Today I went to watch GOAL! with a few of my church mates, Dale, Jieyong and Jasmine. The highlights of the day were not, quite ironically, the movie or anything about it, but rather me being mercilessly teased (haha) by the few of them about... the 22 October. (it's a secret...)
Anyway, since the show seemed pretty promising at first, I just decided, rather grudgingly, to tag along to watch the movie. I mean, it's a soccer movie, soccer stars are gonna make cameos, so initially I kind of expected it to be a hoot, a really rad movie. And even if the movie really sucked, I'm pretty sure Dale or Jieyong would have loved it still because they're big soccerholics who unfortunately are mentally stunted enough to become Liverpool fans. (*ahem*) Even if it was a pure waste of brain cells, they're probably vouch their unwavering support towards the show anyway. And you don't even have to bother asking for the opinions of any Newcastle fans.
All right so here's how the story goes: this guy, Santiago Munez moved over to American from Mexico with his family, consisting of his gradmother, his brother and his really grouchy, overly pragmatic dad. Among his prized possessions he brought over is his soccer ball -- he is a kid wildly passionate and amazingly gifted at the game.
And soon, all the trials and tribulations are brought in, blahblablah got scouted by talent scout, blahblahblah agent never turn up and protaganist disappointed, protaganist sad and proceeds to be disillusioned and wallow a little in self pity, some miraculous stroke of divine intervention takes place and voila! Another route opens for him. Then he faces tons of other trials like parental objection, temptations, the seduction of fame, the jeering of fellow teammates etc etc.
In short, it really is your Average Joe's rags-to-riches immigrant fantasy cliched. Some call it the American Dream, although soccer is a little too British to qualify for that term. And the movie is an absolutely typical feel-good sports show. Of course, by superhuman determination and lady luck as a friend, Mr Protaganist overcomes all his adversities, makes it big and becomes a Newcastle hero, along the way reconciling broken relationships and building new ones. Of course, he hooks up with a hot girl too. And please don't say I spoilt the story for you because anyone with half a brain would know that's the typical outcomes for such movies.
I can understand why people would enjoy it, especially guys. Emotionally it's appealling, especially to the Average Joe, because these average Joes vicariously revel in the glory of the protaganist, whom they easily relate to. Yeah, so momentarily, especially during the climactic scenes, the guys ( or girls, for that matter), place themselves in the shoes of the protaganist and absorb the splendour and glory of that sweet moment of victory.
Which is what makes it exploitative, if you may ask. I'm sick and tired of tried-and-tested, politically correct nonsense aimed to paint a delusionary portrait of real life and aim to inspire the blind masses so much they decide to tag friends along to rewatch the show. If you ask me, me being the idealist that I am, I would say I believe that dreams are important, and dreams should be fervently be pursued. From a Christian perspective, we all have destinies and purposes in life and we dream to accomplish something significant in our lives. But when I think of my dream, I don't always believe the pastures are greener on the other side. But I may think that, the grass on the other side of the other side might be greener (if you can follow the convolutions). What I mean is that, the pursuit of dreams is a long, tumultuous journey.
This movie obviously had the common elements of conflict and later, resolution. Unfortunately, the conflicts are always resolved so conveniently
and so quickly. Some battles are not won in weeks or months, they are won over years. And when I think of my dream, I'm guessing that kind of battle would be spanning several years too. And the danger with this movie is that everyone watching it goes all warm and fuzzy and touched and inspired and ______ (insert adjective of your choice similar in meaning to Positive).
It is exploitative because it obviously is playing, even patronizing, the average Joe movie audiences, making it seem like Lady Luck will come to your rescue eventually no matter what, when really, life can be unfair and brutal and harsh at times, and some things can't just be resolved by a snap of the finger. Not to mention, which guys doesn't dream of being a soccer star? Count the benefits: play your favourite game, make great mates for the soccer club your play for, gain glory for yourself, get your name plastered over front pages of newspapers over the world, earn tons of cash, hook up with hot chicks and get laid. Except... erm... I don't really care for the get laid part because I don't believe in pre-marital sex. (I'm a Christian prude* and I admit it.. don't jump on my back crying bloody murder!)
So, in short, if you go to watch the movie, leave your brain at home, because that way you'll enjoy it more. If you try to think too much, you might still enjoy it like me, but at at the same time you'll end up getting mildy annoyed too. For example, in the middle of the show, this Santiago guy was going through so many trials, tribulations, persecutions and crap that when I returned from a short toilet break, sure enough! Tragedy struck! Something happened to his family! *smacks forehead in exasperation*
Before I end this post, I sum it up in a rough sequence of events: guy from poor family, talented in game, works in an absolutely dead-end job. Plays soccer in free time. got scouted. got ditched by agent. scout believs in him and helps him again. More adversity in the form of family. some Higher Being obviously intervenes and voila! He makes his way to England. screws up initially, got sacked, got back into club,plays well, learns his mistakes, becomes a hero. And in case you didn't know, I wanted to type BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH for this entire sequence of events because that's what the whole plot is -- blah -- but for your benefit I decided to spell it out for you guys.
Anyway I never realized how much I could talk about a single movie. I haven't even gotten to the part where David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane inexplicably roots for him. Like YEAH?
, David Beckham is sooo going to take a break from his training and games and family commitments and shopping and sleeping around and filming lousy Pepsi advertisements to actually go up to a relatively unknown newbie to proclaim his support for him? GIVE ME A BREAK!
Ok, I'm ending it here. More tomorrow.