Soccer

Why Watch? This playful Nike commercial from writer/director Paul Wie does a fantastical/fantastic job of chugging home-brewed nostalgia and reminding us about the power of sports. Plus, it’s the rare kind of commercial that really tells a story. In it, a group of old men sneak onto a soccer field at night and get carried away. Wie and editor Peter Yun do an especially strong job of cutting between the sore-hipped reality and the invincible world of youth. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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Back in 2009, Gerard Butler was planning a romantic comedy about a baseball player returning to his estranged wife to make amends with her and his child and to coach the local little league team. It was called Slide. Now that movie is about soccer instead of baseball, it’s called Playing the Field, and (according to Variety) Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman are now on board. Director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) was always on board and still is. For what it’s worth, this doesn’t exactly sound like the typical rom-com Butler appears in on a nearly-annual basis in order to stoke the fires of his P.S. I Love You fanbase. The ladies love cool Gerard, but you’ll notice that the words ‘Aniston’ and ‘Heigl’ appear nowhere near the marquee on this one. Biel will play the ex-wife, and Uma Thurman will play one of the soccer moms. Who I’m guessing is single (if it’s one of those rom-coms) or is married (if it’s one of those rom-coms). One of the most interesting aspects of the production is the screenwriter. Robbie Fox hasn’t written for the screen in over a decade – after the double punch of So I Married and Axe Murderer and In the Army Now, he sort of disappeared, but do I want to watch a romantic comedy written by Robbie Fox? Hell yes. The man had a unique ear for comedy, and his return is a welcome one.

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Back during the wild days of Law Abiding Citizen, I asked Gerard Butler 19 questions about his ab routine and 1 question about his upcoming projects. This is what he had to say: “There’s a few different projects that we’ve been working on, but there’s one in particular – it’s a movie called Slide about a former baseball player who goes back to try and patch things up with his child and estranged wife and ends up coaching the kid’s baseball team. He becomes the subject of fascination and longer by every bored house wife in the town. And it’s him trying to survive that while trying to patch things up with his kid. I think we’re going to have Gabriele Muccino direct the movie. Hopefully. We’re in talks with him, and he’s very much up for directing it so we’ll what happens there.” Go ahead and read that again, but replace the word “baseball” with “soccer.” It works because they both involve sliding. In its reduced form, it sounds like “Eastbound and Down” meets Kicking and Screaming with a charming lead. Apparently the film is being reworked to focus on soccer, although no real reason was given. Perhaps it’s the dearth of soccer films. Perhaps its rising popularity. Perhaps it’s because Butler is Scottish and baseball continues to wane in importance here in America what with all the asterisks you have to keep up with now. [LA Times]

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This week, Landon uses a trip to the bar to watch the World Cup as a catalyst for discussing nationality (and a lack of it) in films throughout the last 60 years – culminating in a look of the broad, international flavor (and financing) of modern films.

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Though set at a stadium and all about soccer, Offside offers only fleeting glimpses of the game; the big match takes place off-screen, watched by the soldiers obliged to guard the women through metal bars.

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