Santiago's father, Hernan Munez, smuggled his penniless Mexican family over the US border to seek a better, albeit modest future in L.A. Eldest son Santiago dreams of more, like native Angelinos, then joining Hernan's gardening firm. His change arrives when a British ex-pro spots him as an exceptional soccer natural and promises he can arrange a real British talent scout to check him out. Although that falls trough and dad forbids it, Santiago accepts grandma's savings to try out with English premier league club Newcastle. Despite his asthma, he gets in and befriends the freshly transferred, desperately undisciplined bad boy star scorer, party animal Gavin Harris, who becomes his bothersome house-mate, a recipe for trouble and yet each's salvation. Written by
Under Michael Winterbottom's direction 2 nights filming was done at Darlington's football stadium. The first night was supposed to be Newcastle reserves against Darlington reserves with the second night being Newcastle's main team against Marseille with the intention of digitally transferring the pitch and players into a packed St James' Park (Newcastle's home ground). Soon after this the producers saw what footage had been shot and found that it director Michael Winterbottom was making it more as a drama documentary rather than a straight drama as they wanted so they sacked the cast and crew and brought in Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais to write a new script and Danny Cannon to direct. See more »
When Newcastle play Man Utd in a reserve team game, "THE BEES" can be seen spelled out in white seats in one of the stands. The Bees is the nickname of Brentford Football Club and they are located west of London. Neither Newcastle or Man Utd would play reserve games there. See more »
Here we pass the ball, you understand that? We're a unit, not a one-man show. The name on the front of the shirt is more important than the one on the back.
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This film is basically Rocky but with a football. It's a rags-to-riches tale of a promising Mexican youngster with nothing in life, apart from incredible footballing skills.
Some of the CGI football shots are poor, but the budget for this film was not massive, and they did what they could. The use of cameos from the likes of Shearer, Zidane, Beckham and Raul added to both the credibility and believability of the overall piece.
The film is sad and at times funny, and can be enjoyed by the whole family, including people with no interest in football. It's a story of triumph over adversity, and of people pulling together to help someone get ahead in life, by doing what they do best.
Overall, this is the best football film ever made, in my opinion. You can tell that the people who made it knew their subject matter - something that simply cannot be said for Green Street (Hooligans) which concentrated on fan violence, rather than the beautiful game.
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