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Welcome back to Player Affinity’s Sports Movie Madness! Last week, we held the opening round of voting to determine the best sports movie ever. You voted, and we’ve got your results, as well as matchups for Round 2.
But first, let’s recap for those of you new to the tournament. In the Sports Movie Madness tournament, there are seven sports and one mega-category of miscellaneous sports, so eight regions total. This is the Soccer (Football) Region. Below are the four basketball films remaining after the first round of voting. There are two matchups based on our original seedings, and your job is to pick which movie you deem worthy of winning each matchup. Simply enter a comment by Sunday at 5:00 pm with the two movies you think should win each matchup (once again, not any two movies, but one of the two movies going up against each other, so no voting for The Damned United and Victory, only one or the other) and your votes count! After a winner is determined in each region, those films will face off against one another until we have a winner!
1 Bend It Like Beckham def. 8 The Big Green
5 The Football Factory def. 4 Shaolin Soccer
6 Victory def. 3 Green Street Hooligans
2 The Damned United def. 7 Goal! The Dream Begins
The first round of this section of Sport Movie Madness has produced two clear front runners: Bend It Like Beckham and The Damned United both easily beating their competition. The Football Factory had a narrow victory, beating Shaolin Soccer 5 – 4. It good to see the better hooligan film (despite being less known in North America) going through over the more popular film, Green Street Hooligans. And Victory was able secure a comfortable win, fitting for its title.
1 Bend It Like Beckham vs. 5 The Football Factory
Bend It Like Beckham is easily one of the biggest and most well-known football films in recent years. Starring Parminder Nagra, Bend It Like Beckham was Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ big break. This comedy-drama was not just about the sport but also a film about cultural identity, with a young woman battling the Indian culture of her parents and the English culture she grew up with. It is also a film about women breaking gender stereotypes, while enjoying and playing the sport they love. This was a surprise hit in both sides of the Atlantic.
The dark side of football has produced the problem of hooligan and thugs aligned to clubs as an excuse to beat each other up. The low budget 2004 film The Football Factory was a gritty film that looked at different elements and ages with Chelsea’s hooligans and focuses on the run up between a FA Cup match between Chelsea and Millwall (their fans are really scary).
2 The Damned United vs. 6 Victory
The Damned United is an adaptation of David Peace’s brilliant novel of the same name. Directed by Tom Hooper and starring Michael Sheen, quality was never going to be a problem for this fictional bio-pic about Brian Clough, the best manager England never had. This is a film that shows both the hard, dirty world of 1970s football filled with rough tackling and the world of football politics set during Cloughie’s doomed 44 day spell as Leeds United’s manager with flashbacks to when he managed Derby County.
Victory is loosely based on a true story of when the Ukrainian team Dyamno Kiev was able to beat and humiliate a film of SS soldiers. Hollywood gave this story their treatment about a group of Western POWs being forced to play against a propaganda match against the Nazis in Paris. This film features the actors like Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow with football legends Pele and Bobby Moore in a story of offering resistance. It is always uplifting viewing, but the real story is sadly a lot darker.