Movie: The Miracle Match aka The Game of Their Lives

Released: 2005

Stars: Gerard Butler

With: West Bentley, Jay Rodan, Gavin Rossdale, Costas and Louis Mandylor, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Zachery Ty Brian, Terry Kinney, Patrick Stewart

Written By: Angelo Pizzo

Reason for Watching: A soccer movie where the U.S. beats England?  I’m there.

I Can Name This Movie In One Note: A ragtag group of U.S. amateur soccer players beat the English team in the World Cup, in what should have been one of the greatest underdog movies ever.

You Should See This Movie Because: Um, I got nothing.

You Shouldn’t See This Movie Because: Wow, so many things go wrong.  The cast is very exciting, with a former Spartan, Mr. Gwen Stefani, a Heroes alum, one of the kids from Home Improvement, the dad from Save the Last Dance (what, you got a problem with that?), and Patrick Stewart.  Totally bizarre cast, except they don’t really leave any mark on the film.

I feel like they must have tried to make such a great story so boring.  It is hard to come up with an appropriate parallel in today’s sporting world.  On the order of Israel beating the U.S. in the World Baseball Cup.  Except in a competition about which the entire world cared.  And yet everything feels wrong here.  We aren’t drawn into any of the players.  We never really care about the team itself or learn to hate/be awed by the Brits.  The soccer is poorly filmed.  The actual match never seems all that exciting.  The events are poorly portrayed, in the sense that we never get a good grip on what actually happened and why.  And we really never get a true sense of the magnitude of the Americans’ accomplishment, other than some throwaway lines about the match not even being on the books.

Bottom Line: I watched the movie as “The Miracle Match” on DVD, apparently they changed the title to that on DVD from the theater release of The Game of Their Lives.  That should tell something.

Most disappointing of all?  The movie was done by the director and writer battery that brought us Hoosiers and Rudy.  I’m truly stunned someone could write Rudy and then write this.  It makes absolutely no sense to me at all.