dig the soundtrack, especially the guitar piece which opened the
movie, and track from the trailer which also made its way into the
movie - Kasabian's Club Foot, and various pieces by Brit-band Oasis. A
pity it's only out in the stores on October 16 (based on Amazon), but
I'll be there to pick it up when it hit the shelves.
The ending, even though it wrapped up all the pieces nicely, is a bit
abrupt, but I guess it would lead directly into the planned sequels of
a trilogy, which involve Real Madrid and the World Cup. This is one
movie which can spark someone's interest in soccer, and I'd recommend
it to both fans and non-fans alike. Don't let this movie dribble past
Tags for Goal! The Dream Begins Full Movie
, Leonardo Guerra
, Miriam Colon
, Tony Plana
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