In this series, I take a look at sports movies that take the pesky "true" out of "unbelievable true story" and just settle for a bunch of tired clichés like say, celestial beings helping a .190 hitter hit for the cycle, or the kidnapping of prominent athletes without a nationwide manhunt resulting in long sentences for the culprits and constant warnings not to "drop the soap".
Last time, I ripped the 1994 version of Angels in the Outfield.
Number four on our list is actually an entire trilogy of nonsense: the Goal! franchise. Attempting to capitalize on the global popularity of soccer, actor Kuno Becker was cast as Santiago "Santi" Munez, a poor Mexican migrant who travels to Los Angeles (literally crossing a river, a desert and a chain-link fence on his way) in search of a better life and a shoe contract that will allow him to star in commercials with Zinedine Zidane.
In the first movie, Munez is discovered by Glen Foy, a former English scout, who decides his talent is so stratospheric that he's going to take him back to England and have him try out for a top team, all on his dime, without you know, instead taking him to an MLS team (which would cost him less) or asking to be his manager or signing some kind of contract or anything like that (which would at least guarantee him a return on his investment and awesome gesture).
Santi leaves his family even after his dad is all like, "Son, you suck—get over it. Stay here and help me keep cutting rich white people's lawns. That's right, we're landscapers. Because we're Mexican, remember?"
After what can be described as the worst tryout in soccer history on a muddy field, Foy is all like "Oy, Newcastle United manager! This kid doesn't really suck! He's just not used to like, rain and water and talent!"
Understandably, the manager trusts Foy's word and not what he just saw and offers Santi a contract.
Oh, and Santi also has asthma but he never tells anyone nor do they ever find out (because medical tests for a high endurance sport never check for something like asthma) because he's afraid it'll get him kicked off the team (because he equates having asthma as being the same type of handicap as having one leg or something).
So, eventually Santi makes the senior team after being given a—gasp (haha, get it?)—inhaler to treat his asthma, starts making out with this hot English nurse whom he eventually marries (it's a turn-on for chicks when they can't understand what the hell you're saying) and is rewarded for being a selfish, arrogant pretty boy by starting the most important game of the season for Newcastle even though he'd just played in one game before that. Ever.
Santi's dad dies about a day before the game, but he still plays because you know—whatever. Before the game it's revealed that Santi's asthma was misdiagnosed and he has inoperable lung cancer. Okay, I made the cancer bit up.
Santi scores the winning goal for Newcastle before the end of the first movie and talks to his grandma on the phone and she's all like "Don't be sad, your dad loved you! Doesn't this wrap up all that emotional angst you'd been having as a subplot?"
In the second film, on the strength of one start and one goal for Newcastle, the most logical thing happens; Santi is transferred to the most decorated, most important soccer team in the world—Real Madrid.
At this point, he generally starts being an ass towards everyone around him—his wife (who he cheats on), his best friend from Newcastle, his manager Glenn (who he fires) and his half-brother (who steals Santi's car and completely outsmarts him even though he's like, eight).
Again, despite playing like complete crap for most of the movie, being chewed out by his coach and fans and even being thrown in jail—Santi plays in the last match of the season, the UEFA Champions' League Final, scores and then hugs David Beckham as Real Madrid win it all despite a spirited performance by Arsenal and Nick Cannon. Seriously.
Okay, so the third movie hasn't been released yet—and the plot could change before it's in theaters, but it's been generally accepted that the third movie will have Santi called up to the Mexican national team for the 2006 World Cup (despite the fact it's like, 2008). While this isn't hard to believe at all, the movie will probably consist of the following:
1. Santi has some emotional distress that has to do with his family, leading to:
2. Santi getting in trouble and generally playing like crap. That won't matter, because:
3. Everyone will be all like "It's okay, we totally want someone who plays like crap 90% of the time, because you'll turn it around at just the right moment".
4. Santi's team will win its final match thanks to his heroics and the movie ends with Santi hugging David Beckham.
Wait, hold on just a minute here...isn't the third movie going to have Santi playing for Mexico? In the World Cup? Okay, so based on the last two movies, Hollywood wants us to expect that Mexico is going to win the World Cup, even if it is in a movie.
I should've made Goal! the #1 choice on my list.
Next Movie: Celtic Pride