I am writing this on 03/14, and you are likely reading it on 03/25, when MLS (hopefully) kicks off. In case they don’t actually play games this season, I have a plethora of STO Soccer Film Reviews ready to go, like, for example, this one on “The Miracle on Grass.” No, that is not a Cheech & Chong movie. Actually, that isn’t even the actual title. They really called it “The Miracle Match” to avoid any ambiguity. And, no, that picture above is not a symbol of the film either. But, it is actually going to be a fair representation of my TV if they cancel MLS 2010.
Well, actually, the DVD release of the film bore the title “The Miracle Match”, while the theatrical run, which was as brief as our ability to beat England, featured the name “The Game of their Lives.” Which title was best? Who knows? I would have called it all three: “The Game of their Lives Was a Miracle Match Played on Grass.” OK, nevermind, that is a terrible title. The film itself really isn’t that bad. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the film is “well made” with a very uplifting story (unless you are English, of course). The soccer scenes are actually shot with precision.
David Anspaugh did a decent job directing, Wes Bentley and Gerard Butler acted their roles with some enthusiasm (i.e. they didn’t completely phone it in) and some real US stars like John “Don’t Call Me Terry” Harkes and Brian “Always the Bridesmaid Never the” McBride added some quasi-authenticity to the film. Yes, it was rife with historical inaccuracies and storyline contrivances on par with “Braveheart” (who apparently did not refer to King Edward the Longshanks as “sugartits”), but it was a freaking sports movie. It has to take huge liberties with facts.
And hey, we aren’t exactly talking about a game where everyone agrees what the facts actually are. Even today, the Miracle on Grass (or whatever you want to call it) is the subjest of hearty disputes between Brits and Yanks. Yes, a few of the Yanks on the pitch that day weren’t actually Yanks yet. Yes, some of the best English players (like Stanley Matthews) didn’t take the pitch that day for the favorite (or favourite to them), so it was like our A Team (complete with our Mr. T, game winner scorer Joe Gaetjens) against their B (or perhaps even C) team. Yes, we usually suck.
But, you know what, that day we actually did prevail. I hope we prevail again this summer in South Africa. I, for one, realize that this was an extremely poor movie review, but I also realize that we could actually beat England this summer, despite the fact that our team is poorer than theirs (well, monetarily, perhaps not spiritually). In any event, I think the movie is pretty good, and I think we should all watch it prior to our big match against England this summer. If we win that one, it will be yet another miracle. And maybe this time, we can use my terrible title above.