Goal! The Dream Begins
I didn't realize that when they titled this film "Goal! The Dream Begins" they were using the word "begins" not because it was the beginning of the dream for the main character in the film, but because they were planning to inflict an entire series of soccer movies on an unwitting American public that doesn't give the slightest crap about soccer because it's quite possibly the most boring sport on the planet. They've already completed "Goal! 2" and are in pre-production on "Goal! 3." So I guess that now when any film has a subtitle that uses a words like "begins" or "the beginning" or "early years" or "first chapter" it's like somebody screaming out "fore!" on a golf course. We need to duck and hope something doesn't hit us.
"Goal!" is essentially "Rocky" on the soccer field. And as an aside, I fully realize that soccer is called futbol everywhere else in the world but America. However, I'm going to call it soccer to emphasize the reason we call it soccer here in America, which is to clearly differentiate the boring sport of soccer from the exciting sport of American football. To make matters even more politically interesting, the main character, Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) is an illegal alien, a kid who crossed the border at a very young age with his father (Tony Plana) and grew up, for the most part, as an American.
Santiago is great at soccer, but like any kid who has dreams different from his father's, he's pressured into doing exactly what his father does, which is mow lawns. Actually, it's downright painful how many films use this same, tired cliché of a father who is so self-absorbed that he can do nothing but stomp all over his kid's dreams of becoming successful. This does two things: It provides fake conflict and it sets up the inevitable reconciliation down the road.
When a soccer fan with some connections named Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane) spots Santiago, he gets him to travel to England to try out for one of the professional squads there. Naturally, this enrages Santiago's father, who won't speak to him anymore. Santiago goes, doesn't experience the success he should, and almost leaves, but ends up making friends with the club's obnoxious, hard-drinking star, Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola), and proving himself a capable soccer player. He also falls for a British chick, Roz (Anna Friel).
"Goal! The Dream Begins" - it shoots! It bores!
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