I was one of probably less than 75 people in America who saw United Passions, the movie FIFA commissioned about its history. I assumed that I would be the only person in the theater and therefore planned to livetweet it. I was shocked that there were six others in the theater with me.
The reviews are horrible.. seriously, Rotten Tomatoes has nine critics reviews and it has thus far earned a zero, yep, zippo.. the New York Times called it, “one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that’s no good even for laughs.” Clearly this dude, Daniel Gold, did not watch the movie.. His entire review is not actually comparable with the film I saw. My guess is he got notes and freeballed it. Bad Daniel Gold bad or not since I am one of so few people who saw it..
He says, “Yet there is barely a nod to the corruption scandals that have plagued FIFA for decades.”
Is he drunk? The entire plot of the movie is this message from a Sepp led FIFA, “SINCE THE BEGINNING WE HAVE HATED THE ENGLISH AND BEEN BRIBED TO HOST THE WORLD CUP..ALSO WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CORRUPT SO TAKE YOUR MORALITY, YOUR ETHICS, YOUR LAWS AND GTFO.”
At no point do they try to hide or discount corruption, but instead embrace it as a traditional, and romantic part of the game.
Now, Sepp is positioned throughout as the noble servant of the organization and the game. Paying for FIFA salary from his own pocket because corrupt leaders have drained the coffers. To be fair, it is not painted as altruistic to protect the staff from income loss but to protect the image of FIFA and the power of the game.
As for Gold’s assertion that it cannot even be played for laughs… again untrue. Seven of us, unknown to each other but drawn by the love of the game… all laughed heartily at the same things. They usually involved lines like, “you didn’t break any laws,” or, “we need more women in the game.”
Movie critics review movies for their critical appeal and artistic merit… this was not meant to be artistic or appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters. It is a dramatic defense of FIFA doing business in the FIFA way and not giving any fucks about if anyone else cares.. You have to understand the scandal and FIFA to understand what the film’s message is.
Gold makes another erroneous claim, “[i]ndeed, surprisingly little soccer is shown.” Um, yeah that is not true at all. They actually use a lot of original archival footage for many of the greatest WC and other games in history and they recreate others. The film anchors with a modern multi-racial, multi-ethnic pick-up match between a bunch of boys and a single girl (she gets stuck in goal as per) watched by the local people of the town, where ever it is.
The montage of World Cup moments, both male and female, is honestly worth the $12 admission price. It is also the nail in the coffin point FIFA wanted to make…
IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH CORRUPTION THERE IS.. YOU STILL CARE ABOUT THE WINNING THE TROPHY. WE STILL MAKE THAT POSSIBLE, SO STFU AND STOP WHINING ABOUT IT
That said, this person gets it.. THE 19 MOST RIDICULOUS MOMENTS IN FIFA MOVIE UNITED PASSIONS First one is amazingly true and we all burst out laughing..