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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Movie Review - Next Goal Wins

Next Goal Wins (2014)
Directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

In 2001, American Samoa suffered the biggest defeat in the history of international soccer when they lost to Australia 31-0.  Bad as that is, the Pacific Island team had lost every official match they'd ever played for decades before and decades after.  Then comes 2011, and FIFA (the international "football" association) posts a job opening for a coach for the American Samoans.  Only one man -- Thomas Rongen, a Dutch coach -- applies for the job.  Next Goal Wins is a documentary of Rongen's attempts to lift the American Samoa football team out of the basement.

While compelling enough, Next Goal Wins follows the typical underdog formula we've come to expect in nearly every feature film about sports.  The Bad News Bears of the soccer world, the attempts at profiling certain members of the team fall a bit flat as there's a blatant exploitation of the least-athletic to show their "growth" under Coach Rongen.  Rongen admittedly is quite a character and his motivational techniques and coaching styles were the most enjoyable aspects of the film, but Next Goal Wins, while certainly watchable, doesn't extend beyond the average and isn't quite worth your time unless you're a huge fan of soccer.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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