It's World Cup time, and association football fever is sweeping the globe! Of course, if you aren't currently using the metric system, you may know it better as soccer, or possibly as "that game I played in junior high." But even if you aren't a big fan, or have very little tolerance for televised sports in general, there is a way to participate in the soccer mania without enduring an actual match -- namely, by watching a marathon of soccer movies! Like real soccer matches, they take place around the world and run nearly two hours, but at least with a movie you're guaranteed three things: dramatic storylines, big-name stars and far more goals scored than you'd see in an actual game.
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
This British film follows a young Indian woman as she tries to follow her dream of emulating pro footie player David Beckham. Unfortunately, her traditional family frowns on soccer and wants to see her get married -- a conflict compounded by the fact that they think she's dating her teammate, played by Keira Knightley. Scandalous!
Fever Pitch (1997)
Before Jimmy Fallon fanatically worshipped the Boston Red Sox in the 2005 remake, Colin Firth obsessed over British soccer club Arsenal in this more faithful, un-Americanized adaptation of the book. "Oh, Mr. Darcy, you do go on about attack formations!"
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
This fantasy film follows a washed-up soccer player who forms a team composed entirely of Shaolin kung-fu masters, who each have unbelievable powers and abilities. Fun fact: The special effects, which show players controlling the ball using wind and fire as well as their bodies, served as inspiration to the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the cartoon upon which the upcoming film is based.
The Goal! Trilogy (2005-2009)
Three films (The Dream Begins, Living the Dream... and Taking On the World) follow a Mexican immigrant soccer player from L.A. as he travels to England to play for Newcastle United, then joins Real Madrid, then plays for Mexico in the World Cup. Featuring cameos in all three by David Beckham, who many of you may know as Mr. Posh Spice.
Kicking and Screaming (2005)
Will Ferrell stars in yet another sports movie, this one about a man who coaches his son's soccer team in order to beat his father's champion team and deal with some overwhelming daddy issues. Because if there are two things Will Ferrell loves, it's sports and daddy issues.
When we think of Rodney Dangerfield, we don't necessarily think "kids' comedy," and yet here he is, coaching an all-girls soccer team called the Ladybugs. Unfortunately, they suck, so he bribes his nephew to wear a wig and run circles around the competition. Featuring a cameo by Tommy Lasorda, because apparently Pelé wasn't available?
Mean Machine (2001)
Former soccer player Vinnie Jones and his frequent co-star Jason Statham play convicts who face off against their guards in a soccer match in this British remake of The Longest Yard. Man, couldn't we have gotten this movie instead of Adam Sandler's lousy version?
Soccer Mom (2008)
Missi Pyle. Disguised as a famous male, Italian soccer player. Coaching her daughter's team without her knowledge. If that's not a recipe for hilarity, then I don't know what is. [Editor's Note: Zach apparently does not know what hilarity is.]
Also known as Escape to Victory, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Max von Sydow and Pelé star in this taken-from-real-life tale of World War II POWs and their German captors playing a game of soccer. Almost makes being a POW sound fun, doesn't it?
The Damned United (2009)
After he interviewed Nixon but before he met Bella Swan, Michael Sheen played the contentious championship-winning British football manager Brian Clough, who was famously fired after just 44 days on the job at Leeds United. We're sure it's more complicated than that, but it's hard to make heads or tails of that guy's resumé.
Check out more soccer movies worth watching during the World Cup.
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