In the realm of sports movies, the underdog story is a timeless and beloved trope. It captures our hearts and inspires us to believe in the power of determination and teamwork. This upcoming film, “Next Goal Wins,” directed by the acclaimed Taika Waititi, promises to deliver another interesting underdog tale. This sports comedy is a fictional re-telling of the inspiring true story of the American Samoa soccer team’s rise from being the world’s worst to becoming contenders for the FIFA World Cup. Enjoy!
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The Story and Cast
“Next Goal Wins” is based on the journey of the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their devastating 31-0 loss to Australia in 2001, which stands as the biggest defeat in international football history. The team’s struggles and determination caught the attention of Michael Fassbender, who portrays the team’s coach, Thomas Rongen. Fassbender, a two-time Oscar nominee, brings his talent and charisma to the role. Joining Fassbender are several other talented actors, including Elisabeth Moss as Gail, Will Arnett as Alex Magnussen, and Rhys Darby as Rhys Martin.
Release Date and Reception
“Next Goal Wins” is set to premiere on November 17, 2023, exclusively in movie theaters in the US. Although early reviews have been mixed, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 71% as of September 11, audiences are eagerly looking forward to experiencing the journey of the American Samoa soccer team.
Streaming Release Date
The Next Goal Wins theatrical release date is November 17, 2023. Thus, viewers can expect the Taika Waititi-directed film to drop on streaming platforms by February–March 2024.
Where To Stream Next Goal Wins?
Next Goal Wins will likely be available to watch via streaming on Disney Plus. This is because Next Goal Wins’ distribution rights are held by Searchlight Pictures, owned by Walt Disney Studios. Disney Plus subscribers can watch Next Goal Wins when it drops on the platform. A basic ad-supported Disney Plus subscription costs $7.99 a month, while an ad-free premium subscription currently costs $10.99 a month and will cost $13.99 a month from October 12, 2023 onwards. An annual ad-free premium subscription costs $109.99 a year.
The Director: Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi, known for his unique blend of comedy and drama, is the creative force behind “Next Goal Wins.” The New Zealand-born writer, director, and actor gained international recognition with films like “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s distinct visual style and ability to infuse humor into heartfelt stories have made him one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.
The True Story: American Samoa’s Remarkable Journey
The real-life American Samoa soccer team’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. After their devastating loss to Australia in 2001, the team faced numerous challenges, including limited resources, a lack of professional training, and a long history of losing matches. However, their fortunes changed when Thomas Rongen, a seasoned American coach, was brought in to transform the team. Rongen’s unconventional coaching methods, combined with the players’ determination and perseverance, led to a remarkable turnaround. The team’s journey to the qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup became an unforgettable story of resilience and triumph against all odds.
The Humor and Heart of “Next Goal Wins”
While the true story of the American Samoa soccer team is filled with emotional highs and lows, “Next Goal Wins” takes a lighthearted and comedic approach to the narrative. Taika Waititi’s unique storytelling style infuses the film with humor, allowing audiences to connect with the characters on a deeper level.
Critics have described Next Goal Wins as reasonably charming and funny, but many feel that it falls short of being a true winner due to its blandly generic story. The film follows the journey of coach Thomas Rongen, played by Michael Fassbender, as he tries to guide the underdog American Samoa national soccer team to victory. While the premise is intriguing, some reviewers have noted that the story feels recycled and lacks the unique touch that Waititi has brought to his previous works. Peter Debruge from Variety highlights that the movie doesn’t bring any surprising elements to the table. He states, “You do not go to a movie called ‘Next Goal Wins’ to be surprised. That movie doesn’t even have to be ‘Next Goal Wins,’ the 2014 documentary on which Waititi and co-writer Iain Morris based their remake. Maybe you’ve seen ‘The Mighty Ducks.’ Or ‘Major League.’ Heck, even if the only film you’ve ever seen is ‘The Human Centipede,’ you can figure out where ‘Next Goal Wins’ is going.”
The reviews for Next Goal Wins are mixed, with some critics praising its charm and humor, while others highlight its lack of originality. Ross Bonaime from Collider comments, “As a sports comedy, Next Goal Wins is fairly by-the-numbers, packed with training montages, bringing in new promising players, and inspirational speeches.” He adds, “It’s not bad, but considering how Waititi has shaken up genres before, it’s kind of a shame that Waititi isn’t able to do this as well with Next Goal Wins.” Leaning toward the positive side, Pete Hammond from Deadline describes the film as a “real commercial crowd-pleaser.” However, Nick Schager from The Daily Beast criticizes the lack of character development in the movie, stating that only one character is fully developed, while the rest are left with minimal personality traits.
Taika Waititi’s Career Trajectory
Next Goal Wins marks a departure from the blockbuster filmmaking that Waititi has recently focused on, such as his Marvel Cinematic Universe entries and his upcoming Star Wars movie. The lukewarm reception of Next Goal Wins could potentially lead to a shift in his career choices. If the film fails to become a critical and commercial success, Waititi may decide to focus solely on bigger tentpole movies for the foreseeable future. However, it’s important to note that the true story behind Next Goal Wins could mirror the movie’s narrative in more ways than one. Just like the underdog team at its center, the film might surprise audiences and become a commercial hit despite the mixed critical reactions. Waititi has proven his ability to connect with viewers throughout his career, and it’s possible that this film will resonate with audiences in unexpected ways.
The Impact of “Next Goal Wins”
“Next Goal Wins” has the potential to resonate with audiences worldwide. It not only celebrates the power of sports to bring communities together but also highlights the importance of perseverance and teamwork in achieving success. The film’s universal themes of hope, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams make it a compelling and inspiring watch for viewers of all ages.
What is “Next Goal Wins” about?
“Next Goal Wins” is a sports comedy based on the inspiring true story of the American Samoa soccer team’s transformation from being the world’s worst to becoming a contender for the FIFA World Cup.
Who stars in “Next Goal Wins”?
The film features a talented ensemble cast, including Michael Fassbender as coach Thomas Rongen, Elisabeth Moss as Gail, Will Arnett as Alex Magnussen, and Rhys Darby as Rhys Martin.
When will “Next Goal Wins” be released?
“Next Goal Wins” is set to premiere on November 17, 2023, exclusively in movie theaters in the US.
Who is the director of “Next Goal Wins”?
The film is directed by Taika Waititi, a renowned director known for his unique blend of comedy and drama, with notable works such as “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”
What is the Rotten Tomatoes score for “Next Goal Wins”?
As of September 11, 2023, “Next Goal Wins” has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 71%. Please note that this score may change as more reviews become available.
What is the real-life story behind “Next Goal Wins”?
The film is inspired by the true story of the American Samoa soccer team, known for their 31-0 loss to Australia in 2001. Their journey involved overcoming challenges, embracing unconventional coaching methods, and ultimately striving to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
What themes does “Next Goal Wins” explore?
“Next Goal Wins” celebrates the power of sports to bring communities together and highlights themes of perseverance, teamwork, hope, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams. These universal themes make the film inspiring and relatable to viewers of all ages.
How did the American Samoa soccer team’s journey impact the film?
The American Samoa soccer team’s remarkable journey served as the inspiration for the film, showcasing their transformation and triumph against all odds. The film aims to capture the spirit of their real-life story.
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