To my wife's surprise, though, I recently brought home a copy of The Miracle Match, an "inspirational" movie (originall titled The Game of Their Lives) about an underdog American soccer team and its experience at the 1950 World Cup. Admittedly, I knew the movie was going to be crap before I watched (I mean, it was from the makers of Rudy), but part of it was filmed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where I served my mission, and I was feeling nostalgic.
To my disappointment, of course, only the last fifteen minutes of the movie took place in Belo Horizonte--and then only inside one of the soccer stadiums there. The rest of movie took place in two less exotic locales: Saint Louis and New York City.
Over all, The Miracle Match is really not worth your time...unless you like movies that contain the following:
- A highly predictable formula (i.e.--An underdog team, composed of misfits with strong personalities, defies all odds and beats a seemingly unbeatable foe).
- An inspirational speech every five minutes or so (accompanied, of course, by inspirationally crappy inspirational "speech music").
- Heart-warming messages about teamwork, brotherhood, determination, and courage.
- Stock sports movie characters: the team jerk, the insecure leader (who ultimately finds his inner strength), the team goofball, etc.
- An injury or some other physical ailment that occurs to a key player one hour into the movie, which temporarily threatens the team's chance of victory.
- Former child stars.
- An excess of slow-motion photography.
Of course, some of you may be saying, "Aww, Scott, you just don't like sports movies."
Well, that's not entirely true. In my defense, I've compiled a list of "approved" sports movies. A lot of them are even inspirational. Here they are:
- The Karate Kid
- The Karate Kid, Part II
- The Natural
- The Pride of the Yankees
- Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
- Chariots of Fire
- The Cinderella Man (My favorite sports movie)
- The Greatest Game Ever Played
- Million Dollar Baby
- Gentleman Jim
I am sure there are other great sports movies out there, of course. If you have any recommendations, let me know.