Although the movie Next Goal Wins hasn’t gotten any buzz for Globe or Oscar awards, this immensely audience-pleasing film just might be the ticket for you and your kids during the holiday season. The historic Jones Theater offering on the silver screen this coming weekend, Next Goal Wins retells the tale told in 2014’s homonymous documentary: the unlikely turnaround of the pitifully awful American Samoan soccer team, winless in FIFA play and ranked last in the world.
The film critics who believe it is their right and bounden duty to be snobs, cruel ones at that, have fallen all over their self-importance to let us know how everyone should be content with the almost decade-old documentary and bypass the comedic sport film. So much for those category mixing Grinches, Scrooges all; they’ll probably all get coal in their Christmas stockings anyway…
Seriously, as a more mellow and adult reviewer, Tim Appelo, notes, writing for AARP’s online entertainment page, Next Goal Wins is “a feel-good movie with potential to inspire audiences to cheer on this ragtag bunch.” I’m all for feelin’ good during the festive weeks surrounding the winter solstice, and I imagine you are too.
Actually, there is a kind of sub-plot, or parallel narrative quite alive and well in the movie that deserves our attention. The alcoholic coach called up out of his downward spiral to tend to this team in oblivion, Thomas Tongen (played by Michael Fassbender) is also led to Samoan spiri- tuality, and, this being a feel-good movie, finds recovery. Point being, what are next goals in a reconstructed life all about? Perhaps the old adage “more than meets the eye” is applicable to this PG-13, hour-and-three-quarter film.
You could certainly give it a chance to move you, no matter how often weary and jaded critics claim it’s all been done before— remember, those folks live in the dark everyday watching movies. We, on the other hand, slog through some messy and painful times and benefit from some distracting cinematic stories sometimes.
As usual, it’s only being done three times at the historic Jones, tomorrow and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 17 at 2 p.m. The PG-13 rating, by the way, is for “some strong language” and “crude material,” nothing the kiddos haven’t heard before out ‘n about in the world, I’d imagine. You can always check the trailers online, of course, in case you want to preview your decision to come on into town by yourself or with the family for a light, fun movie.
And remember, the ticket prices are so astoundingly affordable even those nasty critics would come to Westcliffe just for the wallet-joy of a movie night here…
– W.A. Ewing