Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

United Passions, "FIFA: The Movie" Makes Me Want To Vomit Up All My Organs

The 2014 FIFA World Cup starts this week and although like most football fans I'm definitely psyched for a month of football action it's difficult for me to reconcile that with the utter contempt in which I hold the organisation of FIFA itself. FIFA is like if Cobra from GI Joe was real and primarily interested in world domination via sports governing, they have bickering leaders, transparently evil plots that don't make any sense, ninjas...and whether they're gleefully glossing over the political strife in Brazil or giving World Cups to countries in no position to host them via obvious corruption and bribery, FIFA are clearly the ever-living worst. It's difficult to know what else they could do to become even more cartoonishly evil. Except, maybe, put out a film about how great they are?

Jesus. Fucking. Christ. This, this thing. Is it real? Am I dreaming? FIFA, apparently under the impression that they are a ragtag group of beloved underdogs, spent millions funding this film about the Triumph of their Will and every story beat in the trailer made me spontaneously laugh and cry so hard at how this malevolent organisation sees themselves that I began convulsing and vomited up all my organs. Nearly.

It starts with the kind of footage playing on a wall in a museum that everybody just walks past to get to the interesting stuff, with a room of rich white dudes agreeing, "yes, we shall call it...FIFA!" with so much reverence you'd think they'd just come up with the cure for cancer or, better yet, the cure for FIFA. They are sneered at by a baddie (you know he's bad because he's old, white, wealthy and well-dressed, just like all the protagonists shown in the trailer..) "your so-called federation doesn't even exist yet", really evoking sympathy for the rich administrative organisation.

Gerard Depardieu and Sam Neill show up as former FIFA presidents Jules Rimet and Joao Havelenge respectively, with looks on their faces like they're blocking out this terrible movie and just focusing on the solid gold house they can buy with that sweet FIFA money. But then Sam Neill's all like "dammit we have no money, who can save us!?" Luckily, a hero is going to emerge...Tim Roth as current FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Mr. Orange

Sepp Blatter is a truly nasty old man, he's like The Beast from Transmetropolitan brought to life. He's a whiny, power-hungry, dinosaur of a man depicted here as a hyper-competent businessman whose going to save FIFA. In any other film the scene in the trailer where Blatter meets an Adidas executive in secret and the Adidas guy brings his secret football documents out of his briefcase telling him FIFA have to use it and they'll sign "the biggest deal the world has ever seen" would be a depiction of shadiness and greed but here with the sweeping dramatic music and by cutting between it and an exciting game of football engulfed by ticker tape it's meant to show how fantastic Blatter is at his job. "An institution like ours cannot run on good intentions alone." Neill says, and I think it's safe to say he really tapped into his acting craft delivering the line about how he really needs the money so leave him alone and stop asking questions.

The trailer shows that the film will take on the issue of corruption in FIFA with all the effort of a footballer trying to save penalties his kids shoot at him when they bring their children out onto the pitch on the last day of the season. "I don't know where the money's gone! I mean...I have my suspicions..." Completely Innocent Leader Sepp Blatter says. Blatter's been betrayed you see. Poor Blatter! Quick, elect him for another term as FIFA president, the poor boy needs something good in his life! Roth dramatically climbs stairs and dramatically walks through rain and dramatically talks on the phone like he's in The Manchurian Candidate instead of a piece of bland corporate propaganda that doth protest too much. Actually forget that, FIFA would never protest at all, protests are bad and FIFA is good. FIFA gives you the football, and in their minds that makes them the thing you really love.  The trailer closes with some stock footage of actual footballers like Pele and Zidane before closing on one last self-aggrandising note about making history. Yeah, Pele's cool and all, but he can't match the history making of Joao Havelenge, just think of all the forms he had to sign! Fuck Pele, the only forms he ever signed were for Viagra prescriptions.
You Will Believe A Man Can Give Himself A Payrise!

This thing looks heinous. FIFA had to bankroll a beloved biopic about themselves because nobody else would be willing to do it. A great film could be made about the corruption in FIFA and power struggles of men like Blatter, Mohammad Bin Hamman and Jack Warner, but the only film further away from that than this is The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. FIFA are The Man. You don't tell underdog stories about The Man, you tell stories about how they ruin everything or about their hubris leading to inevitable downfall or about Foxy Brown cutting their balls off and delivering them in a jar to The Man's girlfriend. The only good thing that can possibly come from a fluff piece like United Passions is that it gives football fans something to laugh at a FIFA decision that doesn't lead to the deaths of thousands of migrant workers.

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