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DVD Review: Miracle Match

Category: The Game of Their Lives Reviews
Article Date: September 17, 2006 | Publication: Monsters and Critics | Author: Jeff Swindoll
Source: http://movies.monstersandcritics.com/

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Disney brings out the story of the 1950 ragtag American soccer team that caused one of the greatest upsets in soccer history. However, they’re re-titled it Miracle Match from its original title, The Game of Their Lives.

The story begins in 2004 when a reporter is interviewing reporter Dent McSkimming (Patrick Stewart) at a soccer match. We then flashback to the 1950s, when McSkimming (now played by Terry Kinney) was a reporter in an area know as The Hill in St. Louis. This section of St. Louis thinks that soccer is king. The rest of the United States is not too enamored with the sport.

Tryouts are being held locally to find players for the soccer team that will represent the United States in the World Cup in Brazil. The local heroes try out before the coach of the U.S. team, Bill Jeffrey (John Rhys-Davies). Local favorites Frank Borghi (Gerard Butler), Frank “Pee Wee” Wallace (Jay Rodan), Charlie “Gloves” Columbo (Costas Mandylor), Gino Pariani (Louis Mandylor), and Harry Keough (Zachery Ty Bryan) are chosen for the team and travel to New York.

In New York they’re joined by their teammates including Walter Bahr (Wes Bentley), who they had a bit of a dustup with on the tryout field. Walter thinks that they need a new player on the team, so he and Frank go to the diner to recruit Haitian dishwasher Joe Gaetjens (Jimmy Jean-Louis). They also discover that their team is under funded and ignored by the press (save for McSkimming).

Basically our boys have to pull their team together in time for an exhibition match with the UK team led by Stanley Mortenson (Gavin Rossdale). Needless to say, they don’t pull it together and are beaten by the Brits in the match. They fly to Brazil where the World Cup is to be held and their first match is in a town called Belo Horizonte and against the dreaded UK team. Will they be able to beat them this time?

Miracle Match used to be known as The Game of Their Lives and has been re-titled for its DVD release, however, the film played under its original title in the few theaters that it played in. The film is inspired by the true story of what happened to the team in 1950 (I’ll try not to spoil it for you but I bet you can figure it out. You really think they’d make a movie about it if they lost the match against England?).

Miracle Match follows in the footsteps (as the box reminds us) of Rudy and Hoosiers. So there’s the same sort of plot points (good characters showing they can overcome adversity) as in the great sports films of the past (losers become winners). However, what makes Miracle Match more interesting is that it’s a true story.

In fact, the real players come out onto the field at the end of the soccer match that Patrick Stewart is being interviewed at. I thought that it was a good movie and I enjoyed it (even though I’m not much of a sportsman).

Miracle Match is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) and enhanced for 16x9 televisions. The only special feature is a text page with a little information about the National Soccer Hall of Fame (www.soccerhall.org).

Miracle Match is a well made film that will interest soccer fans who know of the American team from the 1950s. I found it a good movie and would recommend it to fans of sporting films.

Miracle Match is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

 


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